Argentinian Adventure–Iguazu Falls, The Argentinian Side


The largest park is a national park on the Argentinian side.  There are upper and lower hiking trails with an ecologically friendly train that takes you to where the trails begin.  For those who want to hike more, you can forget the train and hike through the forest/jungle to where the main trails begin.  We took the train.

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On the upper trail you can cross a portion of the river, cross just above the top of several of the individual falls, and get wet.

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The trails on the Argentinian side are impressive feats of engineering.  I kept wondering how they built them in some of the very daunting places, e.g. over tops of large falls, over the rushing river.

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I am standing in the middle of the “bridge” with the same distance over the river in both directions.

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You cannot stay in this location very long without getting quite wet.  The falls are so huge and the spray so extensive, a fine mist floats everywhere.  Talking normally means no one can hear you because of the roar.

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The land to the left is an island.  Because it constantly receives a fine mist, the plants look lush, glistening with water droplets.  Gaston said it reminded him of the movie Avatar.

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After all this hiking we decided to go to the hotel near the falls for a drink.  A man and a woman were teaching people how to tango.  Before I knew it, the guy had me dancing.

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The next day we took the lower trail.  One of the first things we saw was a group of monkeys.  Although there are signs along the road to please watch out for jaguars because too many get killed at night on the road, we did not see any.  It occurred to me several times one could have been 50 feet from me near a trail and I would never have guessed–the jungle is too dense.

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As you can see to the right in this photo, in many places the trail is right at the edge of the falls and sometimes the trail goes over the top so you are walking over where the falls drop to the gorge below.

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The immensity of the falls, the roar and power of the water, the lush jungle–a magical place which filled us with wonder.

 

 

 

Note:  There are several ways to spell the name of the falls, depending on the language.  I have used two of the ways.  The river which makes the falls is the Parana with an accent over the last a.

 

Costa Rica Adventure, Day Four-Part Three


Yes, Part Two of Day Four is missing–it will show up later.  After floating down Rio Tenorio (the missing photos) and eating lunch by another river just off the Pan American Highway, we went a short distance off the Pan American highway to Las Pumas, a wildlife rescue center.  This photo was taken on the way–a very common sight in this area, grazing cattle.

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The center rescues various animals but mostly wild cats, including puma, jaguar, ocelot, jaguarundi–a long bodied, grey cat with short legs and a tiny head, margay, and tigrillo which is the size of a house cat.  Their goal is to eventually release the animals back into the wild.  However, the only place open to visitors is an area where none of the animals can be released back into the wild.

I mostly photographed the pumas–one of my obsessions.

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See if you can find the puma.

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Now you can.  He kept moving.

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Most of their stories went like this:  mom was killed or caught by a rancher for stealing livestock; baby was found and rescued and had become too familiar with people to release.  Another common story dealt with injuries where the animal had been caught in a trap and suffered too much of an injury to ever be self sufficient in the wild.  The smaller cats knew how to either hide themselves or hunker down where it was too dark for a good photo.  In the largest enclosure a jaguar lay right next to the fence.  Once he had been returned to the wild without success.  He did not seem particularly pleased with all us humans so close.  He arose, suddenly turned his butt toward the fence, and sprayed.  One unfortunate (or fortunate if she wanted a good story) girl was the recipient.  She took it well.  How often does one get sprayed by a jaguar!

Eventually, after twisting and turning on various unpaved roads through the dry tropical forest (a totally different type of forest than one usually thinks of when hearing the word tropical), we arrived at Rio Perdido early enough for some relaxation, a bit of exploring, and swimming.