03/09/2010 - 03/09/2010 90 °F
Taryn and I had breakfast together and she figured out her next steps. She'd had her camera stolen in Bariloche, and wasn't really feeling going to Bolivia as she'd originally planned. She had three weeks until she left for Thailand, and the airline was going to charge an exorbatant fee to change to the next available flight. I told her about Maria telling me about the Uruguayan beaches and convinced her to check them out. It is amazing how one person influences another, and then it grows from there. We said goodbye, she was heading on to Uruguay, and I was heading to the park.
I arrived at the park, and took the park's small passenger train to the Devil's Throat falls, and then took the long walkway out to the observation platform, passing the wreckage of a former walkway destroyed by a flood.
What can one say about one of The natural wonders of the world, that won't come off as trite and cliche? Breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magical, awesome, amazing? It's all those things, but I'll leave the cliches to the hack travel writers and simply say it is a must see if you're at all interested in natural wonders. Having never been to Victoria Falls I would say this has to be the greatest waterfall on the planet, or an extremely close runner up (the people I've met who've been to both give Iguazu the win).
The water at the Devil's Throat rages with such force it shrouds the entire gorge in mist. Many a dare devil has gone over Niagra Falls in all manner of barrel and managed to live to tell the tale. Niagra falls is a trickle compared to Devil's Throat. I can't concieve of a contraption that would allow a person to go over the Devil's Throat and survive.
The falls are surrounded by protected national park land making it a beautiful oasis of flora and fauna. I was struck by the number and variety of butterflies in the park. They are so numerous that they actually land on you. I actually had one land right on my sunglasses and hang out there for awhile.
I followed the natural progression of the park and went to the Argentinian Falls next. The Devil's Throat is impressive for its pure power while the Argentinian Falls are impressive for their stunning beauty.
Walking the trails around the Argentinian Falls I came across wild capuchin monkeys. I can't describe the excitement of seeing my first wild monkeys ever! I also saw a beautiful bird species, and something everyone kept calling a raccoon but was not at all a raccoon, it had a long snout. There are also toucans in the park apparently, but I never saw any. I was lucky to see the monkeys though, as most of the people I talked to had not seen them.
I headed down to the launch for the boats that ride up under the falls. My fears were confirmed, the ferry to the Isla San Martin, an Island under the falls where you can go hiking was closed due to high water levels. The boats under the falls were still launching though. I unfortunately discovered that my waterproof camera was useless, having left the battery in the charger back at the hostel. I missed an opportunity for some really great shots
The experience was very cool though. After hiking around in the heat and humidy the shower is refreshing. The water pelts you much as I imagine a hurricane would. Even with glasses on and my hands up to shield my face I couldn't overpower my reflex to keep my eyes shut against the torrent.
I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the rest of the park. I came across the parks old abandoned hotel, now replaced by a modern Sheraton with rooms starting at $270 according to a couple I met at the airport who was staying there.
I decided to walk back to the park entrance instead of take the train and took on a stowaway who hung out on my arm for quite some time.
After returning from the park, I spent the rest of the evening relaxing at the hostel.