When you are traveling around the world you quickly realize that many attractions require the need for climbing of some sort (see the Bucket List of 15 Things to Climb in the World for exhausting examples). When I heard that it was 374 steps uphill to the peak of Bartolome Island in the Galapagos, I began having flashbacks of the 463 steps to the top of Florence’s Duomo.
Climbing that wasn’t pretty. It was where I learned that a 78-year-old great grandmother was in better physical shape than me. Painful. On so many levels.
But, the peak of Bartolome Island was known to have the most perfect view of the famous Pinnacle Rock. There was no way that the avid bucket lister in me would miss scaling this volcanic cone to see a unique perspective of one of the most photographed natural structures in the Galapagos Islands.
So the journey began to the land where the human population is ZERO…
We took a panga from our home on the water, Ecoventura’s Letty yacht, and disembarked on the dock of Bartolome Island where a sea lion basking in the sun greeted us. The islet, located in Sullivan Bay to the east of Santiago Island, was barren besides two small groups of visitors and a few lazy lava lizards.
The gang that I was with eagerly started to ascend the 600 meter trail, a planked walkway which protects the lunar-like landscape from human erosion.
The beginning of the hike had the slightest incline, which allowed me to enjoy the mostly brown land that looked like it was straight from an episode of Star Trek.
A variety of volcanic formations lined the trail: spatter cones, lava tubes and lava bombs.
We even made a pit stop in order to hold a large lava rock, which looked as if it would be incredibly heavy, but really weighed mere ounces.
This was looking like something straight out of a cartoon.
Continuing on, the path steepened. The smooth walkway turned into stairs and my gasping for breath increased. I knew this was coming.
I stopped to “take photos”, a disguise for getting a moment to catch my breath.
After about a half hour we reached the top. The summit not only rewarded us with a spectacular view of Pinnacle Rock, but also Daphne Major, Daphne Mindor and the rest of Santiago Island.
As always when climbing things while traveling, the view from the 114 meter summit was worth every step.It turned out to be a great addition to my list of the top things to do before you die.