Today was a day of adventures. We arrived at Parque Nacional do Iguaçu (Brazil side) around 9:00 AM by taxi. While we were under the impression that we could take a bus to the park, apparently the buses have an extremely light schedule on weekends (i.e. almost non-existent), so a taxi was our only option.
We arrived at the park only to see a line stretching far beyond the designated line maze. After waiting for only a few minutes, we were lucky enough to be approached by someone working at the park asking if we had purchased tickets yet. Since we thought we were already in line for tickets, we ended up splitting up. Eric went to a different lengthy line and I stayed put. After a good 40 minutes, Eric purchased the tickets and joined me in my line, which turned out to be the line for the park bus, which we needed to get to our first stop in the park.
After spending about an hour in line, we finally got to a point where they split the line – most people were shuffled into the “buy tickets” line and we went through to the bus line. It’s a good thing we were warned early about buying tickets because we still had 20 or so minutes left before we boarded the double-decker bus and our line paled in comparison to theirs.
There are numerous stops along the bus line offering different activities and scenic lookouts. We stopped at the second of eight stops along the route, which was the “Field of Challenges” and included a canopy tour, climbing, and rappelling. We were hooked into our gear (without signing any waivers) and our balance was tested on a low hanging log, a single metal cable, and flat cable ladder. I guess we “passed” because we were guided up a winding staircase to the tree-line to begin the climbing and canopy tour. Picture a complicated adventure course that is extremely high off the ground that gives you a tour of the forest while testing your balance and willingness to walk across thin, shaky cables and logs. Throw in some rock climbing, cargo rope climbing, and a zip-line and you might have an accurate image of the first 1-2 hours of our tour. They threw in a surprise climb following the zip-line in which we climbed a shaky pole that resembled a telephone pole, only to pause at the top on a tiny platform that resembled the head of a tennis racquet in both size and shape. We were then asked to jump from the tiny platform to a hanging trapeze and hang out there for a bit before “repelling” to the ground.
We spent a few minutes playing on the rock climbing wall to unwind before heading to the next section of the adventure: the real rappelling. We walked from the challenge course through a trail in the forest to a platform that is kind of like a metal city fire escape – we could see straight through the slats as we walked about 20 yards out to the edge of the platform. We were hooked into our gear and they explained how to work the rope line, since we controlled our own speed and we had to make sure we didn’t burn our faces on one of the metal connections. Just before we left the platform, we were told that the platform was 55 meters high. FIFTY-FIVE METERS HIGH! That is REALLY high, particularly when you have to lean off of the platform and trust that a little rope will hold you all the way down. I was terrified to let go of the platform, which I was trying to hold onto with my feet after I leaned out and was just hanging 55 meters in the air. Eric seemed fine, although that may have been just for my benefit. We actually went down side-by-side on two separate lines. The views from the platform and on the way down were incredible. We overlooked the falls the entire way and it was beautiful.
Once we reached the bottom, removed our gear, and stopped shaking from fear and adrenalin, we had to walk all the way back up to the platform via winding metal stairs and mini platforms to get our belongings. We then followed a different path along the waterfalls to Devil’s Throat, which is a 90 meter high section of the falls. Standing alongside the falls soaked everyone just from the mist (people can’t stand under the falls – they’re too strong).
We finished up our day with a late lunch alongside the falls before returning to the entrance of the park around 6:00 PM – just in time for the park to close. What an incredibly challenging and rewarding (and exhausting) adventure!
Originally posted on October 10, 2011 on MicheleAndEricGetMarried.com.