A recap on one of my most memorable days I’d ever spent traveling…
Where on Earth Am I ?
I awoke at roughly 6am. It was cold and deathly quiet. At first glance, I had no idea where I was… Until, oh yeah, I was in a modified mobile home that was somehow recreated into a makeshift hotel for the night! Awesome…
Seems this was all we could find last night as we rolled into this one horse town, population 299! (and I’m pretty sure that number includes cats and dogs)
Remembering how wild our surroundings were before the sun had set the day before, I immediately threw on some clothes and ran outside.
With some boulders to climb just outside our door, I scrambled up them and witnessed one of the most amazing sunrises I’d ever seen this side of the hemisphere…
There were colors ablaze in the distance.
Yellows and oranges were streaking across the horizon as the sun broke through, ready to warm the freezing air surrounding me.
And as it shone its light across the landscape in front of me, it reminded me of what a strange and unusual place I was in.
Geological features abound, silhouettes of craters and molten rock, smoke rising both near and far…
Where on Earth Am I?
Darting back in to make an unfortunately terrible freeze-dried cup of coffee, one could only hope for a little cream or sugar! I guess wildly remote destinations wouldn’t seem exotic if they had fresh ground coffee now would they?
Anyway… as soon as we were done drinking, we were on our way!
First stop, mother nature’s black sand crater just a short drive away.
Measuring a full kilometer in diameter and almost 1400 feet tall, Oh how magical it looked from far away yet so large and domineering the closer we drove to it.
What we thought would be a quick ten minute hike turned into the better part of an hour as we trudged upward on its sandy cone shaped walls.
And if you have never hiked up a crater, just imagine how difficult it is to hike up a sand dune… now multiply that difficulty ten fold!
However, once we made it to the top, we realized just how amazing our surroundings really were!
Panoramic vistas abound – we had unobstructed 360 degree views and the landscape – was – simply – breathtaking.
Where on Earth Am I!!
Running back down this mystical formation, we hopped back in our range roving vehicle and were soon off but we didn’t really make it that far…
We quickly found another one of nature’s most interesting formations… a rocky outcropping near the road that seemed to have formed multiple caves.
Being a bit curious, upon closer inspection when we entered one of the caves, we came upon a pool of turquoise blue waters filling the void at the bottom. How very strange yet so amazing…
Seems this was the perfect spot for a dip in the waters – mother nature’s own grotto. And it seems we weren’t the first explorers here from the writing on the cave walls.
What an otherworldly place… Where on Earth Am I???
And not too far down the road that paralleled this geological phenomenon was a string of huge molten rocks piled up on one another that ran for miles and miles.
So strange yet so intriguing. I just had to have a closer look!
We hopped out and started climbing our way to the top.
And as soon as we reached it, all we seemed to want to do at that point was stare down at our feet and try to figure out how this surface of rock came to be.
The entire area seemed so unreal.
In fact, it strangely looked as if this area was once a highway that had somehow turned over onto itself in somebizarre earthquake.
And looking down through the cracks and fractures of the rock, I realized just how dangerous and desolate this area was to be walking….
Down below my feet, wedged in the crevasse beneath was a huge pile of bones locked in place… I’d say the last thing you want to do is end up falling into one of these voids!
Where – on Earth – Am I?!?
It was time to move on.. we eagerly jumped back into our Blue, beat up, dust covered pathfinding machine and pressed north.
Only instead of taking the main road, we decided our next destination commanded use of a short cut.
However what we thought was going to save us a thirty minute drive ending up adding an extra hour to our trip.
The side road we took had quickly turned into a 4 wheeling adventure that kept us creeping along at a max … 10mph. Yep, 10 mph.
So what should have saved us ample time was now costing us dearly!
There were more obstacles on this road ready to pop our tires and enough bumps, holes and rocky terrain that we’d wished we padded the ceiling of our vehicle with Charmin.
We were bouncing around inside like a couple of ping pong balls, rocks were kicking up outside on our left and right and our rearview was useless, nothing but 20 foot hight dust cloud left in our wake.
Seems this was no land rover in any sense of the word!
Where on earth am I?
Fast forward an hour later and we’d arrived… It was now time to hike.
With camera equipment in tow, we started our descent down into a canyon to stand witness to the most powerful waterfall on this continent.
And from nearly a half mile away from where we stood, the noise emanating from this area proved the immenseness of what we were about to experience.
And unlike most waterfalls in which you stand at the bottom, this one gave opportunity to stand up close and personal right at the crest of the falls (the point at which anything in its path had no choice but to take its 148 foot fall.)
Though it wasn’t its height that gave this waterfall it’s stamp as one of the world’s most powerful… it was the sheer volume of water – 193 cubic meters of water which dumped over the edge every SECOND.
When you conjure an image of water in your mind’s eye, you never imagine it as being loud but this was sure the loudest I’d ever heard water produce a noise in all my years.
Standing just a few feet next to the falls, it was as if the earth beneath my feet were to give away at any moment as you could literally feel the ground shake beneath your feet.
And you had to shout to those next to you just to pitch your voice above the thundering falls.
But what could be more spectacular than the experience we had standing there…
The spray that was coming off this falls had combined with the sun rays off to our right to produce the biggest and most unique double rainbow I’d ever seen.
Where on Earth AM I?
Hiking back up and out of the canyon, I couldn’t imagine this day getting any more spectacular. Only … it did…
We pushed what now seemed our martian rover ever further north on this dusty decrepit beat up road only to realize it was a near martian landscape we were soon driving through.
Rolling hills of mini craters, red sand and rock and not a sign of vegetation in sight for as far as the eye could see.
It truly felt we were driving a rover on the first mission to mars.
And then, up ahead,… a turn off. Where does this one go?
Feeling fully explorative, we took that side road only to arrive at the most breathtaking sight I’d ever experienced up to that point in my life.
Getting out of the vehicle I walked just 50 feet to what seemed the edge of world.
Looking out, what did I see?
The sky, dotted with streaking white clouds off to my left and in the furthest distance I could see, the land remained relatively flat though in the foreground, it was another sight to see.
As that most powerful waterfall had been doing its work mere miles from this point over the past hundreds of years, it seems it carved out of earth the most magical geological features one could ever put their eyes on.
If there was ever a good opportunity to throw a rock into a void in the earth, this was it…
Stretched out below me was a canyon that seemed to dwarf that of the one we call ‘Grand’ back home.
And within it, multi-colored rocks and waterfalls filled the space below while layer upon layer of geologic formations carried up the canyon walls.
It was very easily decided that this, for me… was the most magical place on earth as well as a nearly perfect end to one of the most memorable days I’ve ever spent traveling.
So I ask you.. Where on Earth Am I?
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