Sierra Negra

Sierra Negra is the most recently active volcano on Isabella Island, making it a great place to finish up our last day of fieldwork for our geology class. The volcano doesn’t have any active flow sites right now, but it does have a very active sulfur mine, an area which is constantly spewing out mass quantities of yellowish gas that smells just like you’d expect it to... day old egg salad that has been sitting out in the sun for too long.  I can’t say the prospect of hiking three hours into the rim of a volcano to camp over night with 17 people all with varying degrees of hiking and camping skills, while the constant threat of rain persisted made me jump out of my seat with anticipation. But some times expectations can be wrong, and sometimes they can be so far blown out of the water that you feel ashamed for expecting less of the amazing experience you just had, that’s exactly what happened to me.
The hike up Sierra Negra was un-eventful and bleak, garua, a thick fog common here on the island, persisted as we walked slowly uphill to the rim where we would camp, it was only at the very end of the hike that we popped out of the mist and a whole new land scape materialized into our view. To the left the clouds were hanging low and Cerro Azul, another volcano on island, was peaking out at us with the ocean along side it, and to the right the caldera of Sierra Negra with it’s sinuous ridge, a large knife ridge on the left side of the caldera caused by an interesting geological occurrence of the ground shifting in two different ways, shot up from the ground. The view was stunning to say the least, and were would get the chance to watch as the sunset on all this glorious landscape.
I thought that there was no way that the view could get better that night, especially as the sunset turned from bright oranges and reds to smoky purples and blues with Jupiter shinning out as the last rays of light left the land, but once again my expectations were wrong. The night ski came out to play and I remembered again what it was like to camp out where there was no light pollution to obscure the lights of the stars and the Milky Way. Some times there are no words to really describe what one felt and saw in those special moments in life when wonders occur, that night was one of them, the best I can do is leave you with a photo of that moment and hope you feel some of the magic we all did that night.