Christopher Newport Ecuador + Galápagos

Relaxation & Exploration

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Today we got to recharge and sleep in until 8:30 am. After waking up, we all congregated around the breakfast tables and enjoyed an amazing meal cooked by Sylvia of eggs, juice, granola, and cereal. She makes the BEST hot chocolate. After breakfast we listened to Alexis' herpetology lecture before setting out for our daily adventures. Using an ID guide, he pointed out some particular species we were likely to see on the rest of our trip. We were even lucky enough to experience one of Alto Coca's known resident species of frogs that Alexis had found the night before. We split into two groups for our daytime activity. Elliana, Erika, and Steffie decided to take advantage of the beautiful scenery around the Reserve and spent the day in our hammocks, got to practice our Spanish with Sylvia around the campfire, and played many games of cards, all while watching the 20 year old volcano erupt periodically.

Emmylou, Patrick, Kat, Sophie, Alex, Sabrina, and Charlie traveled (or more like slid) down muddy slopes, encountered many known and unknown plant species as well as learned more of the floral dynamics in the cloud forest, and made our way through a rocky stream. Though, it was no ordinary stream. It spoke stories of the past through limestone and sandstone erosion that have yet to be interpreted (I'll spare you a geology lecture). Reaching the end goal of our first stop, we crouched into a small, enclosed shelf to overlook a waterfall that was actively carving its way into the earth. Traveling back up the stream, Emmylou, Patrick, and Charlie voluntarily waded through knee deep waters to reach a special pool at the base of a small waterfall. Emmylou and Patrick bravely dived in and agreed that getting wet was worth seeing this tiny secret paradise. On the way back to camp, Emmylou, Patrick, Charlie, and Dr. Meyer paused to watch how camera traps were set up. We are excited to see what animals pass through when the camera is retrieved in a month by local guides and the pictures sent to us.

Once the rest of the group came back, we enjoyed another delicious meal of curry, bacon-wrapped chicken, rice, and black beans with more hot chocolate of course. We roasted marshmallows over the campfire and then decided to call it an early night at 8:30 pm for our great descent tomorrow!

A few adventurous souls decided to night hike with Alexis and collected 3 frogs and a lizard along 2 100 meter transects that Alexis has been studying on previous trips. The plan is to keep them overnight, ID them, allow everyone to observe and learn about them and then release them back into their appropriate environments.

By: Steffie and Charlie

You can check out more trip photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8eDMdvX8mXmMNTzx5