Argentina, Brazil, Destinations, Landscape Architecture, Photography

Would You Suspect a Waterfall?

April 16, 2012

To the north of Buenos Aires, an overnight bus ride away, Argentina meets Brazil. Or rather, waters divide land, marking separations which humankind is privileged to oblige on their maps of ink

Iguazu Falls; we follow the flow. At the precipice of earth and stone, poetry of water comes to life.

At home in Oregon, we live in a culture of water: Multnomah Falls, Punchbowl Falls, and the granddaddy circuit through Silver Creek Falls Sate Park. These are the iconic testaments to Pacific Northwest snow melt and rainfall.

Pioneers once navigated The Willamette River in patched-up covered wagons and mostly managed avoiding mishaps at the falls in Oregon City (did you know they’re second largest in the U.S.?). Planners today battle about the Columbia River Crossing and appropriate ways to span the wide flow that splits jobs and sales tax, workers and vehicles, Oregon and Washington.

Over the years, we’ve visited these waterways many times on our own and with visiting guests.

Nothing in Oregon could have prepared us for the experience of South America’s thundering falls. We’d compare them to Niagra, but we’ve never been (well, unless you count a TV visit to watch Jim and Pam get married).

This landmark (watermark?) is home to 150-275+/- waterfalls depending on the seasonal flow from the Iguazu River that runs an average of 1,750 cubic meters (462,301 gallons) per second.

The area, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts a rich biodiversity of plants and animals within its vast area of protected land and water, and thanks to parks on both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides, we spent two days visiting miles of trail snaking to, over, around, past, and through the white spray and arcing rainbows.

You might be wondering where the pictures are after all this talk?

Hold your horses!

Imagine the anticipation.

When we first arrived to the park on the Argentina side, we walked the paths, took a train through the jungle, then set out across boardwalks built above the deceptively calm river. The rising mist beyond the trees was the only hint at what was to come.

Ted ran ahead to the edge of the railing at the top of Devil’s Throat and then came back and stopped me. “Here, close your eyes,” he said, and then led me the last twenty steps.

I opened my eyes to majesty.

How great and mighty is the beauty of Creation. It stirs hearts to greater things.

Enjoy the following collection of photos from our two day visit to Iguazu Falls…

It’s amazing to think the falls used to be part of one family’s private estate. Can you imagine having this on the back forty?

Moving water has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river.
-Roderick Haig-Brown

The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.
-Saint Teresa of Avila

Emerald slopes became so tall they touched the clouds, and showers painted diamond waterfalls that sluiced down cliff sides.
-Victoria Kahler

Those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life.
-John Chapter Four verse Fourteen

Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined. Rivers course through my dreams, rivers cold and fast, rivers well-known and rivers nameless, rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys, narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows, rivers that have eroded down deep into a mountain’s belly, sculpted the land. Peeled back the planet’s history exposing the texture of time itself.
-Harry Middleton

Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous.

It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes.

And as the mirror changes with the colour of its subject, so it alters with the nature of the place, becoming noisome, laxative, astringent, sulfurous, salty, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat or slim.

Sometimes it starts a conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold, carries away or sets down, hollows out or builds up, tears or establishes, fills or empties, raises itself or burrows down, speeds or is still; is the cause at times of life or death, or increase or privation, nourishes at times and at others does the contrary; at times has a tang, at times is without savor, sometimes submerging the valleys with great floods.

In time and with water, everything changes.
-Leonardo da Vinci

We’re both pretty sure that whenever we next watch “UP,” we’ll be happily teary eyed at the memories from this magical place…

If you’re planning a visit to Igauzu Falls, check out our friends Gerard and Kieu‘s tips: Iguazu Falls: Brazil vs. Argentina.

For a tiny taste of falling water in Oregon, visit Silver Creek Falls State Park and take the trail down through misty cavern behind the South Falls.

P.S. This waterfall thing can be addicting. Ted’s now added Angel Falls to his list…

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Valynne Bernetich April 16, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Love this post…the photos and quotes…what a beautiful place. What a ride! Here’s to dreams coming true. xo from Oregon : )

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Valynne! Truly an amazing, amazing place, and what a gift to be able to see it in person. Hugs back to you : )

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica April 16, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I got to see Iguazu in 2009. And that experience really does make the movie UP that much more special.

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Exactly : )

  • Reply Paula April 16, 2012 at 6:43 am

    it is always difficult to comment such splendor!

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      But I’m so glad you do, and so glad that you enjoy following along : ) Hugs to you! (Guess who’s in Italy now, by the way??)

  • Reply Kim April 16, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Amazing! Amazing! I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, as always, beautiful photos!

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks, dear! Yes – it is so stunning. Absolutely more than we could even take in. Wait ’til you’re standing there, overwhelmed and in awe. You’ll love it!!!

  • Reply Andrew Buck April 16, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I don’t want to be that person that is all, “I’ve loved waterfalls all along!!” while it looks like I’m really just jumping on the bandwagon… (Joel), but I really *have* loved waterfalls for quite some time or at least have always had a decent appreciation for them. That being said, this was one of my favorite posts for writing and pictures both. Your photos are breathtaking and your descriptions and personal insight complete the experience. : )

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      (Ha.) You make me laugh so much, Drew. I’m just wondering…how many waterfalls does Texas boast?

  • Reply Cindy Buck April 16, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Bethany your pictures and prose are at once breathtaking and pleasantly soothing to my soul. My throat caught and my eyes welled up. I am so happy for you and yet miss you so much. <3

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Love and miss you, too! I felt the same, looking at the photos from the wedding last weekend : ) I’m so glad we can keep in touch, even though we’re all spread so far and wide… Big hugs xoxo

  • Reply Toni April 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Wow! Where’s the one of Bethany bathing under the waterfall?

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Now I can’t even remember which of the 275 falls it was! ; ) Isn’t it magnificent? The platforms are built so near the falls that you can walk up and just stand in the cool spray… Unforgettable.

  • Reply Jenna Osborne April 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Positively breathtaking! Lovely post- thank you so much! I could almost feel the spray on my face and the rumble of the tons of water under my feet.

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      : ) I’m so glad to hear it! It’s almost impossible to do the place justice with words… Will you be going coming this far north on your great South American adventure??

  • Reply twoOregonians in Rio | twoOregonians April 18, 2012 at 11:51 am

    […] Post navigation ← Previous […]

  • Reply Claudia Looi April 19, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Nature’s work of art. Amazing natural beauty. The wondes of traveling around the world. Love this post.

    • Reply twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you, Claudia. I’m so glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply Gerard ~ GQ trippin April 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for the mention you guys! Looks like your day was simply beautiful. Where you off to next?

    • Reply twoOregonians April 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

      It really was : ) We’re in the Mediterranean for the next few months – Italy now, Lebanon by June. Still piecing together the adventures in between and working on getting through the amazing stack of pictures and stories we have yet to share from the Transatlantic cruise and our two weeks in Spain. Oi! What a year : ) How about you two?

  • Reply Anita April 28, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Simply STUNNING!

    • Reply twoOregonians April 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

      Thank you so much, Anita!

  • Reply Pablo April 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I’m so happy that you guys enjoyed the Cataratas do Iguaçu! It’s a beautiful place, full of life and wonder!

  • Reply Capture the Colour - twoOregonians September 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    […] Emerald Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil This tuft of green is a hidden gem: an emerald easily overlooked in the larger land and waterscape of Iguazu Falls. It reminds me of the value of the natural world at scales large and small. […]

  • Reply A Baby and a Border Crossing - twoOregonianstwoOregonians August 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    […] Back and forth, both sides of waterfalls between Argentina and Brazil. […]

  • What say you?