Friday, August 1, 2008

To the Top -- of a Volcano!

Yes. I hiked up a slag pile. Bartolome Island in the Galapagos is an extinct volcano. But, from a distance, to anyone from southwestern Pennsylvania coal county, it looks like mine waste.

Even up close, when starting to hike on the volcanic sand and lava, I thought of slag and the old red dog roads of my childhood. Hum? Am I about to walk on hazarous waste?

Seriously though, I was VERY excited about the idea of hiking up a volcano and I already had an appreciation for the unique beauty of this barren environment. The burnt oranges and reds of the sand and hardened lava were stunning. The landscape was often breathtaking. Pinnacle Rock, the arrowhead-shaped point, is the most photographed spot of the Galapagos.

While I was excited about this very cool adventure, I had a concern: 358 wood steps to make the 374 foot STEEP climb. This was going to be another kind of breathtaking! I was going to suck wind on this one!

Off we go on a journey to follow the platform trail....

The overlook stop on the way up provided a place catch your breath and a great view that included our ship, The Xpedition.

Imagine the explosion that erupted to create this now still, quite and otherworldly crater.

At the edge of the crater, Carlos, our guide, wanted to empahsize the light weight of some of the rocks. A group of hikers have nearly reached the summit in the background.

Well, we still have a hike ahead... more steps! Up we go!

Huff, huff, huff! Oh my gosh! You can do it! HUFF!!!

The view from above.

The walk down was much more relaxing. What a challenge it must have been to build all of the steps!

Journey's end...

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