Monday, September 20, 2010

Galapagos Expedition | Day 9

Isabela Island: Sierra Negra and Puerto Villamil

Today we go eight miles on horseback to the edge of the crater of the volcano Sierra Negra on Isabela Island. This is the second-largest volcano on earth.

Sierra Negra (Spanish for Black Mountain) is a large shield volcano at the South eastern end of Isabela Island that rises to an altitude of 1124m (3688 feet). It is one of the most active of the Galapagos volcanoes with the most recent historic eruption in October 2005.

Okay, so I'm a pretty experienced rider. I’ve ridden horses since around the age of ten. I’ve been thrown off horses while riding bareback, even had a few lessons through the years. But these horses were a challenge! They had obviously been trained by Spanish speaking riders and taught not to listen to anyone but those Spanish speaking cowboys who traveled behind us. The trails were narrow and we were often teetering on the edge of volcanic cliffs. The horses all had their own ideas about where in the line they needed to be and would charge at each other whenever the Spanish speaking cowboys did a kissy sound, which they of course did frequently.

The weather was cool and foggy with a light mist falling as we headed up the trail.

horseback riding

This was Iz’s first experience riding without someone leading her. She looks like a pro.

horseback riding

horseback riding

My husband on a horse? Now that’s a rare sight!

horseback riding on Isabela

horseback ride

Once we reached the other side, the weather cleared. It was downright hot for our two mile hike on foot up to the summit of Sierra Negra.

Sierra Negra, Galapagos

Iz still looks fresh as a daisy after a long ride up...

Isabel on Isabela Island

The weather had again returned to misty on the return trip.

For some reason my horse insisted on being behind all the other horses all the way back. I was in a cloud of dust.

Mist + dust = ...

horseback ride

Notice the dead pig draped over the horse in the background. That’s not my horse. Some cowboys had just shot a wild pig nearby and I just happen to be passing by it on my way to the restroom when Michael took this picture.

The restroom didn’t have any paper towels, so I did the best I could with cold water splashed on my face.

Looking a bit like I just finished working in the coal mines, we headed to town for cervezas.

Puerto Villamil

Puerto Villamil is a small port village located on the southeastern edge of Isabela. Of the 2,200 people who live on Isabela, the majority live in Puerto Villamil. Residents of Puerto Villamil have earned a living either through agriculture or fishing, but over the years the government has made moves to move the population away from fishing and into tourist-based activities.

This place was closed, but what an awesome spot to spend an afternoon...

Bar Iguana

They even have a sand floor...

Bar Iguana


Susan said...

How sweet that they named an island after Isabel! :) Loved your buckskin horse, and unless you three grew a lot in stature on your trip, those horses are smaller than normal, aren't they?

Cute coal-miner face, Cindy!

Cindy said...

Susan, they were rather small horses, but as stubborn as they were, I'm glad they weren't any bigger. The saddles were the most uncomfortable things ever and the stirrups were too short. If we had that day to do over again, I probably would opt for hiking the eight miles.

John Gray said...

I have really enjoyed your blog
greetings from wales UK

kati said...

thanks for the comment! i always love what a small world it is. and reagan's blob is great, isn't it? i think i'll pass on the wedding jobs, though, thanks! :) my friend ryan at does an amazing job. i'm sure he'd appreciate the recommendation! take care!

Cindy said...

Greetings and welcome to you too John! I'm glad you stopped by. I spent some time reading your blog this morning and enjoyed reading about your life in Wales.

Cindy said...

Hi Kati, I can't say I blame you for passing on wedding jobs. I checked out Ryan's site... it looks like he enjoys shooting weddings. Very nice! Thanks for the referral.