As we did every morning, we woke up at 6AM for a 7AM breakfast for an 8AM departure.
We set off for our 7 hour hike on Sierra Negra, an active volcano on the south eastern end of Isabela.
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.
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:
- Mombacho Volcano in Nicaragua
- Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua
- Concepcion on Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua
- Deception Island on Antarctica
- Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
- Kilimanjaro in Kenya
- Waitomo in New Zealand
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.
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.
On the top of the fissure was “a very soulful place” said Pablo. He was right. We all sat quietly and enjoyed the view.
Pablo suggested that we take 60 seconds of silence, then he walked to a quiet place and said “ok go”. We started giggling immediately.
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.
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.
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.
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.