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Kaieteur Falls Magic

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the second day of our journey (I know...I've gotten what? eleven posts out of the first day!) we went up and away in a teeny tiny plane. A solitary sandpiper teetered at the airport, saying good bye.
Georgetown, Guyana's capital city, from the air. It is not particularly cosmopolitan, as you can see.
A leper colony, now defunct. The graveyard was on the little island in the foreground. I thought of all the suffering that had gone on there.
I could hardly take my eyes off our pilot who looked so much like Chet Baker's foster father David that I wanted to give him a hug. Well, I would have enjoyed giving him a hug even if he didn't look like David's lost twin...but enough from the Invisible Woman.

Today, we'd take a much-too- brief excursion to experience the magic of Kaieteur National Park. Designated in 1929, the park is huge--242 square miles of almost- unbroken rain forest.
When I spotted these denuded mountains from the air, I assumed they'd been deforested. Isn't most of Latin America thus scarred? But no--I was told that these are natural savannahs, formed because the soil is too thin to support trees. Amazing. Kaieteur National Park sits on the Guiana Shield, a two billion year-old bit of the earth's crust that spans 30,000 square miles between the Amazon and the Orinoco. The falls itself is the world's tallest single-drop waterfall, at a dizzying 741 feet. Our birdwatching tower on top of our house is 41 feet tall. Just add 700 more feet and you have the potential to brew up some serious acrophobia. I took this from the air, as our skilled pilot banked to give us a good view of the falls. The river just kind of pokes along, widens out and then... Yikes!We walked and walked, getting closer to the falls with each overlook.
OK, that's probably plenty close. Eeeeek. Tannins stain the water a cola-brown.
There were rainbows in the mist.
Two by intrepid two, we crawled to the edge to look down into the gorge. Here are Terry and Judy Moore.
I was fascinated by the cushiony plants on the gorge walls. A biologist once lowered himself down on ropes and spent a very cold, uncomfortable night in the gorge, collecting plants and checking out the bizarre life forms down there. I'd love to know what he found.
But I was more than content to spend my time at the top of the gorge. No ropes, thank you.


WOW! Watch that first step; it's a doozy!

Wow, thanks for the lesson in geography! I've never heard Kaieteur Park before-what a spectacular place!

The waterfalls are fantastic!!

Yes, spectacular shots...but I have to admit; I clenched up just looking at them. I am soooooooo afraid of heights!

Yeah, went to see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and almost couldn't get out of the car in the MIDDLE of the parking lot. When I finally did, all I could do was sit on the pavement and wrap my fingers around the yellow lines.

Lovely though...

Oh my, that pilot can start my engine any day!!!

(The falls are nice too)

I went to the Kaieteur National Park Website for more information. What a place! Thanks for sharing your experiences there.

Oh, I've gotta plan a vacation to this place - the beauty, the falls, the birds, the pilot...

OH! The falls! Grrrreat photos - I'm just all giddy here. The teeny tiny plane would have my blood pressure up a bit but wow, how worth it, especially with a pilot like that one to distract me :o)

He asked my roommate to sit in the co-pilot's seat. Ehhhhh. Just so you know where I get the inspiration for my commentaries.

That pilot made my engine vaaaah-roooom.

Man, your photos...I wanna curl my hands up in all that green.

And all that treeless area? refreshing!

Whew. Oh. My. That is a steep little drop there. But so magically beautiful, as was your pilot. Ahem.

Amazing place!

I will be leaving college soon and not knowing what I want to do with my Conservation Biology degree your post help to figure out where and what I want to do. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on if I go to graduate school where would be the best places to go.

Not sure why you're spending all this time as a nature blogger when you could clearly be running a great travel agency website ;-) Very enticing...
And you need to quit worrying about being invisible and just be thankful that (unlike some of us) you still have all your hair!

Aha! Another clue to Cyberthrush's identity. He has opposable thumbs and is missing at least some of his hair. That narrows it down.

OK, the pilot is very hot, but no way could I go up in his tiny airplane, with my fear of heights. And, as for the people leaning over the edge to look down at the falls, I just wanted to scream


~Kathi, saying "please, no more scary pictures from high places"

How glorious! I am so filled with envy!!!

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