Posts Tagged waterfalls

The Flyover

Posted on June 25, 2013 by 5 Comments

After our hike up to Angel Falls, we had an interesting night. Since it takes all day to trek to the falls, you will stay the night at a ‘camp’. Basically, just a shelter with some hammocks. It was all worth it, of course, to be able to say that we  slept in hammocks outside in the rain forest, with no mosquito nets. Then, wake up in front of Salto Angel. Certainly a unique experience for my mom.

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The boat ride back down river was only about 2.5 hours, and the day started pretty cloudy. We were happy that the boat ride the previous day was clear, because Bode counted over 100 waterfalls on our way (I’m not sure about his math, though) and we could only see a few on the way back.

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By the time we got back to Canaima, the skies had cleared. I arranged a special birthday gift for my mom – a flight up and around Angel Falls. From the air, we could see all the falls and were level with the tops of the tepuys. This was by far an easier and equally beautiful (if not more so) way to see the area. Angel Falls was pretty misty up at the top, and realizing it was Mom’s birthday, our pilot flew us a bit farther and showed us a few other amazing waterfalls.

Angel Falls Adventure: check!

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Filed Under: Venezuela

Angel Falls

Posted on June 24, 2013 by 4 Comments

The trek out to Angel Falls starts with a quick dugout canoe ride to some shallow rapids. Then, you get out and hike around them for about 45 minutes.

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Then, back in the boat for 3.5 hours. It’s wet. And, if we weren’t already thoroughly soaked, it rained on us too.

It’s a long way to go in a tiny little boat, but it’s worth it. We lucked out and had a clear view of the falls from the river as we pulled up.


From there, it was straight onto the trail. Again, everything and everybody was soaked. Still fun, and still pretty amazing.

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It’s the tallest waterfall in the world. Even Bode was impressed.

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Filed Under: Venezuela


Posted on May 31, 2012 by 7 Comments

When we were originally planning a route for my Mom’s 10-day visit, we had ruled out Mocona Falls. It was a bit out of the way, it is not visible if the river is high, and no one from the tourist board had gotten back to an email inquiring about the river-level (this lack of communication continues to be a problem with arranging anything in Argentina ahead of time).

But, someone told us not to miss it, and Mom said she liked waterfalls, so we made a last minute decision and drove the 8 hour detour (4 hours each way).  After a long search for a place to stay close by, we found a cabin in El Soberbio that would do. Good enough was about all we could say about it. Mom is not getting the deluxe tour. Jason and I slept in the bus.

It rained all night, but had stopped by the next morning. We drove another 75 km to the falls, crossing our fingers that the overcast day would not turn into a rainy one.

While the height of  Iguazu Falls is what makes it so impressive, Macona Falls is only about 20 meters high. It is located on the rivers that meet separating Argentina and Brazil. What makes it unique is that it flows laterally across the river, not across as most other waterfalls do. In fact, we were told it is the only waterfall that does so, but someone with a faster internet connection can check on that fact. Also, it flows for nearly 3 km, making it one of the longest in the world.

The best way to see these falls is by boat. So we hoped on a zodiac and made the ride up the river. It was really impressive.  Our hope for no rain turned into a waste of time, as the captain got us closer and closer to the falls, soaking each of us to the bone.  We had a great time.

Back on the road, we decided to put a few more miles behind us before calling it a day. We made it south to the Jesuit mission town on San Ignacio before just before sunset.


Posted on May 30, 2012 by 8 Comments

My mom has wanted to see Iguazu Falls since before we left on this trip, so we were all very excited to pick her up at the airport. And, of course, she came bearing gifts… namely books for Bode.

We got to the falls, which I believe to be the most expensive park in Argentina at nearly $30 per person (plus parking!) and set out to see some cascadas. Bode was finally feeling better, but I was fighting a sore throat and complete exhaustion.  The inside of the park was well-manicured and pristine- complete with trams and many food kiosks. And, it was big.

First we set off on the Upper trail to see the falls from above. Nice view!

Then we hit the lower falls trail, which we cut short after seeing an amazing rainbow enhanced view.  We scouted out a few more miradors before going for the grand finale: The Devil’s Throat.

A train ride, and then a walk on a metal catwalk. One that you think will end right around the corner, but ends up going for 2 kilometers. We were all beat before this trail, but somehow mustered up a second wind. And at the end- Pow! You’re looking right at the falls, and down a vast circular drop off. Oh, and there’s another rainbow to top it off.

Sure, it was touristy, but well worth it. In fact, when we returned to our motel, we saw that Iguazu Falls was named one of the 7 natural wonders of the world (yeah, we know all these lists are a bit subjective, but the timing was stellar). Still, at least one world traveler was not impressed.

If you’ve seen one waterfall, you’ve seen them all. I’m going back to finish my book.


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Filed Under: Argentina

Rio Celeste

Posted on August 28, 2010 by 8 Comments

We had lots of fun with my parents in town. We wrapped up the week with them by hitting a another beach with some great tide pools and interesting sea life.

We also had some time to knock out a few projects on the bus list, like repairing a couple of closet shelves and a thorough cleaning.

More importantly, we managed to get to my parents back to the airport without breaking down.

We had been waiting for our return to Liberia to get some new front tires, so this was our chance.  We met up with Doug and went to get new tires, where the tire guy told us our front right axle nut was really hot. He wouldn’t fix it, so we pulled out with our new tires and fixed it in his parking lot.

Jason had to take it apart and apply lots of grasa to the front bearings and make sure things were adjusted properly and we were on our way. I was glad that it wasn’t with my parents waiting to catch a flight.

We finally got on the road and headed up to Rio Celeste. There is a national park near here that is about 15 miles down a dirt country road, so we went looking for it. Again, we were warned it was 4×4 only, but we had no problems.

We heard a lady offers camping in her front yard, so we went to investigate. Sure enough, it was just her front yard and she wanted to charge us quite a bit for the privilege, so we passed on it. We drove around a bit more following hand-painted wooden signs for cabinas until we found accommodations in what Doug referred to as ‘the halfway house’.

The house was in a lovely valley, but was a muddy hike from the car. It had a bathroom, but no sink in it. The kitchen had a sink and a refrigerator, but no stove or cooking equipment. The walls didn’t quite go all the way to the ceiling. But, it was cheap and that is our usual criteria.

I was putting Bode to bed in one of the rooms when we heard Doug screaming about a giant spider coming up through the shower drain. Neither Bode nor I really wanted to go check it out, so we just decided to pretend we were asleep. Poor Doug.

We were 3 km from the park entrance, which featured an enormous variety of creepy crawly dead things in jars. The hike to the falls was only 2 kilometers, but Jason had sprained his ankle back in Montezuma and it seemed to be getting worse. He waited in the car with his leg up while the rest of us set out down the trail. What they didn’t tell us was the last kilometer involved sliding down a very steep muddy mountain. It was all we could do to keep from sliding all the way down to the bottom and by the end we were covered in dirt and mud. It was worth it.

The water color here is the same shade as the sky. The legend has it that when God was painting the sky, he dipped his brush to clean it into the water at Rio Celeste. It really was pretty amazing.

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Filed Under: Costa Rica

Semuc Champey

Posted on June 17, 2010 by 2 Comments

We got up early to watch the first World Cup Football game. Mexico is a huge rival here, so there was a lot of celebrating their non-victory. Later, we said our goodbyes to Francisco, Karla and Melissa and I took one more longing look at Karla’s pink bug. Man, I miss my bug sometimes. The next one will be pink!

As Francisco says, “Pink is not a crime!” But, he also says he can’t drive it.

After getting lost a few times and driving through some areas that were easily 100% indigenous (non-Spanish speaking,) we finally got on the correct road to Semuc-Champay. The scenery was fantastic.  There are so many small bumpy mountains and the clouds were rolling in. A couple hours on pavement, and a long bumpy hour on steep dirt terrain and we were there.

We arrived at Semuc-Champay, a series of cascades emptying into some beautiful turquoise pools. The view from above is legendary, but we were anxious to go jump in. Coban had been a nice change from the heat, but now we were back in it.

We jumped right into the first pool we found and swam to a rock island in the middle. We swam around a bit until we had a feeling we hadn’t felt in a while – cold.  By the time we hiked back to the car, that feeling was gone and all the windows were down for our hot and slow climb back uphill.

There was camping there at the park, but it was just the parking lot and no one (except the armed vigilante) was there. We decided to hit the former finca near town referred to in our guidebook as “the hippest place in Guatemala.”

On the way, we picked up a farmer and his son for the very long, and very steep journey to the next town of Lanquin.We checked into our decent digs ($15US) and immediately went out to enjoy the spectacular grounds.

There was a nice river with a strong current. Bode wanted to get in, but Jason told him about the time he got swept away by the current of the Rio Grande when he was a kid, and his friend Dale had to save him. Actually, Bode was riveted by the story and we heard it about 15 times that night. By the way, thanks Dale!

Just across the river were cows grazing on the mountains. Bode insisted they wanted to cross the river to our side. I doubt it.  I’m not sure if it was the hippest place in Guatemala, but it sure was peaceful.

Burney Man

Posted on August 27, 2009 by 14 Comments

We headed up through Lassen National Park and pretty much cruised right through.  Bode napped the entire way, so we just kept driving.  It’s pretty, but  we weren’t in the mood for hiking or waking up a sleeping kid, so onward and upward.  He woke up in time for Subway Cave, which was a great stop for him.   He got scared as soon as the cave got really dark and wanted to go back to the car, but as soon as we left the cave he wanted to go right back in.  This time he was a brave explorer, explained how the lava tubes were formed to me, and we made it all the way through.  There was even a snake waiting for us at the end. Cool! Four is probably the right age to get introduced to spelunking.

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We drove up to Burney on a recommendation and we spent the afternoon relaxing by the lake.  Kids skipping rocks and that sort of thing.  Big impressive waterfall.  Nice place.  We’ve actually been here a few days now just taking it easy and getting caught up on some chores, blog posts and internet things (free internet at the pizza joint – a recurring theme.)  They’ve got a car wash, so it was  good time to wash off the filth we’ve accumulated since we left.  Those mountain gravel roads aren’t kind to the engine compartment of an old air-cooled bus.

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Burney is a funky little town with exactly everything you need and no more.  Mexican food. Check.  Pizza. Check.  Bowling alley. Check.  Wacky VW guy with a van up on a pole in his front yard. Check.

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If you’ve got a few days to lounge around and enjoy a place, this is a good one.  The campgrounds at Burney Falls State Park are spacious and quiet.  It’s also given me some time to finish more bus projects and take a real close look at my steering.  There’s still a fair amount of play in it – you definitely notice it on a windy road – and I’ve tracked it down to the Drag Link Arm (i think).  Fortunately for me, The Bus Boys is only 50 miles down the road in Redding, so that’s our next destination.  Note :  if you search for The Bus Boys on Google, you will not get the VW parts guys.  However, I was reminded that The BusBoys were nominated for a Grammy for the song “Cleanin’ Up The Town” from the original “Ghostbusters” film.

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Filed Under: California