Sunday, September 18, 2011

Iguazu Falls

Location: Iguazu Falls, border of Brazil and Argentina

Rundown: On the border of Brazil and Argentina the wide, lazy Rio Iguazu falls spectacularly off a basalt plateau. Worth a long bus ride to see!

From Buenos Aires took an overnight bus up to Puerto Iguazu, some nineteen hours north on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. The duration at first seemed daunting, but reflecting on how much I run around every day, it ended up being a treat to just sit in one spot for a long time.

Splurged just a bit for a fancy bus where the seats lay all the way flat, they serve dinner on the bus, you get your own movies, and they don't stop until you get there! I think I'm getting soft.

After driving nineteen hours north, the first steps out of the bus were into a semi-tropical climate. The air was pleasantly humid and the vegetation lush. We found our B&B, Casa Yaguarete, stuck in a grove of various tropical fruit trees. Roughing it yet again.

Since we arrived in the morning, we dropped off our gear and hoofed it to the Parque Nacional Iguazu a few minutes out of town by bus.

The park has beautiful walkways through the jungle. Sometimes you have to share with others like this cute little coati, a racoon-like jungle dweller.

Metal catwalks hug the side of the valley leading towards the falls. You can hear the falls through the selva long before you can see it. Occasionally breaks in the earth were gapped by bridges spanning spitting tributary falls.

The cataracts cascade for several kilometers along the massive plateau drop reaching into the distance as a series of side curtain waterfalls.

Just walking out near the base of the side curtains was enough to drench your clothes.

Followed the side falls for several hours before heading up to see the falls from above. The spray from all of the falls throws up huge plumes of water droplets which create hundreds of rainbows, obscure the other side of the valley, and occasionally pour a fine rain on unsuspecting onlookers.

Hiking on the catwalks through the heavy jungle was a fun way to see the extreme terrain. Very accessible area and no bushwhacking required...for once.

The sheer dimension of the drop and the amount of water continually falling was impressive. I would make a hydrologist weak in the knees.

At the top of the falls catwalks hovered over the slow, placid water of the wide rivers unaware of their immanent drop.

The Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) is the massive horseshoe of falls where biggest torrent is thundering. These two aerials aren't mine, but they show the scale.

At the top of the Garganta the river looks like a lake and upon approach a massive foaming hole appears to open in the center of the lake with the water furiously and perpetually draining into it.

The sheer chaos was humbling.

An incredible sight to experience.

That's all for now. Climbing Cerro Plomo a local mountain peak, around 18,000 feet, at the end of October with a buddy. Don't miss it.

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