Monday, November 26, 2012

Boonie Stomping: Tarzan Falls

One popular pastime on Guam is boonie stomping, which is a fancy name for hiking in the jungle.  Every Saturday morning, volunteers lead a hike to a different site in the wilderness.  In mid-September (yeah, we know it is now November), we went on our first boonie stomp, to Tarzan Falls.

The Guam Visitors Bureau provides volunteer guides who organize the hikes.  Everyone meets up at the Chamorro Village (more about that later).  You pay $2 a person and sign a waiver containing some legal mumbo jumbo.  Then you drive out to the hike site. 

Tarzan Falls is the red mark.  The meetup point is Hagatna, near the green arrow. Our apartment is at the southwest corner of the airport, near the blue arrow.
It didn't say anything about mud.
Pre-hike: still clean.
As you can see, it wasn't to last.  This is the trail head...
Getting ready.  We gave a ride to two Navy women who were in town for a few days while the USS George Washington aircraft carrier was docked on Guam.  You can see them in the center there.  They were openly in a relationship together, so hurray for ending DADT!
When people finished, some people would throw their shoes over the power lines. As desirable as that would have been, given that they were caked in mud, we needed those boots for later hikes. This is supposedly a "last boonie stomp on Guam" tradition.
Generally, the trail was wide, consisting of a mostly-muddy clay-like substance. The surrounding terrain was mostly scrubland at first, later changing to a thicker jungle as we neared the river.
This used to be a sign pointing the way to Tarzan Falls at a fork in the trail.
Unfortunately, locals preferred to utilize it for target practice.
As we trekked on, we noticed something: it was quiet.  A little too quiet.  That is to say, there were no birds. This is the only evidence we have that there is in fact a brown tree snake epidemic on Guam, other than two dead snakes Nick has seen out running (when Nick was running: the dead snakes could not run; they don't have legs).
An overlook.  We are looking east towards the Pacific (unlike looking to the west, north, or south.  No Pacific Ocean in those directions).  Those building constitute Leo Palace Resort, a huge resort complex in the mountains above Hagatna.  We have yet to visit in person but have heard many rumors about this place such as:  Japanese and Korean teams hold spring training here, there is zorbing on the grounds, and it has its own bowling alley on site. Sounds pretty epic. 
Scenic overlook pictures taken for two reasons:
1.  Everyone else was doing it.
2.  Good excuse to rest, it's hot on Guam.
You'll notice we are wearing gloves. Gloves, especially reinforced rubber coated gloves, are
essential when boonie stomping on Guam because there is tons of saw-grass.
The radar domes near Mangilao.  These are used by the Air Force for...storing aliens bodies, most likely. Or something to do with radar. 
Down a steep hill.  The fact that it was wet reduced traction but added suspense. There was a good deal of sliding down on our butts, often unintentionally.
Upper Tarzan Falls.

Amanda is smiling, but there is terror in her heart.  We were insanely high up and the rocks were super slippery. On the mainland there would be many guardrails!
The shortcut to Lower Tarzan Falls.  We took the long route.
Crossing the river.
Another bullet riddled sign....
Lush jungle foliage.  Probably teeming with snakes.
This is like in King Kong, when they found giant prehistoric everything.  These are giant pinecones (at least that's what it looks like).
The falls through the trees.  We don't have pictures, but the trek down here was absurdly muddy. We would routinely sink to mid-shin.  At one point, we feared the mud was going to take one of the Navy women, a la quicksand.

People could swim in the pool at the base of the falls.  It was refreshing after a hot day of hiking.
But before we swam, we rested.
And took self-portraits.

We begin to make use of the waterproof camera.  Sadly, "waterproof" only means submersion will not render the camera inoperable, and does nothing to ensure the lens is clean.

Luckily Amanda chose to wear her tankini bottoms under her adventure pants. As a former Girl Scout she really took the whole "be prepared" thing to heart. Unfortunately, she neglected to remember to take off her's more refreshing that way, right?

We both brought our bathing suits, but found it to be too difficult to bother changing. Plus, when you're soaked through in sweat anyway...
Can't stand....the force of the water...must.... giggle....and ....stand!
This is the part of the hike where Nick reenacts that scene from Alien

At hike's end.  The guides provided lemonade. We were much dirtier than this picture makes us appear.
After a vigorous cleaning, good as new. Drying in front of the fan.
If you complete 10 hikes with the Guam Boonie Stompers you get a free t-shirt, we totally plan on making this happen!

No comments:

Post a Comment