Equinox in Ecuador: The Falls of Girón in Time for Fall

Sometimes even the best laid plans take sudden and unexpected twists—dragging mice and men, writers and non-writers alike along for the ride.

You see, I had hoped, this week, to post a piece about our 20-foot container’s arrival here in Ecuador—what amounted to triumph of the inter-continental shipping variety.

The container truck approaches our cul-de-sac (el returno).

The container truck approaches our cul-de-sac (el returno).

However, the blog gods let me know they had other compositional plans in mind, when our new friends Juan and David suggested we take a day-trip with them on Sunday.

Juan (L) and David (R)--We call them "the boys."  They call us, "the girls."

Juan (L) and David (R)–We call them “the boys.” They call us “the girls.”

We agreed to take a much-needed break from our unpacking and explore another Andean village.  But when the bus to Tarqui was late, we decided to hop one to Girón instead.

And this shift made all the difference.

We’d heard about Girón—about the waterfalls nearby, to be more specific.  But when we saw them for ourselves, I knew sharing our container story would have to be postponed another week.

Sure, the town was charming, but the waterfalls of Girón were downright stupendous.

Approaching the falls--(Kathy's photo)

Approaching the falls–(Kathy’s photo)

But before I talk about the falls, a bit of background is in order—

First, Girón proper, located just 44 kilometers or 25 miles (and a 45 minute bus ride) southwest of Cuenca, is a small town of fewer than 4 thousand people.  It’s nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains on all sides and boasts a beautifully manicured, central square.

The mountains surrounding Girón--(Kathy's photo)

The mountains surrounding Girón–(Kathy’s photo)

Girón's central square--(Sara's photo)

Girón’s central square–(Sara’s photo)

Kathy and David in the Girón town square--(Sara's photo)

Kathy and David in the Girón town square–(Sara’s photo)

Sara, Kathy, David, and Juan (L-R) in the square--(Thanks to Jack for snapping this photo.)

Sara, Kathy, David, and Juan (L-R) in the town square–(Thanks to Jack for snapping this photo.)

The larger canton (like a county in the US) of Girón has closer to 13,000 residents, most of whom are farmers.  But because it’s at an elevation of only around 7,000 feet, the town is warmer and drier than Cuenca.  Still, elevations throughout the canton vary to over 9,000 feet on the peaks surrounding the city.

Andean peaks overlooking Girón--(Sara's photo)

Andean peaks overlooking Girón–(Sara’s photo)

This peak towers over the town--(Kathy's photo)

This peak towers over the town–(Kathy’s photo)

If you go to Girón, you won’t want to miss the contemporary basilica finished in 1968 or the three-sided, stained-glass clock in the square—neither of which you’d expect in a town of cobble-stoned streets.

Basilica in Girón--(Sara's photo)

Basilica in Girón–(Sara’s photo)

Basilica doors in Girón--(sara's image)

Basilica doors in Girón–(Sara’s image)

Three-sided stained-glass clock--(Sara's image)

Three-sided, stained-glass clock–(Sara’s image)

One more shot of the clock--(Sara's photo)

One more shot of the clock–(Sara’s photo)

The fact remains, however, that although the town itself is lovely, the nearby waterfalls dwarf it in significance, as el Chorro de Girón is downright magnificent—offering towering torrents of water (even in the dry season),  one can hear from kilometers away.

David’s video of our arrival at the falls will help you hear the way the water thundered down the mountain.

We were stunned—in a good way!

I won’t go into the details of how to access the falls, about 3 miles from the town itself.  You can click here for that information.  I, more importantly, want to share our photos, as they communicate the sheer magnificence of the setting, in a way words cannot.

As usual Sara couldn’t help but take photos of us taking photos, as we first caught sight of the falls.

This time David, Juan, and I were her victims.  (Sara's photo)

This time David, Juan, and I were her victims. (Sara’s photo)


El Chorro del Girón--(Sara's photo)

El Chorro de Girón–(Sara’s photo)

The falls are over 200 feet high.  (Kathy's photo)

The falls are over 200 feet high. (Kathy’s photo)


Thundering even in the dry season--(sara's photo)

Thundering even in the dry season–(Sara’s photo)

The water was clean and clear, flowing from high in the Andes.  (Kathy's photo)

The water was clean and clear, flowing from high in the Andes. (Kathy’s photo)


Mist coming from the falls--(Kathy's photo)

Mist coming from the falls–(Kathy’s photo)

Stupendous--(Kathy's photo)

Stupendous–(Kathy’s photo)

I fell in love, not only with the water, but also with the light.  (Kathy's photo)

I fell in love, not only with the water, but also with the light. (Kathy’s photo)

The sign says the pool at the base of the falls is about 5 meters (15 feet) deep--(Kathy's image)

The sign says the pool at the base of the falls is about 5 meters (15 feet) deep–(Kathy’s image)

Knowing the depth was important, as this kid decided to jump (David’s video).

I love the photo of this family wading in the shallow water at the base of the falls.

The water was frigid.  These folks' feet had to be nearly frozen.

The water was frigid. These folks’ feet had to be frozen. (Sara’s photo)


I loved every minute of our visit. (Sara’s photo)

Sara loved it, too! (David's photo)

Sara loved it, too! (David’s photo)

On the ride  home, Sara and I remembered having visited the Inca ruins at  Ingapirca on the summer-winter solstice—depending on whether you’ve living in the northern or southern hemisphere— and realized an entire season had passed since then—that we had managed to make the trip to Girón on the weekend of the equinox.

The bus to Cuenca costs $1.  (Sara's photo)

The bus to Cuenca costs $1. (Sara’s photo)

We’d visited the falls (and our container, as well, had arrived) just in time for fall—a season we’d always associated with lost leaves and changing color.  Never mind we wouldn’t witness this here, near the equator.  Never mind that south of zero latitude it’s actually spring.

We’re still making the change in our own minds—learning a new approach to marking the passing seasons—a new language for naming them that comes merely with a shift in geography.  Fall is spring, and spring is fall—an intersection on the space/language continuum, a shifting center of linguistic gravity, I’d not noticed until now.

 Have you ever made a move that impacted the way you think about language?  When have your plans taken an unexpected twist that turned out all the better?  What natural wonder have you noticed most recently? 

91 thoughts on “Equinox in Ecuador: The Falls of Girón in Time for Fall

  1. Wow! What a perfectly great unexpected day 🙂 You can unpack any old time 🙂

    I love to take alternate routes, and I always stop for lunch at places I’ve never before been … fun, fun! Here in MI, I’m noticing the bright reds against a blue sky .. ahh!



    • Oh, yes, I miss the fall colors–especially against a blue sky. But, I suppose, we have our own natural beauty here in Ecuador, as well–the waterfalls being one of them. Great to hear from you, MJ. Thanks so much for reading.


  2. It looks like you girls and boys had fun! Your waterfall is huge–not just a baby waterfall like we visited last weekend. Thanks for sharing more of the beauty of the land, and your enthusiasm for it. Love, Kathy


  3. Okay. It seems you and Sara have encountered Heaven on Earth. What a beautiful place!…….I can’t imagine the seasonal shock you will encounter when you visit the U.S….. So glad that you two are making so many friends down there. They seem to be taking good care of you girls. Love you and Sara!


    • Yeah, it’s pretty heavenly around here. I must admit. I don’t know how we’ve lucked out so. And those falls are only 45 minutes away from Cuenca.

      Yeah, I think the season extremes will be hard to get used to when we visit–both the heat and the cold. But, yes, it’s fun making new friends, and it’s easy here. We run into the same people over and over again. And Juan and David are such fun. Juan is planning another trip for next Sunday, so stay tuned.

      We love you, too, dear Miranda. Hugs to you!


  4. I loved every bit of this: your random decision to switch destinations, your descriptions, the pictures and videos…all wonderful! Your posts have become good inspiration for honoring the changing seasons, whatever we call them. Thank you!


    • Thanks so much, Cindy. It’s interesting, as I’m not always the most flexible person. It’s not easy for me to change directions mid-course. But this one sure paid off. So glad to hear from you, and I’m happy you’re enjoying my Ecuador posts! Have a wonderful week!


  5. What a spectacular day. If you are trying to make me want to visit you sooner rather than later, you are succeeding Your questions are profound–I believe any time you open up to the possibility rather than the plan, you allow a new perspective. That’s part of the incredible journey. However, I missed fall when I couldn’t experience it. To me, a New England fall is a true natural wonder.


    • I think you’re right about New England falls. It doesn’t get any more “FALL” than that. So glad you enjoyed visiting the falls with us. Now, you are catching onto my motive. Get your butt down here asap. Our guest room is asking for you! LOL—–but I’m serious!


  6. My dear Kathy,

    Thank you for taking us south to Giron and bathing us with the towering torrents of the thundering waterfalls in the midst of the Andes mountains: worth one’s while. I believe the equinox in Ecuador, and everywhere, is significant; magical: I spent it continuing my love affair with, and staring stoically at, a hulking harvest moon rising largo from the fold of an aquamarine Atlantic ocean.




    • Now your equinox sounds pretty awesome, as well, Robert! LOVE your description of the moon, my friend. Sounds stunning.

      So glad you enjoyed this post. It was a fun trip. Plus, there’s another planned for this coming weekend. Yippee!

      Hope your week is going well!


  7. Surrounded by such gorgeousness! Such beautiful skies. It’s a painter’s and photographer’s paradise. And now your stuff has arrived. What could be better? Oh, I want some pics of the local meals. Loved the photos and thank you!


  8. It’s like a slice of heaven on earth! Loved the videos. So relaxing listening to the waterfall. Brave of that jumper, he must have been shivering the rest of the day. We still go into the ocean here in Maine even when it’s around 60 degrees. Granted, our legs are numb to the pain…


    • Yes, don’t know about the jumper, and actually there was another that followed. I’m just glad neither of them dove, as I’m sure the pool isn’t as deep during the dry season. Wouldn’t want any spinal cord injuries.

      60 degrees does sound cold–and I’m sure the water temperatures are even lower. Brrrrrrrrrr

      Great to hear from you, Darla. Thanks for stopping by. Hope school is going well!


  9. Thank you for sharing. It’s beautiful. Apparently between you and Kathy it’s waterfall week. There is nothing more majestic and powerful and still somehow soothing than a waterfall. I love them.


  10. Wow , Kathy what a wonderful and beautiful homage to Giron and so glad to have experienced it with you both. We are so blessed to live in a wonderful country as well as meeting such wonderful “girls” Can’t wait for our upcoming adventure to San Fernando! David and Juan


  11. We have a lot of impressive waterfalls around here, but I have to admit, yours are pretty fantastic, too. They seem considerably more accessible than ours, too – as far as people being able to wade in the shallow water beneath them. Looks like y’all had a perfect fall…err, SPRING day!


    • I thought the same thing about accessibility, when we first arrived at the site. There’s no one keeping folks away from the water or limiting ones ability to have an up-close experience–especially compared to what the situation would be in the US.

      Great to hear from you, Mark. I need to see your falls one of these days.


  12. I was going to ask if swimming was permitted! But if it’s as cold as you say, I think I’d keep my clothes on and appreciate it on dry land!

    What a beautiful place. I guess the wet season approaches for you? I confess, I don’t really know very much about the seasons in Ecuador.

    Still looking forward to hearing about the container 🙂


    • The rain should come in another month or two. I’ve not experienced its onset before, but I’m beginning to see a bit of a shift even this week. Or maybe our cloudier weather this week is just a fluke. We’ll have to wait and see. I’m still learning.

      I could see, however, how much higher the water would get during the rainy season.

      Great to hear from you today, and I’ll be sure to get a container post together, as well. Take care, my friend.


  13. Wow, wow and wow…it looks amazing. I was shivering watching that lad jump in though! You may have to start another blog just for your Adventures with David and Juan. They look so smiley, how could you not have dun with them? 😀


    • Interesting that you suggest a separate David and Juan blog, as Sara suggested something similar. They are fun–lost of fun. We go on another adventure Sunday, so we’ll see how that goes–maybe another David and Juan post will be in the works. Great to hear from you today. I’ll pass along your kind comments to the boys.


  14. The boys are cool. Tell them JK says “Hey!” The Falls make me want to take a shower. Do people bring soap? How about laundry? Thx to all who pointed their cameras at the best things.


    • I’ll be sure to pass along the love, JK. They are cool–though we don’t want them to know that. They might not want to hang with us uncool girls.

      No laundry or bathing being done in the falls. Too hard to tote it all up the mountain, I suppose.

      There are supposedly two larger waterfalls higher up the mountain that we didn’t visit, as it’s a couple hour hike uphill. We were told it’s not for the faint of heart. Gotta get in shape so we can do it.

      Great to hear from you!


  15. Stupendous is definitely the right word. The waterfall is stunning!
    I just love large looming mountains as well and the pics of the mountain peaks remind me of Peru, just a few months ago. Can’t wait to read about the next adventure…


  16. Of course I read this post when I urgently need to pee … I wholeheartedly agree with every superlative stated in earlier comments about the breathtaking pictures and videos of this slice of paradise. Thanks for sharing. When I saw that kid jump into the pool some New York-based language immediately came to mind: fuhgeddaboudit! My inner Einstein suspects he’s not on the fast track to joining Ecuador’s chapter of Mensa.


    • Okay, as usual, your comment made me laugh out loud! Sorry you had to pee. Hope you made it to the bathroom in time! And I can just hear a New Yorker’s exclamation about the kid jumping. Frankly, I was terrified he was going to get hurt, and then another kid did it, as well. Yeah, Mensa material he’s not! Great to hear from you, my friend. Hope your week is going well. Tomorrow is FRIDAY!


  17. I rather go to the falls than unpack. Your truck photo brought back memories of me standing outside waiting for my container to arrive in London from Boston. I had been living without furniture and sleeping on an air mattress for six weeks. Still I would have left the movers on the sidewalk to see the falls. There’s always another day to unpack. Fun happens today.


    • Interesting to hear you had a similar wait in London. It’s hard to live with nothing for a long time. We had a mattress on the floor for a long time, as well. (We will have been in Ecuador for 5 months next week.) Funny how you start to forget what you’d packed so long ago.

      But, yes, the falls were way better than unpacking!!!!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s wonderful to hear from you. What are you doing in London?


  18. I smiled during my entire reading of this blog, Kathryn! Thank you for sharing your beautiful part of the world with us. I especially loved Sara’s photo of the stained glass clock, (capturing the clock, the village and the mountains behind it), and all the pics of you both and your friends. And the waterfalls are stunning! Wow! Thanks again for getting me outta my tiny stinky little world for a few minutes! lol. Love to you both! xoJulia


    • I love hearing from you, Julia! I will tell Sara you enjoyed her clock photo. You’re right. It captured a lot in a single shot. I’m happy to help you escape for the everyday for a few minutes. Love to you, too, my friend–from both of us! Thanks for stopping by!


  19. I. WANT. TO. BE. THERE.
    I have never made a move where I had to worry about language. Yet. 😉
    These are fabulous Kathy. We got to see some wonderful falls this summer and I love a good fall. But these are stupendous.

    And I have to say, the world seems so much smaller with you there, bringing us all of the gorgeous world scenes.


    • I know how you feel, Colleen. It was such a gorgeous spot. We want to get in better shape, so we can do the 2 hour hike up the mountain to the two higher falls. They say it’s a strenuous climb. Always glad to make the world feel a little smaller for you! Hugs to you and David! Hope David’s brother is recovering.


  20. That waterfall is stunning, Kathy. Almost like it is posing for photos. I was wondering if you’d tried to go in the water but then you said how cold it was.
    The last time I went to see waterfalls was in Pennsylvania, near the Poconos. They were lovely, but nowhere near as high as the one in Giron.

    Will the weather change much now that you’re heading into spring? Or does it stay pretty similar all year long due to the elevation?


    • Thanks, Jackie. The falls were breathtaking. I was stunned. And they were huge. What’s interesting, however, is that we’re told there are two falls higher up the mountain that are larger. Hard to imagine. We didn’t go, as it’s a two-hour hike–pretty strenuous.

      The weather doesn’t change much, since we’re on the equator. However, we do have a dry and a rainy season. We should move into rain in another couple of months.

      So shall we plan a trip to Giron when you come?


    • Thanks so much, Kim! I’m so glad you enjoyed it all. I’ll let Sara know. It was an amazing day–with a couple of really fun guys. We have another trip planned for this coming weekend. Will keep you updated. Hug to you, my friend!


  21. Oh WOW! We recently moved to a place with many waterfalls and we’ve begun exploring them (one by kayak! Under, not over.) The photos are beautiful but seeing them is only part of the experience as you say. They also sound and smell and being by one is utter magical. It looks like you have a fantastic day!


    • Thanks for the comment, Nora. It was a fantastic day! I was so glad David shot the video, as the sound of the water is every bit as important as what we saw there. Glad you enjoyed your virtual visit. We had planned another trip for today, but damn, if I didn’t get sick! Oh well! Great to hear from you!


  22. Stunning. For these are days when each of us find in our hearts the release of our notions of days and take new meanings.

    I am so happy each time I see you in my in box, I know I will be happily surprised by your writing. Today was no different. The pictures, your descriptions and your adventure, your willingness to divert to adventures and share with all of us. I am so grateful. Thank you.

    Love and hugs from my mundane world – Val


    • Oh, Val, thank you for your precious comment. You have made my day. Actually, I don’t know that my world is all that different from yours–except for the fact that it’s not yours. Plus, I so often wish I could write fiction, like you do.

      It’s great to hear from you, my friend. Hugs and love to you, too! Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!


  23. Beautiful, beautiful, Kathy — beautiful falls, beautiful town. You all look so happy there. The waterfall reminds me of Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Valley. I was mesmerized by it, how the wind lifted it and shifted it, how full it was in the spring when the snow melted and how thin it was in the fall at the end of a hot, dry summer. Bridalveil always runs, though, because it is fed by a glacier, does not dry up in the summer like some falls in the area. Anyhow, I took photo after photo, like you and Sara; just couldn’t stop looking at it.

    Let’s see — an unexpected twist that turned out better — my book presentation on caregiving for a dementia patient (my mother), to be given at our local pharmacy, last Nov., in the back, where the benches and chairs were in the waiting area. All my friends came; they already knew my story, so they didn’t need my presentation. We sat and chatted for two hours while people waiting for prescriptions to be filled came, sat among us, joined in the conversation, and then left with their prescriptions. Couldn’t have worked out better. It was a wonderful time.

    And language shifts — only when conversing with native Spanish speakers, mostly Mexicans, here in the U.S., when suddenly you find you’ve traded languages. Funny.


    • Great comment, Samantha. Sorry it’s take me a couple of days to respond. I’ve been sick with a cold. Yuck!

      I’ve never been to Yosemite. Gosh, I’d love to though. I don’t know what feeds these falls. That would actually be interesting to know. I assume it’s not a glacier. It doesn’t get cold enough here for freezing. Still, it runs year-round. I thought the falls were amazing. It’s hard to imagine the power there must be behind them during the rainy season. Hard to imagine them being anymore dramatic.

      Your presentation sounds wonderful. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to care for someone with dementia–especially my mother. It must feel strange to see a parent transformed in that way. I wonder what little bits of the former self remain, even in the end.

      I love hearing from you, my friend. Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!


      • Kathy, I hope you are feeling better by now; what a shame to miss another day trip in such a beautiful place. Yes, Yosemite Valley is heaven on earth. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit there, more than once.

        As for caring for a parent with dementia, an adventure I basically fell backwards into, and my blog and books journal that time mostly as a how-not-to experience. It is difficult to watch for over a decade one once vital and talented slowly die, and say things to you such as, “I’ll have you fired!” Though traumatic at the moment, I could laugh about it later; my blog, suggested by a Hospice volunteer, the one who advised I use fake names, became my catharsis. Once I wrote about it, I let it go and forgot about it. My mother has been gone a year and a half now and I remember her as that vital, sweet woman who just got sick for a while.

        As for you question on my blog about Moriarty — I discovered that a number of people were reading my blog but not commenting. Therefore, I determined I has phantoms padding around in there, rummaging through all my stuff. They congealed into one Phantom, who later (in my “The Blue Deer” post) revealed his name to be Moriarty. His character has developed from there. I think my readers like him better than me. I am in the process of editing a book for publication called “The Phantom of My Blog,” excerpting just his stories from my blog. The title alone ought to generate interest. I do have a wild imagination. I like to keep him a bit mysterious, though. Thank you for coming by and commenting. I love comments.


      • So glad the hospice worker suggested a blog! Wow, now we all benefit–and look where it’s gone from its inception. That has to be painful to watch a parent decline like that, but thank God writing about it helped. I find that about so many things.

        About Moriarty–how funny how that character came to be. I suppose we all have readers who don’t comment. My Sara reads a lot, of blogs but would never think of commenting. I have no idea why.

        I still love the notion of a blue deer, as well. Somehow that seems so natural–in a weirdly unnatural way. Like, of course, deer SHOULD BE BLUE!

        Great to hear from you, Samantha. Hope your week is going well!


  24. I’m sure you’re much happier to have gone with your friends to see such a beautiful place. Such stunning waterfalls and beautiful architecture! There’s always another day for another blog post.


    • So true, Terri! I’m glad we didn’t miss this opportunity. However, we were supposed to have taken another trip today, and, darn, if I didn’t get sick. I’m not on my death bed, by any means, just experiencing the small misery that comes with a cold.

      Great to hear from you, my friend. Good luck with your project!


  25. Did you get wet? What great photos. Do you and Sara each have your own camera? If so, whose got the better one? The video was nice; didn’t expect the waterfall to sound so loud. Glad you’re enjoying yourself. Looks like there’s much to explore!


    • Glad you enjoyed the photos, Monica. We didn’t get wet exactly–just a bit damp from the mist coming off of the falls. Sara definitely has the better camera. Mine isn’t too bad, but not nearly as pricy or fancy as hers. I’ll tell David you enjoyed the video, as well. And happy birthday, as well, from last week. Hope you had a wonderful celebration!


    • Great to hear from you, Megan. Sorry you’ve missed out on natural beauty recently, but I bet you’ll see some incredible stuff in Australia. Hope you’ll blog about your trip. Bet you’ll be glad to see your boy friend! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’re having a wonderful week, my friend.


  26. One of the best parts of moving to an unfamiliar place is new friends and new sights …. and this is a great example. Although the falls were refreshing, a big thumbs up for me with the stained glass. Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by my posts during my break. Hi Kathy!


  27. Pingback: An Expat Experience of San Fernando, Ecuador (A Lesson about Abundance) | reinventing the event horizon

  28. Hi, Kathryn! We are new in Cuenca, Ecuador, a few days only. Could you recommend some interesting trip around here, please! I love reading your blog, seems to me you have a lot of fun around here. I also love to walk around here, what kind of lovely park or walk pass you would recommend ?
    Thank you in advents , Tatiana


    • Hi Tatiana, I’m happy to hear from you. You’re right. We love Cuenca. We have yet to find anything we don’t appreciate, and we’ve been here for 6 months now.

      First, let me say welcome. I hope you enjoy Ecuador as much as we do. Secondly, I would recommend something as simple as a walk along the Tomebamba River or something more, like a trip to the waterfalls at Giron. I cover both in the past several posts.

      This week, I’m writing about our trip to the Cajas, which you might also enjoy. It’s been my favorite place to visit so far.

      Great to hear from you. I hope you’ll stop by again soon!

      Oops, I didn’t realize this comment was on the Giron post. Sorry. You already know about that.


  29. I am captivated by that basilica and clock tower!! (I know I should be just as enraptured by the waterfalls, but for some reason, photos NEVER do nature justice. Architecture, on the other hand– wow!)


    • And we have some incredible architecture here in Cuenca, as well. In fact, the center of “el Centro” is designated an UNESCO world heritage site for it’s preserved colonial architecture. Gorgeous stuff, cobblestoned streets, also. I’m a sucker for the latter!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s