April 17-19, 2017
We went on a 3-day trek to the Maragua crater, organized by Condor Tours. It was really more a 2-day trek because the last day consisted mainly of getting on the bus and eating lunch. Those 2 days were doozies, though. We walked around 18km both days, all above 3000m, which got us good and tired. Danielle especially felt the elevation/exertion. We'd planned for this by me carrying all our stuff, but going up hill was still a struggle for her. (On the second day I didn't carry much, because one of the other tourists had gotten food poisoning and got ferried to our destination by bus, which then took most of our clothes as well.)
The hike proper started at a chapel with the worst bathroom ever. (I have a picture which I'll share on request, but I don't want to just spring on you.) From there we walked downhill, and in the second half of the day we reached the crater proper. It's not actually a crater, but simply a rock formation that looks like a crater. Throughout the day we had great views of farm fields, a river, and some of the most wonderful rocks I've ever seen.
The rocks came in many colors, but what really made things odd was the fact that the layers ran whichever way. Some were horizontal as you might expect. Some ran at an angle, and some were twisted into curves. Adding to that, it was common to have rocks on one side of the trail have layers facing one way, while ones on the other side faced a different way. It was all wonderful, and I look forward to learning enough geology that I can actually understand some of it. (Thanks to Jeff for explaining some of what I saw to me.)
We stayed at a basic hostel in the small town of Maragua, where all of us went to bed early because we were tired and it was cold. Our group was unusually large, presumably because we left the day after Easter Sunday. There were 11 people in our group from all over the world. At one point or another I chatted with everybody, and it was nice to hear where everybody was at in their life, and what enabled them to travel.
The next day we walked out of the crater on the other side, and visited a rock full of dinosaur footprints! Since this site doesn't get many visitors, we could go right up and touch them. It's amazing to get up close to evidence of these ancient creatures, right where it's actually found. Seeing this stuff in a museum just isn't the same.
The walking this day was easier, but no less beautiful. We walked through a lot more red stone, and kept seeing fascinating rock layers and erosion whereever we looked. We spent the night in a bigger town (Topolo), whose hostel featured a kitten and a nearby convenience store. The next day Danielle visited a small museum of local traditions while I chose to walk up to a windy viewpoint. Afterwards we got on the bus back to Sucre.