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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?