Today the schedule was fairly straightforward. First we would head over to San Rafael falls, which is the largest waterfall in Ecuador. After that we would venture to the Magic Falls, which allows people to get as close as the wish to the giant waterfall. Afterwards we’d stop at El Chaco, a town on the way back to Baeza.
After the hour and a half drive, we arrived at San Rafael falls, but ran into some issues. We quickly found out that only a couple days ago, a bridge that was considered very important in terms of safety for the hike was shut down due a rainstorm. Our guide, Rodrigo, immediately had a new idea for a hike.
We drove for about 10 minutes to our new hike. It began with a simple concrete path, that quickly disappeared. We were then met with a beautiful, yet small waterfall and a railing. We all assume that was the end of the hike, until Rodrigo pointed out the rope that loosely dangled on a steep incline. He smiled at us and said “let’s keep going!”
One by one we all climbed up the rope, which opened up to another area that, again, seemed to end. Once again, we heard “keep going!”
After about 15 minutes of following questionable paths, dodging mud, and climbing up a ledge without a rope, we stood on a narrow area with tall grass in abundance. The group then split into two. One group continued the way they thought was correct, and that group contained Cydnee, Michael, Andrea, Quinn, Murray, and Jeff. The other group went the “correct” way and they had Connor, Aaron, Stella, Isabel, and Rodrigo.
Each group had a unique adventure of their own, and eventually, after much trial and error, ended safely back at the beginning of the expedition. Once everyone had a moment of relaxation to just sit down and put their drenched clothes on a line, we went to have lunch.
After lunch, we headed for the Magic Waterfall. Jeff had told us that we could swim in this waterfall, and that idea excited everyone, especially after our last endeavor. We arrived at a waterfall that truly deserves the word magic in its name. It was about 300 feet tall with a wall of rock and mountain surrounding it, creating an enclave just for this majestic waterfall.
Only a few dared to try to get close to the falls at all, but were deterred by the water forcefully spraying onto them. Everyone eventually got back to the bus, weighing about 2 pounds heavier due to the water dripping from their clothes. At our nightly meeting, it was unanimously agreed that today would go down as one of the most amazing days of the trip thus far, and hope to have many more like it in the future.
-the co-leaders of today Isabel and Murray