Our week continues with more of our time lost in the magnificent canyons.
Our cozy stay in the pousada gave us a great start to see an extension of the Parque Nacional de Aparados da Serra called the Parque Nacional da Serra Geral and specifically the Canion da Fortaleza. Like the Canion Itaimbezinho, the Canion da Fortaleza has stunning drops of over 900 meters (about 3000 feet) and its length is about 8 kilometers (approximately 5 miles). Once again, stepping into this area was almost an other-worldly experience.
As we seemed to run out of "trail", we decided to find our own way across the plateau and wander along the cliffs. We saw a variety of birds that make their homes within the cliff faces and watched them catch the thermals as their flights were virtually wingless.
It was great to be in a National Park wherein you see more of the inhabitants that people. There were, however, two residents eyeing us rather intently and seemingly trying to encourage us to get a little closer to the edge.
We trodded along for quite a while because there were just so many view points in which to take advantage. Other than following Gerson through the proverbial marshland (shortcut!), the adventure was without incident and very extraordinary.
Following this jaunt, it was off to another part of the canyons to wander around the Cachoeira do Tigre Preto (Black Tiger waterfall) and find our way over to the Pedra de Secreto (Secret Stone).
We walked along a clear river only to come to an abrupt halt with our toes dangling precariously over the edge of a large waterfall. Again, no safety rails, no posted guards, just you, the waterfall and your common sense (as in do not be stupid).
In order to get to the across the river, you have to use the rocks along the lip of the fall as stepping stones. Needless to say, we took our carefulness very seriously and had no mishaps. The Tigre Preto falls are actually like two falls as one goes over the edge of the rocks and other water pours through a cleavage at the edge, exiting in lower places in the cliff.
After climbing across the waterfall, we made our way to another outcropping of rock for a great view of the falls. Between the falls and the Pinheiro trees, we had plenty to keep our eyes and cameras busy.
We continued on to reach the beginning of the canyon
(yes, even canyons have a beginning and an end) and then onto where Gerson was
clamoring to see. There is this large rock formation (Pedra do Segredo or
Secret Stone) that juts out of the
cliffs and we were determined to find the path down the 75+ feet canyon wall to get to this
We found other waterfalls along the way and took our time peeking out over the ledges and cliffs. There was such a freedom to experience this openly and I hope Brasil does not get too "liability conscious" and start to fence off these areas.
Our drive home was wonderfully scenic and we often felt we had taken a wrong turn and ended up in Ireland. But then, we would cross a rather dodgy bridge and we knew we were right back in Brasil.
We wound on down the curvaceous road and we were blessed with the sights of breathtaking landscapes.
Just before we were to creep down a nail-biter road built somewhat precariously along the steep mountain face, we stopped off at a small market that sells rather enviable salami and delicious cheese. Of course, Gerson had to play with his salami before we left.
One thing about this time of year in these higher parts of Brasil is the blooming of the Hortencias (or as we know them, Hydrangeas). It is one thing to see them as a small clump in someone's garden, it is an entirely different experience to see them covering entire hillsides, backyards, etc. with blooms that can get as big as1 to 2 feet in diameter. This page would be incomplete without including some of the pictures of these stunning roadside displays.
Our return from the mountains took us back to Camboriu where we once again, met up with Gabriel and his family. The skies were blue, the water was turquoise, the boat was ready and we were more than willing. We attempted to anchor just off a beach around a point but unfortunately, the winds were coming in such a direction that we just could not get a secure hold with the boat. So, our plan B turned us back to our favorite watering hole, the floating bar, Caixa D'aco.
After our respite at the bar, we cruised over to a little beach on the Island of Porto Belo and just lazed in the shade. A great way to wind down a tough day on the ocean.
Wow! What a fantastic week we had! From the ocean to the mountains, from family to friends, from green landscapes to turquoise waters - we had such an outstanding time. We are already talking about when we will go back to the canyons. Looks like another webpage in the making.