I guess you could say that Marce and I are end-of-the-roaders. What I mean is that we have a compunction…a strong need to see what’s around the next bend or explore a different path. So just recently we were surprised to find out that on several recent occasions we missed some really interesting things by not going far enough. The Galapagos isn’t like the USA with its handrails, warning signs and kiosks featuring maps and explanations. You’ve just got to…well, explore. When you’re visiting once-in-a-lifetime places and a friend at the local sailor bar casually remarks, “oh, you didn’t take that little dirt path at the top of the mountain?” or “you know the path after the beach continues up a lava boulder strewn cliff and that’s where the blue footed boobies roost,” we knew both were worth a second go.
On the way up the boulder garden past Loberia Beach we saw the familiar white and green vertical sticks stuck between rocks marking the trail which was essential because there was no discernible path. It was easier to spot the well camouflaged marine iguanas than the route while scrambling over the lava boulders. The view was breathtaking. We were above the rookery watching the frigate birds, boobies, red and blue, step off the rocks below us and soar around the cliffs and back to a spot where another bird would step off and pretty much do the same thing, kind of like a tag team with the more thoughtful ones giving an impressive squirt of guano at the outside of the turn. The cove far below us, engulfed in crashing sea foam, was swarming with large sea turtles, mating we suspect. Where’s Marlin when you need him?
A young guy came walking up to us and asked if this was the end of the trail…why yes, we smiled, this is the end of the road. We saw him again the next day after we’d succumbed to our siren song and climbed down off the lookout at Tijeretas Hills onto a steep dirt path strewn with black lava boulders to a deserted beach whose only shade was occupied by a large possessive sea lion and with a pair of roosting blue footed boobies on a lonely rocky outcropping.
We smiled when we saw him as we re-crested the summit and told him it’s rough but worth the effort. “I’m going to call you my rough guides,” he said as he started picking his way down the steep dirt path. It’s always worth it.
Maybe it would be more wise for each of us to be with someone who would temper our need to see it til the end but we knew there was something special about each other from the first day met.