Published: June 21st 2006June 21st 2006
On Monday morning I arrived at 9 am in Puerto Iguazu (a small town with not a lot to offer) after a 20 hour bus ride from Rosario. From town I hopped in a taxi and headed over to my hostel. I'm staying at the Hostel Inn, which is lovely, huge, and actually has a slightly disappointing staff (since most of them refuse to speak spanish with a native english speaker, and a couple that seem to not even know spanish)! I feel like I am staying in a tropical paradise getaway. After I got over the shock of the hostel and had a shower I headed out with some of the girls that are staying in the same room as I am to check out the falls. We spent the whole day walking around the National Park. The falls supposedly don't have much water right now since there hasn't been rain in the north since April, but they were outstanding anyway. Words cannot describe how grand they were. It was absolutely fantastic to be able to just stand there and know that what you were seeing was something unique in the world and that you would never be able to see it exactly the same ever again. There's a certain appeal about the jungle that other ecosystems just don't have. I love how green everything is here, it reminds me of home - hiking around in the Cascades. It's better though.
I hiked the upper and lower trails first, and then finally headed of to "Garganta del Diablo," which translates into Devil's Throat. It was amazing to see the falls so closely, but that wasn't the part that appealed the most to me like it does for most of the tourists, for me it was just the experience of the hike. It's been a while and it was nice to do something that felt so natural to me. I ran into Shannon (from the program) and her Dad while I was at the Devil's Throat and chatted with them for a while, but I wasn't really in the mood for talking about my experience. I really just wanted to wander around on my own for a bit. Which is actually what I ended up doing yesterday. I wandered into town in the morning to buy some essential sustenance and then ended up walking up to a point just out of town where you can see all three countries at the same time - Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. It was a really great view, and a really lovely morning. I have been lucky to have pretty nice weather overall. By the time I got back down from the point though, my feet were pretty well ripped to shreds. I had blisters all over my feet. I kinda decided to ignore the blisters, change into a better pair of shoes and head back into the park to hike the one trail that I had missed the day before. It was an amazing trail, dirt instead of paved, and chocked full of wildlife. That hike was my favorite of all of the things that I took the time to do here in Iguazú! Right off I saw a huge toucan, black and white with a bright orange beak. I managed to get away from the rest of the people walking on the trail and wandered by myself for a long time. The trail was probably a couple of miles long, 5 km if I remember correctly. After a little ways I saw a couple of monkeys. I managed to get a couple of photos they were so close. The whole time that I was wandering down that trail I was thinking about the Hunters and Gatherers class that I took last term, and how this was exactly the type of environment that a lot of those groups live in. It would be extremely difficult to hunt anything in that jungle. The undergrowth was so thick, and any animal trails that you could pick out were really too low to the ground to be of any help. I also ran into Shannon and her Dad coming the other way down the trail, and they told me that the waterfall at the end wasn't that impressive. When I got there though I had other thoughts. When you saw it from the top it really wasn't much, but I followed a trail down to the bottom of the waterfall and wandered around on the rocks by the edge of the pool at the bottom of the falls. It was gorgeous, with the sun shining through the branches of the trees. I rock hopped around the edge of the pond and managed to get right up next to the falls. I would have gotten under the water to cool off, but I figured that 1. I wasn't supposed to, and 2. walking back in sopping wet shoes wouldn't exactly be a fun prospect. It was definitely my favorite part of the park though.
I'm not sure what's going to happen today though. I was planning to wander down the road and rent a horse to ride into the indigenous village that's just outside of town, but we're having a rainstorm at the moment and I don't know that I really want to brave it at the moment. If it lets up in a little while I might go, but wet horseback riding has never been my favorite horse experience. Argentina plays their third game at 4 pm today, so I might just watch that and lounge around the hostel.