After a long, hot day of hiking and questioning locals the search for the elusive Barranco Blanco and its apparently beautiful waterfall was almost at an end. As we reached the bottom of the hill we could hear the crashing water of the waterfall and on the opposite side of the bridge we saw a set of metal stairs beside the road, something that was hidden from us on the ascent.
The stairs were gated at the top and only gave access to the water pipe under the road bridge. Further along however there was a wall built into the face of the rocks and I traced it to a spot beneath the trees and my eyes dined on a wondrous vista.
There, only 20 feet below me, lay the pools of Barranco Blanco and to my right the cascading white rapids of the waterfall. I grinned in awe and delight, immersing myself in the moment. The search for Barranco Blanco had ended just a single after it began and I could not wait to feel the coldness of the river cooling my sun baked skin.
For a twenty foot descent it wasn’t a sure footed route and the ground was slippery in places. Roots and rocks created hazards at foot level while branches and thorny plants played their parts at eye level. The rocks needed careful negotiation as one slip would easily result in a torn ligament, ruptured tendon or broken bone. I didn’t want any of those.
The trees overhead formed a bright green canopy through which the sun peered in white hot spots; like lances of brilliance that caused the ripples on the water to cast shimmering silver reflections on the rocks about the edge of the arena.
As I reached the floor of the basin I became aware of the true beauty surrounding me; a vibrant green algae clinging to the rocks at the bottom of the pools like a velvet carpet, swaying to the rhythm of the current, the grey of the rocks flecked with white and the reflections of ripples dancing about them like fiery imps, the sparkling diamonds as the sun skipped across the tips of tiny waves and the flora; purple, yellow and green, a floral wallpaper that only nature could design. And there, like the crowning piece on the mantle, the powerful torrent of la cascada, the waterfall twisting into the basin sending spray and foaming white water across the surface of the pool.
I felt the cold of that spray and closed my eyes. The scent of brine and moss hung freshly in the air and I breathed it all in, drunk on the feeling of connectedness with the earth.
A larger pool lay at the back and its deeper waters were alive with fish, snails, terrapins and undulating weeds that performed a mesmerising dance. The place was alive with an energy that I sorely needed to savour and in a heartbeat I was waist deep in the cold, refreshing water.
I allayed my fears of the possible unknown hazards. This place was supposedly heavily frequented and nobody had mentioned anything untoward. The sign back at the road mentioned nothing bad either so I ignored the demons in my mind telling me there’d be poisonous spiny fish and be-tentacled monsters waiting to devour my soul.
Barranco Blanco’s sublime awesomeness was an incredible experience akin to a waking meditation. I soaked myself in the cold water and watched the fish as they cavorted beneath me. I felt touched by something otherwordly and was loathe to leave.
After some considerable time in the pool I sat on a rock and drank in the atmosphere. I noticed litter in corners or stuck to branches in the pools. Bottles were wedged between rocks, their plasticised labels half stripped or sunk to the bottom. I shuddered with sadness and disbelief. How can people do it? Such a beautiful place should be kept that way. There is a bin by the sign plenty big enough and not out of the way. I grabbed a bag and began picking up as much as I could find; old tissues, cartons, bags, labels and even a plastic bottle which was half covered with tiny leeches.
I felt happy to eave after clearing the place up and satisfied that I had given something back to a place of wonderful beauty.
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