Up to the Falls

December 11, 2006
Day 439

Kaieteur Trek Day 4

Picture of falls.

Me on a ledge by Kaieteur Falls.

Craig and I got up early, ate a big breakfast, and walked to the top of the falls. For the first time, the path was actually in good condition and was easy to follow. It was foggy and raining heavily all morning, but we still managed to get to the top rather quickly. We walked around trying to find a sign of civilization, but the place looked deserted. We saw a sign for "Boy Scouts View," and walked to it. There was a loud roar that we figured had to be Kaieteur Falls, but we still couldn't see anything because it was so foggy. We kept walking and found an airstrip. A few minutes later we were at the guesthouse.

The owner of the guesthouse told us the direction to walk to get to the main view of the falls. When we got there, the view was overwhelming. At 741 feet, Kaieteur is boasted as the largest single-drop waterfall in the world, although it's clearly just a marketing term. Angel Falls is over three times as high, yet it has a small drop at the top, so it's not considered a "single-drop" waterfall. Still, finally getting to the falls after such a difficult trek was a really great feeling. Realizing that there weren't any other tourists there other than Cuckoo, a Brit who had flown in, made the experience even more unique. Unfortunately, the rain and fog forced us to retreat to the guesthouse after less than an hour of viewing the falls.

When the rain picked up again, we were invited inside for coffee and biscuits. The owner, who is also the park ranger, couldn't believe that we'd walked all the way from Amatok in the rainy season. He kept stressing that we should have paid for our park entrance in Georgetown, but he couldn't comprehend that we hadn't been there yet either. Still, he was quite hospitable to us after we promised to pay the park entrance fee tomorrow.

Picture of Craig.

Craig looks over the edge.

Craig and I walked back to the bottom early in the afternoon, but I vowed to return tomorrow if the weather was better. When we got back to base camp, I was relieved to see that Sally had finally made it. He promised that Diego wasn't too far behind, and a few minutes later, he stumbled in. We all cooked up a big lunch, and Diego laid down, unable to do much else. We all put our heads together and eventually figured out how to take apart the plunger on my stove. I dug out the o-ring that had fallen off and put it back in place. The stove was fixed, so we didn't have to cook on campfires anymore.

Diego was delighted to hear that not only was there a guesthouse on top of the falls, but there was also a landing strip so he could fly out. A few hours before dark, Sally convinced Diego to start walking to the top. I let them know that I'd meet them in the morning. Craig and I discussed how cool it would be to build a raft to go down the river so we wouldn't have to walk it again.

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