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  • To get to the waterfall, we had to hike a treacherous one-mile trail (or lack there of) through the jungle alongside a stream that wavered back and forth between languid and rambunctious. The entrance to the jungle seemed idyllic enough with the stream gently rounding the bend in the distance and the George-of-the-Jungle rope vines drooping down and over the branches like a countless number of spaghetti strings.

    The first quarter mile teased us with its tamed path. Many travelers like myself, dressed only in flimsy shoes and a swimsuit, had come through this way, confident and eager, bending back branches that had imposed upon them. We glanced up through an opening in the jungle to see our destination, a waterfall careening off a cliff fourteen hundred feet up in the air.

    Gradually, I began to look down more and more for I had to pay attention to my feet and watch as they stepped over branches and between rocks. My camera sat heavy around my neck and poked me in the stomach and less occasionally but with the clearest of announcements onto my hipbone.

    When we reached a lagoon or at least a part of the stream that had collected behind a dam of variously sized boulders, a few of our group stayed behind because the ensuing three-quarters of a mile would require that we wade through shoulder-deep water, climb over slick rocks as big as small cars, and trespass through a taro plantation. Shhh!

    The trail, we would soon learn, was about to step it up a notch. A great big one.
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