Greg and Thalia joined us for breakfast this morning, and it was nice to be able to say goodbye to them before leaving. Greg is planning on doing another 11-day trip next May that will have basically the same itinerary. I’m seriously considering coming back for that trip, and if anyone reading this journal is interested in coming along let me know and I can forward details. This morning, while riding in the back of a pickup from Puerto Ayora to the Baltra crossing, Aaron and I were singing every eighties rock song we could think of as the scenery sped by. After arriving in Quito we ended up at a really tasty Indian place, and Aaron changed things around a bit by telling vomit stories instead of the usual pants-crapping tales. The next table over from us got eerily quiet as his stories went on — I’m not sure whether they were amused or disgusted, but Aaron didn’t seem to care either way.
On the plane ride to Quito I was giving some thought as to why Galapagos appeals to me, and I believe that it’s because it is a place where the earth feels like it has remained as it is supposed to be — I get that sense in Alaska and portions of the American West as well, but it’s an increasingly rare thing in this world. The opportunity to see animals living like they have been for thousands of years in an environment that hasn’t been disturbed is an experience that for me justifies life itself, and serves as a means of renewal. Aldo Leopold summed it up perfectly when he said that even if such refuges are never visited, we need to know that they exist and will be there when needed.