This morning we woke to the sound of waves breaking and heading to breakfast! After this we piled in to our bus for our horseback riding and hiking adventure. Little did I know there would be some “skiing” involved. We stopped one last time at a lagoon en route and see one lone flamingo (likely an injured one) hanging out in the middle of the pond. We drive 40 minutes to where we pick up the horses and see that the road is very muddy where we will be riding initially. So the decision is made to drive the bus up to the start of the trail where we cold hike up and around the volcano rim for a bit on the south side and then mount the horses where it is less muddy. The bus however gets very stuck in the mud – so we all help with gathering sticks to lay some traction, pushing it along, and bouncing it from the back seat. The bus slid all over the place and we definitely get dirty, and still the bus stayed stuck. We then decide to leave it and continue on our hike and hope the driver can get it out while we are gone. We then walk for about an hour around the south side of the rim of Sierra Negra – the second largest crater rim in the world, being 7 by 9 kilometers in size. The weather is very misty and wet on the south side, and you wouldn’t even think there was a crater in front of you until you are able to see it on the north side. From here the climate is dry even as though it hadn’t seen rain in months, and the mist subsided so one could see the expanse and width of the crater. You see below too, to the thermals still giving off heat through fissures. The view on the other side is to the Northwest part of the coast, with Fernandina in the background.
We return by horseback until it gets too muddy to be safe, and then we continue the rest of the way on foot back to the bus, which is still stuck in exactly the same position as we left it. Luckily another man with a 4x4 vehicle towed us out and then the mud adventure is finished. We proceed to drive back down to the coastline. Along the way I notice many overgrown farms on the side of the road. You can see the many fruit trees or other crops all planted in rows that are now being overgrown with other vegetation taking over. You can see fencing overgrown by plants. The sad remains of what used to be a hope for paradise for the early settlers who found that farming in this region had its fair share of difficulties and not many rewards. We continue tot a beautiful local farm, Campo Duro, for lunch where we can see their tortoises, an area of natural habitat set aside for the babies leaving the re-breeding centers. The farm is beautiful with nicely landscaped grounds and many different tropical fruits growing on the property. Next we headed back to town for a free afternoon. Jens and Bob decide to rent surf boards, so they, I and Fabio all head to the ‘beginners beach” to try it. I sat and watched them both attempt to stand up on the boards time after time, and they both succeeded a couple of times! We then walk back to town, eat dinner (of course buy ice cream bars) and then head to bed.