The volcano Sierra Negra is the largest volcano in Galapagos (2nd largest caldera in the world); the caldera is HUGE about 9 by 7 kilometers (5.5 miles by 4.3 miles) and is leftover from the collapsed volcano cone. Sierra Negra is on the Island Isabela; this is the largest island in the Galapagos; it is 2,883.162 square miles. The island expanded 1.4km when Sierra Negra erupted in 2018.
We hiked up to see the caldera and even went to the sight of a fissure though it wasn’t active when we saw it.
We had a guide named Nadia. The hike was one of the best parts of our trip. At the beginning, Karen and I sang the song, ‘The Ants Go Marching’ until we finally got to one hundred and thirteen. Neal joined in around sixty-three. The hike took around two and a half hours. The first part up to the gazebo was the longest. There, Neal and my mom stopped so Alora, Kate, Elle and Cooper could have lunch.
From that point on, only my dad, Jason, Karen, Grant, and I continued without the little kids, up to the fissure where the most recent eruption happened. On the way, we found out that we could eat the guava growing on the sides of the trail, even though it was a national park (because guava is an invasive species and that helps get rid of it) so that was cool. I did not like the after taste though.
After continuing, the dirt turned to lava rock. The further we went, the less trees and plants there were because the rock hadn’t eroded into dirt yet.
The ash at the top was hard like rock, not dusty like wood ash. It was really cool and when you would step on it, the ash sounded like glass. Some of the larger ash pieces that should have been heavy were really light. This was because they were really porous (lots of bubbles in them.)
Some of the ash rocks that were bigger, you would have to hold with two hands but that’s not because of the weight, it’s because of the size. If you had big hands you could probably easily do it with one hand. The rest of the ash was super small and it would get in your shoes.
The newly hardened lava created a thin layer that you couldn’t walk on because you would fall through into the abyss below. The area we walked on was made from the ash and exploding lava. If you looked closer at the larger ash-rock, you could see what looked like tiny river beds that had been dried up.
The newer lava ash was a shiny black. The older stuff (where lava didn’t get during the 2018 eruption) was a red-brown with plants most the time. This was where the lava from the 2005 eruption was so stuff had time to grow. Most of the spots where we were hiking had these kinds of places. The rest was gravel-sized ash that sounded like glass. The hike down was pretty uneventful except for a White Heron that was following the trail. That was cool.
Because Karen loves guava, she picked a lot on the way back, we saw lots of guavas on the side of the trail and since I was already covered in these little velcro seeds and Karen wasn’t, I had to go in to get them. We got at least 10 from one of the best trees. In all, we got about 20, (but sadly the next day we had to leave so we had to give them to the hotel because you aren’t supposed to bring fruits or plants to other islands. In the morning we saw a bowl of guava that could only be ours.)