Angel Falls at sunrise.
Angel Falls Travel Blog› entry 17 of 27 › view all entries
June 18th, 2008 – by: gopackjo
I woke up in my hammock on Isla Raton and looked at the clock on my iPod. It was 4:20am, and I could hear laughter coming from one of the other hammocks. I got up and hit the bathroom to beat the rush, and Pedro announced that it was time to wake up a few minutes later. Pedro had to announce the wake up call a few more times, simulating a living snooze alarm before everybody was moving, but sure enough we were on our way to Angel Falls by 5am.
The sun was not up, but the remaining moonlight made flashlights unnecessary. The temperature was comfortable for me in my shorts and t-shirt, while some others opted for long pants and jackets. We stopped to take pictures of some of the foiliage along the way, especially the myriad types of mushrooms and other fungi near the path.
After about 35 minutes the path turned upward, as we moved up towards the falls the anticipation grew. The sweat started to pour from my head, spurred on by the heat of the rising sun. When I reached the top of the trail the view was awe-inspiring. From a huge, slanted rock to the southwest the Angel Falls tumbled from the top of the Auyantepui 3,212 feet (979 meters) into the morning sunlight. The first drop of 2,421 feet (807 meters) was mind-boggling. The water pulsed in waves that came very close to turning entirely into mist before crashing into the rocks and then reforming into a wider shorter second falls.
Nearly 200 photos were taken at that point.
Upon reaching the small river we had previously crossed the water level had gone down about 6 inches in the three hours since the initial crossing. We thanked Pedro for the timing of our trip, as we were very lucky to see the rain swollen falls. Pedro estimated the falls at about 60% capacity, which was very good for this time of year. In the rainy season we would have been drenched by mist at our viewing spot. And in the dry season the falls dematerializes into mist before reaching the rocks.
We packed everything up into our plastic bags, but had high hopes for the weather on the return trip. The hope of remaining dry evaporated quickly as we were pounded by three or four waves right at the start. The water was higher this morning than it was yesterday, and it made the going very smooth. Pedro announced that we would be able to go straight through the rapids we had to bypass yesterday because of the higher water level. We did stop to rest our behinds at the home of a traditional Pemon Indian family. And we observed the way they lived in the traditional house.
We lost a plastic bag going through some rapids, but scooped it up and continued on our way. It was Pedro's bag, and his double bagging proved very successful in keeping the contents dry. We got back to the camp in short order, and there was another large tour group waiting to start their trip.
We had a bit of a newer plane for the ride back, and the weather was nice. We flew directly into a small rain squall that we could see coming. It was a bit rough, but very exciting. Upon landing in Ciudad Bolivar we took a taxi back to the office and I checked back into the Posada Dona Carol and enjoyed some A/C. I went to the internet cafe to catch up on some email and touch base with civilization before heading back to the posada. Tania & Kate then met me there, and we exchanged photos on my laptop.
I then talked with the owner of the Posada and tried to figure out my options for moving on to Isla Margarita tomorrow. There were no flights from Ciudad Bolivar on Thursday, but I could take a Por Puesto (shared long distance taxi) to Puerto Ordaz for a 9:35am flight. There was also a 8am bus going to Puerto La Cruz, and from there I could take the ferry Isla Margarita. I put off the decision until the morning, but decided to not set my alarm. I would value this night of comfortable bed and air conditioning, and see what happens.
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