Yesterday … oh, I believe in yesterday——————————–17th November 2014

Cumaca Falls

Cumaca Falls

Yesterday morning, as I pulled my covers close and snug for what felt like a few moments, my alarm clock went off … 5:30 am on a Sunday morning.  Torrential rain was pouring out of the sky and I heard a distant thunder crack like a whip and then … “beep, beep, beep (get up Nisha)” my alarm clock continued to sing.  Groooaannnn…

I struggled for a moment to remember why (oh why) was I getting out of this warm, heavenly bed at 5:30 am on a rainy Sunday morning … and it hit me … cause that is what I do (or what I used to do anyway) … Trinidad Nature Photography Tours had invited me to visit the waterfalls of Cumaca (after Valencia) and I had spur-of-the-moment said yes, because it was a place I hadn’t been since I was 16.  The photos of it still looked beautiful and my eyes longed to see the falls again, where I had stood with my father more than a decade ago …

As we drove there, the place was dark and gray and our tour guide Dale insisted that there was a break in the clouds and that blue skies were surely on its way – he was right, somewhere in the midst of the northern bleakness, there was a hint of hopeful blue and we pressed on … after the first steep hill though, I was breathing like a dragon out of fire and had to stop as I got dizzy and certain I saw stars among the trees of that dense forest … my comrades such troopers waited for me as I tried to catch my second wind … too late to turn back now (plus the shame of being unfit) enough to help me muster up a “let’s do this!”

Half hour later we arrived at the first waterfall and with timed perfection, the downpour started, we scampered to grab garbage bags and cover all the gear.  Dale said it was a passing cloud and I walked out into the water and plopped myself down. This was it, paradise … I sat there in the cold water, rain falling on my face and I felt like I was a teenager again – like any minute I would look up in the forest and see my dad clearing some branch away, smiling down at me – it was a wonderful moment in time to be transported back to – worth the trip already.  The water was still clean…and I was thirsty…and it tasted like heaven after that almost grueling hike.  The last of the clean water was quickly replaced by silt filled water as the rain continued and the passing cloud…didn’t pass.  It felt like almost an hour later, until we were able to take out our cameras and grab a few shots … and I mean definitive stolen moments as the rain threatened to start again.

We ascended the waterfalls as the drizzle started back, one by one already soaked from the rain, gear covered in plastic bags and Dale somehow managing to keep a single rag dry to help us wipe our lens – he was the saviour of the day in my book. Thanks Dale!

By the time we were ready to ascend to level three, I packed my gear away … it was really pouring down and I couldn’t risk the loss … so safely stowed my stuff and proceeded to venture up and get a view of the top falls (sans camera). It was absolutely breathtaking – all of it.  I didn’t need my camera, the view is imprinted in my brain, but one day soon I will be back to share it with all of you … for now, I will share these …

BTS of me getting the first shot (by Dale Orosco)

BTS of me getting the first shot (by Dale Orosco)

And then the drama of leaving started … the water level rose so high, we had to wait to cross the river at several points – and when we did, the current was so strong that we had to form a chain and stay close, the gushing water pushing and threatening to sweep us in its wake.  At one point, I stayed anchored to a rock, as Dale assessed how safe it was to cross up ahead … that’s when I saw a huge snake being washed downstream … it was momentarily a few feet away from me and my paralyzing fear and great respect for them took over and I gingerly uprooted myself to make myself move closer to the others… so this was me, trying to wade through waist high water, camera bag in one hand, tripod and machete strategically in another and when I was almost there, the raging water helped me out by taking the machete and carrying it downstream in a rush … I now owe Dale a machete … Sorry Dale!

Lower Cumaca Falls

Lower Cumaca Falls

I made it to another rock and as I tried to get better footing, my camera bag (luggage wrapped in garbage bags) started rolling down the rock I placed it on and I frantically caught it just before it hit the water … yes enough drama to last another week.  We walked down the swollen raging river, close to the edge as much as possible … it had risen so high in such a short space of time that everywhere looked different, even though we were back on the same path. Thanks to the teamwork of the group, we made it back safely to the car, a few bumps and bruises but safe.  Quite an adventure for a Sunday morning indeed … As I made my way home, sleepy and tired, looking forward to crawling back in my bed on this still gloomy, rainy day … I felt happy …

2 thoughts on “Yesterday … oh, I believe in yesterday——————————–17th November 2014

  1. Calculate the risk weigh the options and choose, am happy we choose to go we’ll revisit soon . You are my first invitie to our 2015 Tour of the Biche Caves its entrance is through a shallow dive into a clear blue pool which takes you into the Dry cave. there’s oxygen which means there’s a exit or another entrance which has yet been discovered.


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