The dense tropical forest surrounded her. The calls of macaws echoed through the vines above. A lone hiker stopped along the trail, wiped the sweat from her brow, and sipped from her canteen.
She slipped the canteen back in her pack. That waterfall can’t be too far now, she thought to herself. She couldn’t wait to take a dip.
She listened for the sound of rushing waters, but was met only with rustling leaves and more birds. She picked up the pace after her rest, knowing it was not far now.
Ahead she spied a small man made bridge over a creek bed. It was small, but at last, a sign she was close. She continued on the trail.
She swiped her bare legs, flicking away a pest. Her shorts, cuffed, and tank, let her skin breathe in the humid climate. Her cropped hair was tucked into a boony which kept the sunlight off her freckled face.
She tugged on her tank to get a little air. It was hotter here than she expected and not much breeze found it’s way to the rainforest floor.
She rounded a bend of granite rocks and in the distance finally heard a rush of water. A slight coolness drifted across her face and she sighed in relief.
As she neared the waterfall, the stream became wider. She stopped a moment to feel the water; cool to the touch and refreshing. She splashed a little on her face.
Behind her, she heard the sound of leaves pushing against each other, like something moving between them. She stood up and looked over the area.
A toucan took flight and she smiled to herself. Silly girl! It’s just a bird, she scolded herself. She adjusted her pack and carried on.
Finally, the greenness on the trail gave way to flowering plants and a series of fairy pools being fed by a glorious waterfall. She had arrived at her destination.
She found a spot to enjoy the falls and set down her pack. She pulled out a small towel and took a seat, watching the water cascade over the rocks. The rock face was covered with flowering plants in yellow, pink, and white flowers. Their sweet aroma filled the air.
She rested back on her elbows and dipped her toe in the babbling water. Another round of brush swayed and made a bit of noise. She sat up and turned to see a monkey moving between the branches.
She heard how these cute creatures could easily steal your food, so she secured her pack as best she could. He didn’t seem interested as he climbed on and disappeared into the forest.
She decided to take a quick plunge in the large pool at the base of the falls. She looked around, and seeing no one, shimmied out of her shorts, then headed into the pool.
The water chilled her at first. Her skin was covered in goosebumps from the temperature of the pool. However, it was refreshing as she swam toward the falls. The sound of the falls grew louder, drowning out the sounds of the forest.
She looked back toward her pack and a few rocks over, saw some hikers and a rucksack. It surprised her as there was no one visible to her in the area. She scanned around trying to see if someone else was nearby, but saw no one.
Part of her thought was to go over there to check it out, but the water was so enticing, especially as the falls also splashed her from behind, she decided to stay put. She looked up to the sky and began floating on her back, drifting about the pool.
After a few minutes, she felt a tug in her shirt. Her eyes were closed, but she figured a stick or something had caught on her clothes, so she reached to clear it away. Then a hand grasped her wrist.
She opened her eyes in surprise. She looked over to see a man holding her arm. His mouth was moving, but his voice was muffled. She lifted up her head from the water.
“Are you okay?” the man repeated.
She looked at him groggily and shook her head. “Yes, just enjoying a float. Where did you come from?”
She looked him over and realized he was bare chested and quite handsome. His eyes, light blue with little flecks of grey and gold, danced in the sun’s rays. His face was thin with a three day shadow of golden blond/brown hair.
“I was behind the waterfall,” he breathed out as he realized he was still holding her wrist. He gently let go. “I just saw you laying there limp and was worried.”
She smiled and then shrugged. “I’m good. No damsel in distress. Thank you though.” She tilted her head a bit. “Hey, I have some snacks to enjoy, if you’d like to share?” She swore his face blushed a little.
He looked down to his hands and smiled, holding them up. “Yeah, I think I should get out. I’m shriveled up like a prune!” He showed her the deep grooves in his fingers.
She chuckled as she raised her hand, “Me too!”
…to be continued