To me, a waterfall is never just a waterfall. Water being one of the essential things that makes life on earth possible, seeing large quantities of it in motion is like watching life itself. So when I hear there’s a waterfall in an area I’m visiting, I make every effort to go there. If I see a sign by the side of the road indicating a waterfall, I turn off. And if a waterfall is mentioned in the shore excursion or tour description, you can be sure that’s the one I book. They are beautiful, breathtaking and mystical. And they are never just water.
All of which explains why my favorite waterfall ever plays such a pivotal role in the final pages of my book where it is a powerful symbol for the ferocity of life and the eternity of hope, not to mention love. That particular waterfall resides in a dark jungle alcove on the island of St. Lucia, and my photographic skills simply weren’t up to the task of capturing it digitally in any way that would do it justice. Or maybe I didn’t want to risk a non-waterproof camera walking on those slippery rocks? More than likely, though, I was just too busy staring and gasping. There’s something about water pounding into the ground with such force your bones vibrate that makes you appreciate the power and beauty of life.
But let me introduce you to some other waterfalls from my travels…
First up is Switzerland’s Lauterbrunnen Falls, which is as neat and civilized and beautiful as the picturesque town it tumbles into. I stayed in a hotel atop the cliff across from this, and I could hear it all night long like a natural lullaby.
More about Lauterbrunnen here!
Another gorgeous falls in that area is Giesbach Falls, a glacier spawned torrent of water so clean it’s perfectly safe to dip your cup at its edge and enjoy some of the best ice cold water you’ll ever drink. The taste is infused with rocks and has an aftertaste of time that lands very nicely on the tongue.
Trummelbach Falls is an angry torrent trapped in the nearby cliffs where it has carved a corkscrew path for itself. “Trummel” is German and roughly means “noisy” and I can attest to that!
Some of the more dramatic waterfalls I’ve met in the US are deep inside the Grand Canyon. These may not be the largest, but they are some of the most magical because they are life-giving water flowing in abundance in a harsh and unforgiving desert environment.
Elves Chasm is a sweetheart of a fall that invites spelunkers to climb up behind it and leap into its pool. Yes, I did do that. No, there’s no photographic evidence that shall ever see the light of day. But I plan to blog about this and other adventures in the Grand Canyon at a later date, so stay tuned.
Deer Falls seems quite intend to spend as little time as possible in the bone-dry air. It hurries to the ground in a straight and narrow line that will punch you senseless if you get in its way.
But its formidable roar upon arrival fades once you climb up to its source. There warm, clear pools make for great lounging in the shade of sheer red rock cliffs. And a baby fall is available for soothing shoulder massages if you sit beneath it.
Then there’s Granite Canyon that lives in a grotto and requires climbing boulders, ropes and ladders to get to. But after all that work, basking in the gentle waters of this shy little waterfall at the back of a cave (complete with skylight) feels like coming home to a truer version of yourself.
In the sheer, raw beauty department, it’s probably hard to beat British Colombia’s Athabasca Falls. There’s a reason why it’s had a starring roll in Hollywood feature films. It’s nothing if not photogenic.
British Columbia also has many other picturesque falls rumbling deep in its lush forests. Here are just a few more.
Finally, my most recent waterfall (as of this writing) was in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rain forest in December of 2015.