Sometimes in life, you sign up for things without being fully aware of what you are getting into. Joining the Peace Corps fits nicely into this category. Last weekend was another one of these moments in my life. We (Karen, Katie, her friend Traci and myself) were referred by word of mouth to a sleepy little river hike.First, our two guides and four dogs walked us up a winding river for about twenty minutes. There were some slippery rocks and a few places where you had to use your hands for balance, but overall, it was beautiful and what you think of as a river hike. There were tons of waterfalls all along the river. Sometimes we had to climb up the rock wall to get around them. Often, the waterfalls were tiered. Our venture over these required zigzagging from side to side on each level. Walking over the actual waterfall would to certain death if you slipped. (Obviously we did not slip.) We found out that the easiest way past some of these waterfalls is to go through them. After wading through waist deep riverbed for a while, we had to break off from the river and cross by land. We passed through picturesque Samoan tropical rainforest taken over by invasive plants. The girls were happy to get out of the water and warm up for a bit. We were lucky on our overland trek. We did not encounter any vau fefe. While it is a wickedly awesome plant to play with, because it moves when you touch it, it has painfully strong and sharp thorns all over the stems. In summary, vau fefe is fun to play with, not fun to walk through. Moving on… We reached another set of waterfalls. We climbed up to one side, ate some coconut, and were instructed to take our shoes off because it was going to get too slippery for shoes. Off the shoes went, and down the slope we went, only to climb up the other side. This climb was harder than any indoor rock-climbing place I have ever been too. Also, we didn’t have shoes, or chalky hands or ropes or gear at all for that matter… did I mention the rocks were wet? Anyway, at the summit of our heroic climb was a smaller waterfall, but one that we could all sit inside. The guide said the record was 13 people in the space that we squeezed into… we felt tight with only four people. The second guide “Fly” was posing above us. I think he thought we were doing a photo shoot for Playgirl. On our way down there came the point of the day where I realized that I had signed up for more than I was ready for. I thought to myself, at least if I die now, people will say, “He died doing something”. There were optional jumping points earlier in the hike. This one was not optional. We had all made jumps during the hike, but something about this one seemed more ominous. Perhaps it was our guide telling us, “If you don’t jump far enough to the left, you will break your legs on the river bed because it is too shallow in front and to the right”, that created the extra adrenaline rush….
Luckily, we all landed safely, and were happy to put our shoes back on at the other side. Our final destination was the mother of all waterfalls on this trip. Fly decided to jump from the top… more power to him. The guide estimated that the top of the falls was about fifty-five feet. The rest of us simply climbed into the waterfall and dove through it. In the end, we had an awesome day and were all happy to still be alive. We took a few hundred pictures and several movies. The next time I am in Apia, I will make sure I upload the movies to YouTube, so you can see all of our individual dives from various waterfalls. You can find my YouTube channel by going to http://www.youtube.com and searching for “cooter389”. It will list all of my videos first, and then my channel at the very bottom. Enjoy!
While the tourism office here in Samoa is extremely lame, there are some awesome things to do on the islands. This is one of them, but don’t tell anyone! They want to keep it word of mouth only!