Volcano and Stingrays - Fifth Report from Ecuador/Galapagos

Caitlin Hegarty

Yesterday, our group ate a speedy breakfast and left for our hike to Sierra Negra in Santa Cruz. We arrived on a bus with open sides (thrilling!)

The hike up was very serene. Because of the altitude, the temperature dropped. The cool air made an easy hike to the top of the volcano. Hiking up we saw many different kinds of plants, including many different types of ferns. When we reached the top, the view was shocking. Because of the tall, luxuriant plants, we were not able to see how far up we were. Coming around a corner at the top, there was an opening to the inside of the volcano. Being at the top of this yellow alert volcano, we saw the black and ashy inside. The diameter of the volcano seemed to go on and on until the ashy ground met the other side of the volcanic wall. We had lunch and continued around for an eighth of the volcanos circumference. We got to a second clearing and looked out at the view in silence, remembering all the views we had seen on the trip prior. A group picture was taken and then we continued down a path that brought us back to the parking lot. 

Waiting for our bus, we drank peach juice and ate Oreos. Then a local on a horse moved down from the volcano into a clearing near the parking lot. Followed by this man, were two other horses, one with a man, and one with a dead boar thrown over the horses back. At that moment, we learned that boars were an invasive species in the Galapagos and that they were a threat to the tortoise species because they ate their eggs. We continued to laugh and tell stories after the men and their horses continued on. Soon after a man came into the parking lot on a horse followed by dogs, and right next to the horse he rode, was a two-week-old horse. It was so cute. 

You can probably tell by now that our bus was a bit late in picking us up. After a while, the bus finally came and we arrived back at our hotel. We were given an hour or two to rest and get ready to head to the beach. We had some rest, got in our suits, lathered some sunscreen, and headed out to the beach. On our way to the beach, Felipe let us get ice cream from a local market. With our ice cream, we frolicked to the beach. 

First, when we got to the beach we had to listen to some safety rules. Thankfully none of the unsafe circumstances occurred. After listening to the rules, we ran into the water. The Pacific water was warm and refreshing and the waves were the perfect sizes for diving through and jumping over. We saw stingrays and sharks (don’t worry, the sharks were very small). We stayed there for a few hours. This part of the day was rewarding for us and relaxed our muscles after our hike. We got some sun too! 

We walked back to our hotel, showered and hung out in the six hammocks that were tied around next to each other (that was a major chill spot). When it was time for dinner we headed down the road for steak, chicken, or fish. Each of these dishes were the main choices we had for meals on the trip. With our choice of meat, we were given rice, a small salad, and a third portion of food depending on the restaurant. We laughed together as we watched the American wrestling matches that were being streamed on TV near us. We made fun of the poor acting that went along with the fake fighting. We walked back to the hotel and hung out in the hammocks. Miguel gave some of us tattoos! (Temporary ones). After a while, we got tired and went to bed. That sums up our day!