All four girls from session 2 have arrived and are settling in to their new home away from home.
Thomas arrives this evening! We’re all looking forward to meeting him!
Our group of four girls, one boy and two leaders set out to stand on the equator! We started at an open air museum where we took a tour that explained Ecuadorian culture and the effect the equator has on us. We learned all about the Coriolis effect and tried to walk in a straight line with our eyes closed across the yellow line marking the equator. This was harder than it seemed because the forces of the north and south sides were throwing off our balance.
After the open air museum we went to Mitad del Mundo (aka the middle of the world.) Here we climbed to the top of a statue and looked at the beautiful mountains surrounding us. On our way down we learned many new facts about previous Ecuadorian civilizations. Also at Mitad del Mundo we went shopping and braved dust storms. Lastly, we ate a large lunch before returning to the hotel.
At the hotel we packed our bags and are preparing for a 3 am wake up tomorrow morning in order to start our journey to the Galapagos! We are all so excited and can’t wait to check out things there.
Included are some pictures from today’s activities.
Today we had our first day of volunteering at Campo Duro Eco Lodge. After a few hours of hard work moving large lava rocks, chopping down dead tree branches, and hauling said branches to designated piles, we all had freshly picked homegrown oranges (and fed the tortoises some, too)! I even had some tortoises mistake my bright yellow galoshes for fruit!
Before leaving the Eco Lodge, we had an intense game of football(soccer) kids vs adults..the adults won (only because we let them though of course!) and then we made our way back for lunch.
Later in the day after a spectacular lunch at the hostel, we went on a lengthy but exhilerating bike ride to the Wall of Tears, and old prison site. This bike ride was particularly special because our very own Morgan learned how to ride a bike in under an hour, and by the end of the ride, she was riding like a pro!
After another fantastic meal, we had group session and all crashed hard!
– Jamie Kilian
We’re on the way down from volcano Sierra Negra and colcan Chico after a 10 mile hike the group is resting in the van. The spirit is great in the group and they all seem to enjoy the adventure every day though it is sometimes hard in the sun.
Today the group set out on a 10 mile hike up the Sierra Negra volcano. It started out misty and chilly as we began our trek up the muddy trails. Soon, we were seeing amazing wildlife such as yellow warblers and Galápagos horses (unicorns). The weather became really hot and we all took off our rain jackets and stopped to witness the amazing views of the volcanic valley. We trekked through a desert and saw layers of rock from eruptions of the past, lava lizards, and cactuses. From the top of the volcano we could see amazing views of lava tunnels and green islands untouched by the many years of volcanic activity. After our decent from the volcano, we stopped at an empanada restaurant where we sampled wild boar and cheese empanadas while swinging on hammocks. On our way back to home base we hung out at a flamingo lagoon and chilled with many bird species that are native to the Galápagos. We also took a tour of the Galápagos National Park’s tortoise breeding center. There, we saw many baby tortoises and even learned about how difficult it is for young tortoises to survive in the wild due to the many predators that can kill them. After a short break at home base, we headed to the beach and swam in the Pacific Ocean while watching the amazing sunset in the distance. Today was a great day and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip will bring.
Today we had our second day of volunteering on Isabela Island at the Campo Duro Eco Lodge. There we spent most of the day unearthing rocks, digging up stumps and destroying sticks with machetes (these sticks were then used to create homes for the tortoises.) We also were able to feed the tortoises a plant called elephant ear, which they enjoy. After a long day of work, the Americans played soccer against the native Ecuadorians. Surprisingly the Americans barely won.
After a delicious lunch we headed out for kayaking and snorkeling. In kayaks we saw blue-footed boobies, pelicans, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, and many more. Additionally we were able to see the rare spotting of wild Thomases, wild Gwyns, wild Jamies, wild Morgans and wild Elizabeths. During snorkeling we were able to see many species of fish and giant sting rays.
To end our day we had some delicious ice cream, ate tuna casserole for dinner and settled in for a meeting. During the meeting we had a heated discussion about how we would run a government. Tomorrow we will be going on a ten mile hike.
Before and after knowing each other in the group by Gwen. Kids are great and get along as I’m used to see in GLA, great spirit
July 4th (Flashback Post)
Happy 4th everyone! Our 4th of July consisted of working at site cleaning blackberry bushes. Blackberries, or mora as the locals call it is a highly invasive plant that is destroying the Galapagos landscape. The clearing of the bushes wasn’t the hardest part, rather it was the 2 mile walk up and 2 mile walk down. As Gwyn says, it’s uphill both ways. The work was gratifying and after we headed to Tijeretas. Tijeretas was a great place to snorkel and we were even able to swim with sea lions! The sea lions charged at your face and then dived down. The whole experience was surreal. Tomorrow we will be celebrating the 4th of July with s’mores and we are excited for that!