Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mount Damper Falls, New Zealand

Image from pinimage

Located in the Waitaanga Conservation Area, this waterfall is 74 metres high and can be viewed from two lookout platforms.

Because the access track crosses farmland, no dogs are allowed. The area is located on New Zealand's North Island and can be approached from the Forgotten World Highway.

The Taranaki area was formed by slippage  between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. This area is one of New Zealand's most active volcanic regions. However Mount Taranaki (aka Mount Egmont) is now extinct.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Horsetail Fire Falls, Yosemite

Image from staticflickr

Is is a volcanic firefall? No, just a natural waterfall, lit in a spectacular fashion by a certain angle of the setting sun.

For a few weeks in late February, this is what the mountain shoulder of El Capitan looks like each evening. Lit at just the right angle by the westering sun, the falls takes on brilliant hues of red, orange and yellow.

Hoping for plentiful water flow and good weather conditions, photographers come to Yosemite in California from afar to get pictures of this fascinating natural phenomenon.

This mountain is also a destination for rock climbers. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shir Abad Waterfall in Iran

Image from flickr

This delightful waterfall drops from Alborz Mountain, located near the town of Khanbebin in Golestan, a northern province of Iran. 

The falls consists of a series of steps, a dozen each of large and small cascades that drop 30 metres into a deep azure blue lake.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Geli Ali Bag Waterfall in Iraq

Image from wikimedia commons

Geli Ali Bag Waterfall is located in the province of Erbil, in a rocky northerm area of Iraq.

This waterfall is bordered by two mountain ranges and can be approached for viewing in the small boats provided for visitors.

This site in the Iraqi Kurdistan region is a popular tourist resort.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Frozen waterfall on Lake Superior

Image from lovethesepics

It is an uncommon occurrence for Lake Superior to freeze solid, but it did happen in February of 2014 when this photo was taken.

In the Wisconsin park Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the caves were transformed into frozen cascades. Naturally lots of people came to walk on the frozen lake.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Trou de fer on Reunion Island

Image from Monday Dreaming Waterfalls

The World Waterfall Database describes the Trou de fer on Reunion Island off Madagascar as a "series of leaps into a huge slot canyon."

The series of horsetail leaps into the canyon total about 305 m, and then the water completes its plunge by descending 24 m into the trou de fer, the so-called iron hole seen on the bottom left in the picture.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

New Zealand Christmas tree

Image from bushmansfriend

Those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, say Australia or New Zealand, are experiencing high summer now. This is what the term Christmas tree means to them. For you scientific types, the botanical alias is Metrosederos excelsa Pohutukawa.

Happy Christmas to all those Down Under, below the equator, and to all of us in the Northern Latitudes too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Angel Falls, Venezuela

Image from the geographical empanandas

Angel Falls, El Salto Angel, is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. Located in Cainama National Park and best viewed from the air, it drops 979 metres from Auyan-Tepui, Devil's Mountain, which, in spite of its name is really a plateau. 

This spectacular cascade occurs on the Churun River, which joins the Caroni, a tributary of the Orinoco, where it flows into a silt-laden mangrove swamp.

Some consider this remarkable torrent of water a planetary gate, energy vortex, or chakra of the earth itself.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Manthoka Waterfall, Pakistan

Image from

This falls is located near Skardu, Madapur, in Gilgit-Baltistan, the meeting point of three great mountain ranges, the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush, and the Himalayas. The name of the latter range is a Sanskrit word meaning abode of snow. Surrounded by gorgeous mountains views, this waterfall is known to tourists as a good place for fishing and camping.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Uluru Falls, Australia

Image from photoz

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is sacred to the Anangu, the aboriginal people of the region. This marvelous red sandstone bump rises 348 m above the hot red desert of the Northern Territory in Central Australia. Its circumference is over nine kilometers.

Though this weird rock is normally dry and the climate around it arid, occasional rainstorms cause water to cascade down the sides.

After receiving only 6.1 inches of rain in all of 2009, in the fall of 2010, Uluru National Park was struck by a rare thunderstorm that dropped 2.8 inches of rain at one go, causing impromptu waterfalls to drop down all sides of the rock, as seen in the Mail Online here.

According to Bridget Neilsen, Uluru represents the root chakra of the earth itself, although others say that Mr. Shasta, California represents the root. Nielsen's idea accords with the aboriginal view that humans originated from this rock. Other energy theorists associate Uluru with the third or solar plexus chakra.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dudsghar Falls, India

Image from goahotelsdeals

This waterfall in Goa can be viewed from the railway train that crosses the gorge. Below, the falls is seen swelled by monsoons. bcmtouring

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Eas a'Chual Aluinn

Image from walkinghighlands

Located near Lochinvar in southwestern Scotland and sometimes called Eas Coul Aulin, this is Britain's highest waterfall. It drops from a high plateau and falls two hundred meters in two steps to Lake Glencoul, where there are lake cruises that show off the falls. According to David Ross, hikers who use the trails should be sure to have maps to avoid getting lost.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Water overflows Band-e-Amir Lake, Afghanistan

Image from worldtoptop

The unique geography of this region of Afghanistan includes this blue lake -- a bowl shaped vessel, overflowing with tiny waterfalls.

Located in Band-e-amir Lakes National Park, this is one of six lakes of astonishingly blue coloration. Each is surrounded by weird and wonderful geographical formations.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Urubamba Waterfall in Peru

Image from travelization

This waterfall drops into the Pongo de Mainique, a canyon located near Cusco in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. A tributary of the Amazon, the Urubamba is a dangerous whitewater river. It is crossed by the Inca Bridge, an ancient and secret entrance to Machu Picchu.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cheonjeyeyon and Jeongbang Falls, Korea

Left: Image from korea.adoption

Cheonjeyeyon and Jeongbang waterfalls are located on the volcanic Korean island of Jeju.

Below: According to Tommy Ooi, Jeongbang is the only waterfall in Asia to drop directly into the ocean.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baatara Gorge Falls, Lebanon

Image from worldtoptop

Fed by meltwater from Mount Lebanon, the Jurassic period limestone has eroded into a series of caves with three natural bridges. Thus the Baatara Gorge falls is sometimes called the Three Bridge Chasm.

In 1988, fluorescent dye was used to determine where the water goes. It was discovered that it emerges from the earth through a natural spring in a nearby town.

The vertical drop of this astonishing cascade is 255 metres.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Plitvice Falls, Croatia

Image from worldtoptop

These lovely falls are located in Plitvice Lakes National Park, a major tourist attraction.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage attraction in 1979, the sixteen forest-clad lakes lie at different altitudes and are connected by spectacular waterfalls. The tallest is 70 metres high.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Laja Waterfall in Chile

Image from desktopnexus

The Salto de Laja is a series of four waterfalls on the Laja River, a few kilometers south of the Chilean city of Los Angeles, along the Pan American Highway.

These impressive cascades can be viewed from car and foot bridges. Those who want to get closer to the water can take a tour and view the falls from a motor boat.

Historically a spiritual site revered by the indigenous Mapuche people, the area is now a major tourist attraction, with fishing, kayaking, swimming, horse back riding and nature tours available for the many travellers who stay in the nearby hotels.

Left photo wikimedia
Below: photo from Hello Chile

Saturday, December 13, 2014

La Paz waterfall in Costa Rica

Picture by Suzan Colon 

This spectacular falls drops from the slopes of  Poas Volcano in Costa Rica's central highlands.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, with its five cascades, contains gardens full of orchids, bromeliads and hummingbirds and is also the site of the world's largest butterfly observatory.  Located in an area of astonishing biodiversity, it also affords closeup views of a variety of frogs and snakes.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pamukkale in Turkey

Image from greentraveller

Literally translated from the Turkish as cotton castle, this series of falls and pools is hauntingly beautiful. Nearby Hierapolis, a city around the mineral spa, was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 CE and rebuilt afterwards. Many ruins from the Greco-Roman period can be seen here. The mineral rich pools are good for wading and bathing; however, the smooth surfaces are very slippery.

Hierapolis-Pamukkale is a UNESCO Heritage site.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Zmeika River waterfall in Russia

Image from panoramio

Sochi, Russia, was the scene of the 2014 Winter Olypics. Here, in the Caucusus Mountains, the Zmeika River drops in a cascade from a mountain of the same name.

Thespectacular Zmeika Waterfall is actually a series of falls with a lovely bathing pool at the bottom.

Nearby, natural clean water flows from the Emerald spring.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Latefossen Waterfall Norway

Image from photobucket

This remarkable waterfall is located in Oddadalen, in the Norwegian county of Hordaland. 

This twin cascade has a total vertical drop of 165 m, descending from the mountain plateau in Europe, Hardangervidda.

It is part of a protected watershed, and can be viewed from the bridge, which dates back to 1859.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blood Falls, Antarctica

Image from Smithsonian

As explained in Amusing Planet, Blood Falls is home to an ancient community of microbes that have evolved in isolation, living off the minerals that lie beneath the ice and snow.

In 1911, geologist Griffith Taylor discovered the blood-red falls and theorized that algae caused the coloration. It's since been confirmed that a saltwater lake rich in iron lies beneath the ice and feeds the falls.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Image from buddytricks

120 kilometers east of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, lies this amazing waterfall.

A trail leads around the falls, making it possible to walk behind and look through the curtain of water.

More Trip Advisor photos of Seljalandsfoss falls are available here.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Detian Waterfall, China - Vietnam border

Image from

The unusual Detian/Banyue waterfall is located on the Guichun River between China and Vietnam.

Many visitors approach through the Chinese city of Nanning, about 100 k from the falls.

This unusual waterfall is surrounded by rice paddies.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Victoria Falls

 Image from Zambezi Sun Hotel

The most famous cataract in Africa, Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Spray from the 100 metre high waterfall is visible for fifty kilometers. The bridge provides a stunning view: a series of gorges on the river, a huge basalt cliff opposite the falls, and the Boiling Pot can all be seen from there.

Built in England, then transported by sea and rail via Mozambique, this remarkable structure was opened in 1905 by the son of Charles Darwin. It is considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be a landmark in civil engineering.

In this video, a guide brings a group of young women to swim at the top of the waterfall. He does a back flip into the pool and the group sits on the very brim, in the 'devil's armchair,' just above the drop. Recently, two men made history by crossing the falls on a high wire.

Some like to bungee jump at this famous place. Here's a view of the falls from a helicopter.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fukuroda Waterfall, Japan

Image from mustlovejapan

Fukuroda Falls is one of hundreds of waterfalls in Japan. It is approximately 120 m tall and 73 m wide.

Located on the Taki River in Ibaraki prefecture, this astonishing natural wonder consists of  four separate falls, all of which can be seen from two separate observatories, accessible by tunnels and elevators.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wailua Falls, Kauai, Hawaii

Photo by Ewok Slayer

There are two waterfalls with this name in Hawaii. This one is on Kauai.

According to John Derrick, at times of heavy rain, the dual falls becomes a single heavy spate.

He also gives tips for hiking and viewing tha falls, and warns against jumping off into the pool, no matter how inviting it looks. Some lovely pictures can be seen here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Image from The Telegraph

The great bowl-shaped waterfall of Iguazu lies on the border between Brazil and Argentina.

The many cascades that comprise the falls create spectacular sprays and the area is home to vast numbers of  subtropical rainforest plants. Local wildlife includes tapirs, jaguars, caymans, giant anteaters and howler monkeys.

Iguazu National Park has been a UNESCO heritage site since the early 1980s.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Virginia Falls, Northwest Territories

Image from panoramio

Situated in the remote Nahanni National Park, which has no roads, this gorgeous waterfall is accessible only to those who are willing to hike in or those who arrive at the day use site by air.
The falls is located on the South Nahanni River, a major tributary of the Liard. This waterfall and the whitewater river rafting are major attractions in the Northwest Territories.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Greenland ice cap melt creates waterfalls

Image from

Seeing the water pouring off the glaciers is undoubtedly a seasonal phenomenon.

Still, it makes you wonder. Do they refreeze? As they recede, how fast are they raising the levels of the world's oceans?

In recent years, the tundra beneath the Greenland ice cap is being ever more exposed. Yet while arctic grazing animals fatten, polar bears lose ice habitat.

Now crops like tomatoes and strawberries grow above the Arctic Circle. Interesting. But considered from a larger context, isn't this rather bad news?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Niagara Falls

Image from Seven Natural Wonders

Three immense waterfalls are located on the Niagara River where it drops over the escarpment on its journey from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

On the US side, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are visible only from the Canadian side of the river, or from a viewing platform built for the purpose.

The Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side, are shaped as the name suggests. This is largest of the three waterfalls at 792 m high with a 53 m drop. Visitors enjoy approaching the falls from a small boat called the Maid of the Mist.

Long a destination for lovers and honeymooners, Niagara Falls is also a magnet for daredevils. Though a hefty fine is now imposed on anyone who attempts to take the risk of dropping over the edge in a custom made barrel, many have attempted it. Most, but not all of these have survived.

Stuart McLean, raconteur extraordinaire, tells the astonishing story of Roger Woodward, who, thanks to the carefree attitude of a well-meaning boatman, went over the falls as a child and survived.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Long Way Home, by Louise Penny

Image from Louise Penny

In Number 10 of the Gamache series, someone from Three Pines has to die. Not just a passing victim, but one of the major characters who has endured from the beginning.

Gamache, now retired as Chief of Homicide from the Surete du Quebec and living with Reine Marie in Three Pines, is bogged down in the midst of a mysterious poetry book. He sits on the Surprised by Joy bench above the village, unable to get beyond a certain page. There is a balm in Gilead...

Parked beside him on the same bench, the worried artist Clara Morrow waits for an overdue date with her husband. Why hasn't he returned? They planned this meeting date a year before, when they embarked on a trial separation. On the hill overlooking Three Pines, she sits beside Armand Gamache, unwilling to request his help. Until finally she does.

Beauvoir is still living and working in Montreal, handling his personal ghosts. When on a visit to his parents in law in Three Pines, he is asked by Gamache to help Clara find Peter, there is only one answer possible. Oui, patron. With some regret, he lets Annie go back to Montreal alone and joins Clara, Gamache and Myrna to seek the missing man.

Like Penny's other works, this is much more than a cracking good mystery. Its echoes probe deep into the human condition. Seeking humour in the midst of horror. Following one's calling. Facing oneself. Not mistaking movement for progress. Nole timere. Only after facing down the fear comes the salve, the boon, the peace.

Nole timere. Do not fear. The author will translate the Latin phrase. Or the French. Eventually. On the surface is the mystery, laced with humorous dialogue and gorgeous images of Quebec. This story is set amid the ferocious weather and landscape of a tiny settlement near the mouth of the St. Lawrence, on the remote Gaspe Peninsula.

The names of the fictitious villages, Agneau-de-Dieu and Tabaquen, the mythic characters of the ferrymen, fishermen, and art dealers conjure up the old Canadian nation of Quebec. Even he touristic eatery, La Muse, hints at something ancient and deep. The hardcover image is a painting by the iconic Quebec artist, Clarence Gagnon.

From the redoubtable Louise Penny, a book of many layered splendour. Again. She set out to do a series of ten books, but I doubt if Armand and Jean-Guy and Reine Marie and Annie are ready to bow out of the author's life -- or that of their readers -- just yet.

An obvious direction for future books would be to promote Beauvoir to main protagonist. A man now tempered by hard experience, he can forge ahead in the Surete. That way, Armand can step in from his retirement to help as needed.

Iona waterfall on Cape Breton Island

Image from digital journal

This is Saint Columba's Falls, on the Washback River Victoria County, on Cape Breton Island.

This is not a high waterfall, and it is easy to hike up and sit in the spray. The negative ions from a falls make us feel good.

At nearby Iona, visitors can also see the Highland Village Museum, which illustrates the lives of the early Gaelic settlers.

Nova Scotia was nostalgically named by them for their old country: New Scotland.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Unnamed Labrador waterfall and iceberg waterfall

Left: Image from travellocation

This forest waterfall, on the Eagle River in the Mealy Mountains, Labrador is too remote to have been given a name.

Below: This waterfall off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador drops from an iceberg. Image from icebergfinder.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Montmorency Falls, Quebec

Image from wikimedia

Located a short distance from Quebec City, this 83 m waterfall is 30 m higher than Niagara. Parc de la Chute Montmorency is located on the Montmorency, a tributary of the St. Lawrence.

Tourist facilities at this site include a cable car, a suspension bridge, footpaths and stairs.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Athabasca Falls

Image of frozen falls from wikimedia

Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park is as interesting for its rock formations as it is for the waterfall itself. It lies a short distance off Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway.

The headwaters of the Athabasca River arise at the foot of the Columbia Icefields near the continental roof. This major Alberta river travels 1500 km across the province, draining into Lake Athabasca. The Peace River also flows into Lake Athabasca; as the waters of these two rivers mingle and flow into the lake, they form a huge wetland called the Peace-Athabasca Delta.

From the enormous lake, the Athabasca waters flow north to eventually join the 1800 mile long Mackenzie and flow into the Arctic Ocean through another vast delta at Inuvik.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hunlen Falls, Tweedsmuir Park

Image from hellobc

At 401 metres, this waterfall in Tweedsmuir Park in the Chilcotin country is the highest in BC, and the third highest in Canada.

Perhaps the reason this astonishing waterfall is not very well known is its remote location, deep in the back country.

One way to see the falls is by taking a 20 minute float plane ride from Nimpo Lake. It's also possible to land on Turner Lake. From there, the trail to the lookout is only a kilometer long.

Turner Lake is part of a popular back country canoe circuit. But be careful! You're in Bear Country.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Small waterfall in the Callaghan Valley

This waterfall is located up in the back country of the Callaghan Valley a short distance south of Whistler.

I photographed it on a spring Bear tour in the month of May, when the bears were foraging on the spring growth and the creek was full of snowmelt.

And yes, that is a skiff of snow on the ledge of the viewing platform.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shannon Falls

Image from jagged pixel

The world is full of wonderful waterfalls, and many of these are located here in British Columbia.

A couple of hours north on the Sea-to-Sky, Highway 99 to Whistler, Shannon Falls cascades into the forest. The third largest falls in BC, it drops 335 metres from Mounts Habrich and Sky Pilot into the lovely Shannon Falls Provincial Park.

The park has trails that go into an adjacent park. Stawamus Chief Provincial Park features the Chief, a huge cliff face of international interest to climbers, and offers a view over Howe Sound and the town of Squamish.

Before or after picknicking at the foot of Shannon Falls, the intrepid hiker or sightseer can ride the Chief Gondola.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Non-native bird species

The other day I was walking in Bear Creek Park and saw this pink feather on the trail.

I've read enough detective stories to know what it suggests.

A feather of this brilliant hue is not from a native bird species; therefore, a strange and exotic bird passed this way.

Either that, or someone wearing a boa was taking a stroll in the autumn park. Any detective worth her salt can see that.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blogging as part of a writing life

Image from

Five years ago today I created my first blog post, which happened to be a poem. This blogging venture began with a Brazilian friend, Silvia Pandini, who did a guest post on Dec 17. We promised one another, "I'll start blogging if you will." By the end of the year, I'd logged ten posts and was enjoying myself. Silvia is still blogging too, in Portuguese.

The second year, I realized this short form writing was habit-forming. I kept getting sudden ideas for posts, and that year I posted about every two days.

In 2011 I entered the year-long Writer's Studio at SFU and decided it was time to step up and take my writing vocation more seriously. So I set myself a task of posting on a daily basis. To make this feasible, I often wrote several related posts at a time, and scheduled them to come up daily.

Wondered when I would run out of ideas, but I needn't have worried. As one series wound down, another suggested itself. More and more, I was taking pictures specifically to illustrate upcoming posts. By the end of the year, I'd logged 371 posts, more than the 365 I'd promised myself.

After taking a lot of time off teaching to do the Studio, I had to work full-time again, so I decided to let myself off the hook and go back to a couple of posts a week. But ideas kept coming and I finished that year with 228 posts.

Last year, I was only 19 days short of a post-a-day tally. This year, I retired from my teaching work in the spring and threw myself into finishing my novel. Still blogging, though, and on track for a similar tally. I've thought about quitting, but somehow, I keep on. Through this daily discipline, it' been useful and illuminating to discover favourite topics areas. The top three of the twelve headings under which I classify my posts are Books and Writers, Canadiana, and Cultures and Civilizations.

One more benefit: as I prepare another draft of my 120,000 word novel manuscript (Working title is The Habit of Secrecy), these simple, short and imperfect bits of non-fiction provide a fine counterpoint to the fiction task of keeping all those characters and story lines in my head.

It's good editing exercise too. As the pre-scheduled posts go up, I check for accuracy, brevity and visual appeal. But even if at some much later date I discover (or a reader does) some egregious error, I can go right back and fix it. Hallelujah! Recently I added a picture to a post done long ago.

Most popular posts to date:
Ammolite (2013) This simple post about a gemstone that has been officially adopted by the City of Lethbridge and the Province of Alberta has been read by an astonishing 4583 viewers. Go figure.
The top five posts also feature Chauvet Cave art, the Orient Express and Roses wild and tame, and a light bit of humour on the terminology of street signs, British and Canadian.

No idea what the above info tells me. Should I press on? Are my thoughts worth sharing? Am I learning? For now, I think I'll celebrate the five year effort by taking tomorrow off. Maybe. And then I may turn to waterfalls, or Canadian River Systems for inspiration.