Salto Ángel - Tepuis, Rain And Cloud... Déjà Vu?
Trip Start Apr 18, 2010
100Trip End Dec 20, 2010
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The rain didn't relent by the time we left for the falls, nor did it give up for the majority of the hour and a half it took to get there. Freddy was fuming. He'd also done the Roraima trek albeit a couple of days after me and he was so fed up of having wet shoes he ended up wearing plastic bags on his feet over his tennis shoes. A group of people coming down told us it was 0% visibility but we pressed on anyway, some more reluctantly than others. There was no question of me stopping, it was worth it just in case we did manage to catch a glimpse so once again I found myself trekking up a hill in the pissing rain to look at some cloud.
I swear nature loves to mock us.
We congregated at the lookout point to stare at fog and the bottom part of the falls for a while and in a display of uncharacteristic leadership, Jesús started to get everyone to chant "clear up" in the Pemon language, presumably his dialect. He got us to shout it over and over again and suddenly the clouds began to part. It was unreal. Buoyed by the apparent success we chanted at the wall of cloud as it continued to lift and reveal the falls themselves, probably the most graceful falls I've ever seen. I revere waterfalls above many things, they're pretty special to me, I still haven't worked out if it's a spiritual thing or why I feel this way and I'm not overly sure it matters. Sometimes its just better to accept that things are a certain way instead of trying to work out why all the time.
The clouds only gave us a few minutes to drink in the sight in front of us before they swirled back in to reclaim the falls. But it was worth the hike for me. Maybe it wasn't ideal but hey, this is Venezuela in the rainy season. Let's face it, it's prolly gonna rain.
After a feed we headed back to the campamento the way we came before we were sent off to the airstrip to be allocated a plane. We used the inevitable waiting time to dry our clothes off in the sun that had finally shown itself before we were bundled into an even smaller plane than before with a pilot who let Misty, one of the American girls, take off then once we were in the air and cruising along he whipped out his newspaper and proceeded to catch up with the days news. Yep, there are few in this world more chilled out than the South Americans.
And the puri-puri here are just as vicious as at Roraima, I look like a walking dot-to-dot puzzle and I officially hate biting insects. As in insects that bite, not the actual act of biting insects, not that I'm too keen on that either although I did eat some ants in chilli at Roraima because they're
What's In A Name
Ok so I'll finish off this post with a quick note on how Salto Ángel got its name. Back in the 30s an American pilot called Jimmie Angel crash landed in a particularly small plane on top of Auyantepui along with his wife and crew. Now, being a man with a name befitting of a 70s TV detective, Angel wasn't going to just give up so him and his crew, including his mrs, spent 11 days hacking their way through the jungle to safety. And so that's why we know the falls as Angel Falls, or in Spanish, Salto Ángel.
In the indigenous language the falls are known as Kerepakupai Merú... Buuuut that's harder to pronounce and spell and tourists with short attention spans would never be able to get their head around it after the third syllable.