Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sulfur Volcano: A long adventurous hike at Isabela Island in Galapagos

This beautiful and very adventurous hike at Isabela Island takes you to one of those spots rarely visited by normal tourists! I must say that trekker’s are a bit crazy, because they like to walk and walk, just for the fun of it. But this long hike has a destination, which is one of the areas of the active Sierra Negra Volcano at Isabela Island.

To get there, you must go up to El Cura, the last spot on the road you must drive to, if you want to visit Sierra Negra Volcano. After registering by the Park Ranger and always accompanied by a local Guide, you walk towards west for about 2 hous following the hunters path. Local villagers take their horses and rifles to look for wild pigs or cows, in order to hunt them to bring meat to the village. The activity is supervised and controlled by the Park Rangers, and you rarely see them too. This part of the island still has animals on the wild, that were introduced from the mainland, and other countries, in different periods of time.

Once you reach the edge of the Sierra Negra caldera, as you walk towards the point of descent, you might have already seen the spectacular yellow spot at the edge of a wall from an inner semi-dome; you can’t miss it! If the day is clear, then you see the huge fumaroles all over the place. It has a surface of about one square kilometer. Then you have to descend into the caldera, walk through a forest of high ferns, reach the different lava and volcanic ash fields, and then climb into this hot stinking spot of incredibly beauty.

 There are different vents through which sulfur gas and water vapor comes out. The sulfur forms many crystal structures around the vent, making every spot unique and beautiful. It is hot if you put your hand next to it, you can feel the heat of the earth coming out of its core through this major opening at the Galapagos Islands. Plenty of water, food, and good clothing are a must for this hike!

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