Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Other People's Vacation Pics ~ Going Home


Stepping out onto the porch, I saw THIS!
Staying in a B&B with friends in other parts of the island is something we thoroughly enjoy.  But, we also love having guests in our own home!  There are so many things within day-trip distance of our place, and it's fun to just share our resort condo!  So... it's time for us to pack up and head across the island to our neck of the woods!

But first, Coffee!!  And with coffee, comes this stunning moonlit walk on the beach all by myself!  Staying up to see the Supermoon last night wasn't an option due to cloud cover.  But since we get up early, we got a pleasant surprise!  I didn't miss it at all!  In fact, seeing it reflecting on the waves with nothing but sand, palm trees and the distant  looming shadow of Isla Desecheo was the preferred view for sure!  

You have no idea how difficult it was to pare my photo choices down to just these... 

First we'll ease into it with a pre-dawn sunrise view...

I've gotta tell you... being out there in the gentle breeze, alternating warm and cool from the land and the sea, touching my cheeks... The powerful Atlantic ocean bowing at my feet with gentle bubbles sinking into the warm sand. I can close my eyes and feel how close I am to the waves with my bare feet by the difference in temperature.  Warm where the water has been, and cool where only the night air touches the sand. Being out there was like pushing a reset button on my soul!  We really must get out and see the moon more often.  It is one of the things we miss about living on the boat.  It was so much easier to be one with the universe when you float around on the water...  but I digress! The moon eventually slipped below the horizon, and the sun ushered in the new day!

One more, then I'm done!

Our host arrived with pastries from a favorite panaderia, and we had a nice chat with him.  We did our pre-departure chores, and packed up and off we went to see another of my favorite places on the island... La Soplaera Falls.  We have been to this place maybe a dozen times, and it's always a little different, yet very much the same magical place we love.  Today, it was just about perfect!  The water was flowing nicely, but not too much so that getting to the pool was relatively easy.  You still have to walk across the narrow walls, and slog through some rushing water and duck between some big boulders... But it's all good and the reward is having this serene little bit of paradise all to yourself!! (well, most of the time)

The walkway leads to the rocky river bed.  Walk along the narrow cement wall on the right...

Looking downriver, the boulders continue!

Getting here provides you with just enough eminent danger to make you feel like you've really accomplished something, but not enough to warrant a trip to the ER!  Who doesn't need that kind of boost in their lives???  Then the pool lies at your feet, with the falls rushing relentlessly on, causing the air to stir in the most delightful way... La Soplaera!

The water was cold, so we didn't swim, but we enjoyed the fresh breeze and the view! Making our way back downriver toward the car, the sound of the falls receded, but it was replaced by the birdsong as we passed below the tree canopy.  These birds had no fear, so our presence didn't stop the loud chirping one bit...

The last bit of treachery is stepping across the rushing water to get to the wall...

Seed pod from the Cupey or Wild-Mamee

We stopped in a little bakery for sandwiches on the way to our final destination before home... then on to the Aguas Termales de Coamo to soak our tired and battered bodies in the healing mineral springs.  Ahhh... I would say this is about the most perfect ending to any adventure!

Soak those tired dogies!

Just Chillin' in the hot springs!

We have come to fly like birds to swim like fish ... Now we must learn to ... live together as brothers.

I love this island!  And I love showing my friends the wonderful life we've made here.  We made the short drive to our house, where we all relaxed and settled in for a few more days of whatever our guests wanted...  It is nice to travel, but it's nice to be home too!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Other People's Vacation Pics ~ Gozlandia

Today my agenda had only one item.  Gozlandia waterfall has been on my bucket list for ages... I've looked for information about it, and let's just say that it falls under the rule: If you can't find much information about getting there, it's probably obvious!  It was only about 45 minutes from our B&B, so we spent the morning relaxing over coffee, and enjoying the beach right in front of us! 

Seriously, what a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean we've got!  I just can't get enough of it!  I took my coffee to the deck over the beach cliff in the neighbor's yard, and just sat and let my senses drink it in.  The colors of the Atlantic in the sunrise were exquisite as the waves advanced in rows, breaking on the rocky bank. Wonder if there's any sea glass down there now...

When the others were up and coffee time was over, we had our breakfast and then we all went down for a beach walk.  We walked all the way down past the small river mouth to the west before turning back.  We were in no hurry, but it was still noon by the time we got back to the house!  Where does the time go when you're wandering the beach???

Seaweed floating in the tide pools

Bruce waiting patiently for me to catch up

Cheri and Alan WAY ahead, looking for treasures!

The river mouth

There were patches of black sand.  
Back at the B&B, we loaded up and took off into the mountains to find these infamous falls I've heard so much about.  We stopped for some fried chicken on the way, and wouldn't you know it... a steady rain began to fall!  We just can not get a break with these afternoon rains.  I really think it's a daily thing on this part of the island!

When we arrived at the parking area for Cascada Gozlandia, it was indeed obvious.  The drive in was a little steep, but it wasn't a problem for our AWD Honda! The parking area is huge, and there is an attendant that takes the $10 per car fee.  While most attractions in Puerto Rico are free, this one is not.  But after seeing all the infrastructure that has been built to give easy access to the river, we would have happily paid more!

It was still raining when we arrived, so we sat in the car and had our picnic while watching other patrons jump into their cars and speed away.  This turned out to be a great thing for us, because by the time we were done eating, the sun was beginning to shine again, AND most of the people had left! 

We set off through then entrance and took the first stairway downward that we came to. 

There are very nice walkways through the forest and alongside the river. 

Rough cement pathways and stairs with wooden handrails take you all the way down.

And it is a LONG way down!

We could hear the falls from the beginning of the path.  Just about the time we began to worry if we would be able to make the climb back up, we reached the viewing platform just above the largest falls.

We made the last descent to the river bed and found ourselves on a vast rocky shelf between the pool below the falls, and the next little drop as the river continues on its way.

There were only a few people left here and we found ourselves a rocky ledge to the right of the wall where we could sit with out feet in the water. Kids were having a blast playing in the cold water!  Bruce did a bit of swimming, and while I did get in the water, I didn't make it past my boobs!  It was enough just saying I did!

We chilled there for a while, watching the happy families and just gazing in wonder at these amazing falls, then we decided to move on.  Not really knowing what else there was, we took the other stairway up from the rocky part of the river.  The climb seemed much less steep, and it was a new view... We stopped along the way to enjoy the natural surroundings and forest creatures.


When we reached the top of the stairway, we had come full loop.  But the trail continued on.  Let's just go see where this leads! We followed the cement trail alongside the river as it went up and up, punctuated by small falls and picturesque pools.

It seems like there's always a rock cairn...  But it is still a peaceful moment of zen!  We just could not believe how beautiful this place is!  And there were very few people here on a Monday!  We could have spent hours just sitting in the water in the various pools... but we were on a mission to see what else there was just around the bend!  

Newly fallen African Tulips

As we climbed almost imperceptibly higher, we came to a point where the trail led more sharply up, and away from the river.  Off we went, hearing rushing water and voices in the distance... We were rewarded for our perseverance with yet another idyllic scene!

Another beautiful waterfall cascaded down from the top of what looks like a caved-in cavern.  The pool below was contained on the far side by a deeply carved wall with an overhang, topped by roots trailing downward. 

It was just gorgeous!  I don't know if it's possible to go further upstream, but we turned back from this point.  

Roots growing aboveground.

Just WOW!  I'm kicking myself for not having made more of an effort to come here before now.  This place is simply amazing, and it has moved to the top of my list of things to do here in Puerto Rico!  The walk in the forest is an opportunity to connect with nature, and to see marvelous flora and fauna up close and personal.

We followed the trail back to the car and set off for our B&B.  Of course it began to rain again, and when we arrived back at our beach, the setting sun behind a veil of rain provided yet another photo opportunity!  The ever-changing faces of our Puerto Rican beaches never cease to thrill! 

This concludes the last day of our time here in Aguada.  Bryan's B&B is the perfect place to get away to this side of the island.  It is close to SO many things, and we barely scratched the surface because of the rainy afternoons.  Tomorrow, we head for our place, so stay tuned for one more day of fun stuff!

Sunset through a veil of light rain.