Tuesday, Day 11
It was a pretty rough night of sleeping. The windows were left open to get some cool breeze in, but there is a road right outside...and a speed bump. So every time a car drove over it - and didn't slow down, because they never do - and bottomed out, it sounded like two loud bangs right on the window. So, yeah, that woke me up. A lot.
I finally got out of bed around 8ish I think, and was surprised by the view outside. It was dark when we got in last night, so I didn't really get to see much of anything except car head lights. But Trinidad is such a huge change from the desert climate and cacti of Aruba and Bonaire. It is lush and green and tropical. Hills and rain forests right outside the window! Which also means you are just kind of in a perpetual state of stickiness here. Always slightly sweating. (Better than always slightly freezing in my book!)
(View from the bedroom window) ^^
Anyways, made a quick grocery store run for some food. Super nice place, but took a minute to get the exchange rate down. It's something like 6.5 to 1 USD. So when it's like $12 for some apples!? It's really $2 USD. :)
Made some scrambled eggs for breakfast, played with the dogs (love them!) and eventually made a plan of action: drive to Maracas Bay, hike to Angel Falls, and then check out Las Cuevas Bay.
I think you can tell a lot about a country (or city) by the number of stray dogs and the amount of trash. Port of Spain had plenty of both, and I'll just leave it at that. Not the nicest city I've ever seen by a long shot.
Took a few wrong turns, which always surprises me because it looks like a straight shot on Google Maps so I'm all "I've got this" and then I'm like a mile off track in two seconds. Ugh.
It took about an hour up the little windy road to get from Port of Spain over to Maracas Bay. And it was worth every second of it. So beautiful and not at all what I expected after only seeing the main city!
Didn't stay long at the beach because A) I've had enough beach time for awhile. B) I didn't have sunscreen on. and C) I really wanted to hike to the waterfall. I love hiking. I love rainforests. I love waterfalls. So, yeah, I was excited.
I had several different screen shots and directions saved on my phone to try and get to Angel Falls, but it was harder once we were out there. The roads are not marked at all. Like, no signs. So we definitely drove right past "Zorro Alley" off the main road.
And then from there, the directions said something like, "The hike generally starts after you cross the second stream." Except there were like 10 things you could possibly call a "stream" on the little one-lane road.
We pulled over and hiked up on trail we thought looked promising, but only ended up at some guys house on a hill. He was out working in his garden, and through his broken English, said the trail to Angel Falls was further down the road.
Then we ran in to some locals and the road. I hung out the window and asked where the trail was, and they all three said, oh no, not here, you have to go back out to the main road and go to Rincon. I knew that was false. So we ignored their advice and kept going. Parked again, tried another hike up, and I was just sure that was going to be it. But again, ended at another guys house. Ugh.
Asked another local working in the field, and he said, yes, further up the road, the trail was there. Fine. We will keep trying...
(The guy we asked is in the blue shirt in the middle of the pic if you look closely!)
So we kept going until you couldn't go any more, and again thought maybe that was the trail. But if that was the right one, why wouldn't the directions just say, "Go to the end of the road, park, the trail is on your right." It would have been so easy! So I was a little skeptical.
Followed this trail out, across the water, and straight.up. Like seriously, straight up. And did I mention how hot and humid it is in the rain forest? Really hot. I was soaked. But at least it was a trail, so I kept going...until the trail just ended. No joke. So bummed!
So back down, almost to the car...but then noticed a tiny little trail off to the left. Maybe that was it. I was pretty over it, and about ready to call it off, but sure, why not try one more trail.
It was gorgeous. Several water crossings, green vines and trees everywhere, crazy sounding birds, loud bugs buzzing, water rushing...I just love the sounds of the rainforest. And this trail actually kept going. So that was promising.
After hiking for, I don't know, maybe 30 minutes or so, I saw some local guys carrying huge pieces of wood down the mountain. They spoke English, were super friendly, and confirmed that this was indeed the right trail to Angel Falls! Hallelujah! Only took five tries to find it!
At one point, you could here the waterfall, and kind of see it, but I didn't see where a trail lead off to the side to it, so I just kept going up. And up and up and up. I was completely soaked in sweat by the time I ran in to some more locals...and was informed that I went too far up. Hahahah! Back down I went, and sure enough, there was a trail off to the right, but a log had fallen and partially covered it. Still, I should have seen it. Not so observant after all I guess!
That part of the trail was a little treacherous. Definitely not easy to navigate, and there were ropes to hold on to to make your way up and down to the base of the waterfall.
It was just so gorgeous when we made it. I mean I could have sat there all day. The sounds and the sight of that water rushing down in to the green gorge. And not a person around. Aaahhh yes. This was definitely my favorite thing on the trip so far. I would take rain forest hiking over a beach any day.
It's so hard to get a good shot with the GoPro. Well, hard for me anyways. I had 138 (no joke) other pictures from this attempt, most of them of the water or a leaf when it kept falling over. I really didn't get a great shot of the waterfall, but trust me, it was beautiful. Not so much just the waterfall, but the whole surrounding area.
I wanted to jump in the pool, but it was just a little too chilly for me. I'm such a wimp and hate to be cold, so up to my knees was good enough for me.
But on the hike back down, I was really wishing for some cold water to jump in! So hot. So humid.
It didn't seem to take near as long to get back down as it did to get up. I guess that's what happens when you don't get lost 5 times.
We were half way between Maracas Bay and Las Cuevas Bay, so we went to check out the latter while we were so close. It was pretty awesome, too, but I think I preferred Maracas.
So that's where we went. Back to Maracas Bay to try the famous Shark & Bake at Richard's place across from the beach. When all of the guide books tell you you have to try it, you just do it.
I've only had shark one other time in Iceland, and it was so bad I almost threw up. This was fried and really just tasted like any other fish you would get back home. Nothing special, I didn't think, but I was hungry so it was good enough.
Stopped a couple of times on the way back to the apartment to see what we could see, but never really found anything too good. The good spots are the bays and the rain forests. The city is nothing much.
I mean, I guess this view isn't bad. ;)
I immediately showered and washed my hair when I got back. I forgot deodorant yesterday and was starting to smell my armpits after sweating so much on that hike! Gross!
The not so much sleep and long hike did me in, so I was pretty done for the night. Just relaxed, talked with Leda and Zach, made some soup for dinner (which was actually really tasty, but hot soup in the humid weather was not a good idea), caught up on the blog, and went to bed. Windows shut this time. Hopeful for more sleep tonight!