EcuadorSightseeing

5/16 “They could film a Star Trek here”

As we did every morning, we woke up at 6AM for a 7AM breakfast for an 8AM departure.

Breakfast Crowd
Lunch makings for our hike

Sierra Negra

We set off for our 7 hour hike on Sierra Negra, an active volcano on the south eastern end of Isabela.

Sierra Negra Map

It wasn’t a difficult climb, but it was hot and humid.  We took advantage of every bit of shade we could find; especially when Pablo would stop to talk. (And talk.  And talk. And talk.)  He quickly realized two things: (1) We wanted shade, and (2) We weren’t taking pictures of the birds.  He could pinpoint each and every type of the 14 Galapagos finches by their shape and often their sound.  But none of us were bird-watchers.  After 30 minutes of hiking he looked around and said, “No one is taking pictures. Ok I am not with bird watchers. No more finches.” Hilarious.

 

Climbing up the Volcano
Liz on the edge of the Volcano
Terribly off-center shot of the group
L to R: Pablo, Fany, Lina, Liz, Dennis, Gail, Trish, Paola, Rehana, Sara, Heidi, Amanda

Pablo’s shared his personal story of the 2005 eruption of Sierra Negra. He was reading a book on the beach after surfing and felt the rumble.  Of course, he gathered friends and came up to the rim to see but rangers turned them away. The Park opened two days later to locals who wanted to watch the fireworks.  Pablo said it was “like a bar b q!”

This made me think of the other volcanos I’ve climbed or been to one way or another:

Pablo Storytime
Liz and me at the rim

We had our lunches under a huge old tree before continuing into the lava fields.  This was especially interesting, as Pablo taught us the history of each area and we could learn to tell the difference from the lava fields of 1979 to the newest fissures of 2005.  The terrain was so strange – almost Mars-like – and Liz joked, “They could film a Star Trek here.” It looked alien, barren, and really cool.

Volcanic terrain – the vegetation shows the age
Liz in a Lava Tube
Fany – “Before”
Fany – “After”

She’s such a trouper.  To hear her tell it – “a volcanic rock grew out of nowhere”. Out came the band aids from Pablo’s bag. Between the bike fall four days earlier and this, the poor girl looked like she’d been in a war.

Heidi in the Lava Field
Isabela is a “seahorse” island. Sierra Negra is the southern end and therefore at the “tail”. This is the view of the “head” of the seahorse.
Lava tubes and vegetation
Dual Lava Flows
Liz, surfing a volcano wave
Sparkly volcanic rocks
Sulfuric Crystals
Colorful Rocks

On the top of the fissure was “a very soulful place” said Pablo. He was right.  We all sat quietly and enjoyed the view.

Soulful Group
Liz, deep in thought

Pablo suggested that we take 60 seconds of silence, then he walked to a quiet place and said “ok go”. We started giggling immediately.

Trying very hard not to laugh

Then – as if nature knew we were being naughty – it began to pour. We packed up and headed out.  A few hours walk – down the horse path this time – for a ten mile hike total.

Thankfully, a few of the group had headed back before us and left very clear directions

Fun on the Beach

Our laughter in the bus all the way to the hotel. Liz and I both showered and headed to the “Bottle Bar” (Bar de Beto) for some celebratory drinks on the beach to enjoy the sunset and watch the iguanas parade out of the ocean and into the rocks of the little hostel next door.

Sunset over the lagoon
Bottles at Bar de Beto
Cheers!
Potent Margaritas
March of the Iguanas on the Beach
Iguana resting
A brilliant sunset

Girl’s Night Out

Paola, Trish, Rohanna, Sara, Gail, and Fany joined us and our beach time turned into a fun girls’ night.  Drinks flowed and Fany told a scary story.

Fany, not drinking since she’s under age in every country
Sara and a mojito
Scary Storytime
Dancing to Led Zeppelin (aka “Rockin Out”)

We all went to dinner at a place called El Faro to eat ceviche and paradilla and had a lengthy discussion about arranged marriages.  I can’t remember where we ended up on the spectrum, but we covered all the bases.