Saturday, March 23, 2013

Isabela Island II: Sierra Negra and Volcan Chico

After a relaxing evening on the beach, we hit the trail bright and early to hike up to the Sierra Negra volcanic crater. It is second in size to Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania. One of our sub-sites on Santa Cruz is called Mordor (to which I have not yet been), but we all agreed that this was Mordor II, and sampling finches here would be very difficult.

The diameter of Sierra Negra is 11 km across, and the next part of our hike took as along the rim to the Volcan Chico. The mist rolled in, which was a welcome relief to hiking in the bright sun.

Slowly, the terrain became more harsh, with lava and rocks becoming predominant in the landscape as opposed to grasses and the invasive guava.

Soon, we were walking on pure lava, and the landscape was truly as if you were on Mars or the moon.

We climbed the summit of Volcan Chico, were the mist had cleared and we had spectacular views of the ocean as well as the unusual landscape.

Much to Sarah's delight, a mockingbird came by our summit, where we speculated (1) how big it's range was given the harshness of the environment, (2) why it was much smaller than the Santa Cruz mockingbirds, and (3) where its nest might be.

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