Earl and Max decided to tour this waterfall and three towns surrounding Cuenca. The towns specialize in certain crafts. It is more economical if you can share these tours and we discussed tagging along. They agreed to let us accommodate them. We were not sorry we went along. Its about a hour ride from Cuenca and you stop at the Battle of Tarqui National Monument, dedicated to the brave 4,000 men, who defeated the 8,000 Peruvian soldiers, to liberate Ecuador.
The battle was February 27, 1829. It is located near the town of Tarqui. There are 73 steps leading to the top. An interesting tidbit. The 4,000 men were retreating rapidly, until a 16 year old fearless soldier attacked on his own. The other soldiers turned and charged to save the brave young lad and eventually conquered the larger army.
We drove through a few more small towns, made the climb up the mountain to the Rangers Station and paid our $2.00 for entry. They had a couple of cabins you could spend the night in, but there was no camping.
We began our ascent and my mind immediately had flashbacks to the Ingapirca trip. Our wonderful guide “Efrain”, of Mio Tours, warned us not to advance at any rate of speed, as the altitude and slippery path would do us in if we weren’t careful. I am not entirely sure Earl and Max were listening to Efrain at this point!
We were instructed to stop and catch our breath about every 900 to 1,000 feet. The paths were very slippery, muddy and low hanging branches were common. Luckily there were many turn outs that we could venture out to and take photos. One had to pay attention and step on rock, bamboo poles laid in the mud or risk falling backwards. The ground Earl and Max are standing on is very representative.
The waterfall was more and more beautiful every level we hiked. The amazing factor was that I felt we were hiking through a jungle at times and was ready for a wild animal to attack. It was very wet, green and the vegetation was thick as Molasses, but there was always a new view.
Our first view looked like this as we started the ascent up the mountain by car.
Then through the trees and about half the way up to the first level, one receives this view!
Finally after hiking all the way up to the “Rookie” level, one is rewarded with this magnificent view. The next level is an additional 4 hours and we chose to visit the craft towns scheduled instead.
Max and Kim are toasting the others with a glass of Canelazo from the ranger station. Wonderful stuff and a great way to end a beautiful morning and a challenging hike! Peace and Safe Travels!