Banos waterfalls....the powerful Devil Cauldron!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2012
Trip End Feb 29, 2012

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 10 - mid morning

Day 3 of Ecuador tour

"Bienvenidos pailon del Diablo y Grieta al Cielo" the wooden sign read! We were now hiking downhill along a path in order to get to these waterfalls.  This one km hike through green lush vegetation was quite something and reminded me of previous rainforests I had visited before. 

As we hiked along the trail, I couldn't help but notice a small booth which sold souvenirs!  What actually caught my attention was an ad on the wall that read in Spanish that for a fee, we could have our picture taken with a real live boa!    Hurrah!!!!  You didn’t have to convince me twice!   I jumped at the opportunity and after paying the small token, with one hand I bravely held the huge boa on my shoulders and with the other one, I held its head.  After all, I surely didn’t want the boa to bite me!  Pictures were taken with me having a big wide smile!   :-) 

Continuing with our hike, the sound of the waterfall got louder and louder as we got nearer and nearer.  Excitement and anticipation grew as droplets of mist kept flying all over me!  Suddenly, without any warning, there it was right in front of me, the Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) waterfall! 

Wow! Was the word I first cried out upon seeing the thundering waterfall!  It was quite spectacular and made my 1 km hike through this dense forest all well worth it even though by now, I was quite exhausted from the humidity and heat!   Looking at the shape of the pool that the waterfall fell into, I now understood why it was called the “Devil’s Caudron!

The area surrounding the waterfall had several elevated platforms where we could walk to and take pictures of the cascading fall.  As I studied all of them, I knew which one I wanted to go to and started heading in that direction even though Michel who must have read my mind was already several steps ahead of me!  So without any hesitation, I followed behind him but at a much slower pace, the very narrow pathway that would bring me….guess where…..right behind this thundering powerful waterfall!   Yeahhhhhhh!

  However, it was easier said than done!  You see, in order to go there, I had to crawl on all fours and all bent down through an upward man-made sloping tunnel.  It proved to be quite a challenge because with tired legs and knees from my earlier hike plus the tunnel being only one meter high and even less in a certain area, halfway through it, I was having second thoughts but persisted anyway by continuing on….. 

Well perseverance paid off because eventually I came out of the tunnel and stood behind the falls triumphantly and smiling but at the same time, completely soaked up from head to toe!   I must have looked terrible but felt great!

It was hard to take pictures as I tried desperately to protect my camera from getting all wet even though I had covered it with a plastic bag!   But standing here right behind these falls and taking all the necessary time to digest, feel the force of Mother Nature all around me and savor my thrilling experience, I felt on cloud nine!  It was quite something!  After five minutes of this, I know, I know, I didn’t stay very long but actually it really felt longer, it was now time to head back through that dreadful tunnel while praying that an earthquake wouldn’t happen while I was there!   Ha, ha, ha!  Actually, it’s true, it really crossed my mind!

It was now time to head back to the van!  Soaking wet, messy hair and hardly any makeup on…..looking terrible in other words…..I followed Michel and our guide down the same trail we had taken coming here.  The sun rays which appeared through the tree leaves were quite refreshing and welcomed at the same time because it meant drying up faster!   A short stop was made at a small rest area where I treated Michel and Gabriel to ice cream cones!  Well earned, don’t’ you think!   

At this point, I asked Gabriel, if he had ever been behind the Devil’s Cauldron falls before today!  His quick reply was no, even though he had often done this trail in the past with previous customers.  They were always reluctant to go through the very dreadful small path and tunnel!  But that was all in the past now because today, he did go with us for the very first time and stood right behind the mighty thundering falls!  And….why did he go today if he never went before?  Being responsible for us, he didn’t have any choice; he had to follow us there! Ha, ha, ha!   So, we were wild customers according to him!  

With the heat and humidity falling upon us, by continuing on hiking, we eventually came out of this mountainous forest all dried up and ready for our next adventure! 

Monique   :-)

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