TUCKED away behind the thick, lush trees of forested lands in the Mazaruni, Marshall Falls is a picturesque combination of rustic rocks and cool, mineral-rich black water.
I recently had the pleasure of gazing at her in her prime under a scorching hot midday sun. My soul is content that I wasted no minute in my stare, observing her beauty, basking in the glory of all that she was.
My trip to the ‘Falls’ was a sideshow worthy of being the main event. I had just concluded a two-day tour of Essequibo. Exhausted from trekking across several of the islands located in our Mighty Essequibo River, getting my feet wet at the Falls was a fitting end-off.
Before reaching the Falls, our team ventured by ‘river taxi’ from the serene island housing the illustrious Dutch structure, Fort Kyk-Over-Al, one of the three remaining structures of its kind in Guyana.
The sail up the river was anything but smooth. We passed a few other islands, for which the Mighty Essequibo and her tributaries are known, and eventually pass the Mazaruni Prison.
As we inched closer to our destination, our boat operator skilfully navigated massive rocks seeming as though they grew out of the river bed which creates the strong pull of the Marshall rapids. We circled the area to get a full view. What a thrilling experience!
All of this aside, it wasn’t until we disembarked at a rocky bank of the Mazaruni River that I realised how much journeying there still was before us. Taking small steps on the mossy path, I was careful, calculating my every move to maintain my balance.
After clearing the rugged uneven surface of the trail, the gruelling part of the journey had just begun. We walked for what seemed about an hour along an unpredictable terrain. We were climbing, hiking downhill and ever-so-often ducking under felled trees. It was, by every possible definition, a work-out.
I had to take several breaks to catch my breath. My calf-muscle burned. During my small breaks, I took note of the rustling between the bushes and trees which ignited my scepticism and fear of the unknown. I’m deathly afraid of snakes, and found some comfort in the fact that none of the dreaded local fauna was in sight. At least, not on this trip!
Exhausted, perspiring profusely but anxious at the same, I arrived at the waterfalls.
To get a closer view, I had to cross a stream accessible only by walking a tree stump covered in slippery algae. Some of the team members stayed put; the rest of us trekked cautiously.
At first, I was a bit sceptical. However, with the help of a colleague who held my hand, I made it safely across back and forth.
The view of the falls was priceless! I stood at the base of the stream, soaking in every inch of the beauty around me. My Guyana! Oh my beautiful Guyana! She was everything! And I’ve never loved her more than in that moment.
I found myself frozen in time, basking in every inch of the scenery around me: The gushing black waters, the mighty rocks, and the large trees were a delightful treat for my sore eyes.
I walked back to the boat, a bittersweet goodbye in my heart. But I had to return to the life I left behind on the coastland. Rest assured, however, the hidden paradise of the Mazaruni River, the Marshall Falls, has certainly not seen the last of me.