Sometimes you really don’t have to search far to find pure bliss and beauty.Â I went on an excursion in Floresta da Tijuca (The Tijuca Forest) and found a little piece of paradise hidden under a waterfall.Â Amazing wouldn’t even begin to describe all of the natural beauty I was able to behold.
A little bit of history: Â Located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,Â Floresta da Tijuca happens to be the world’s largest urban forest – located right in the middle of the city. Â In an effort to replenish what had been destroyed after years of intense deforesting and to protect Rio’s water supply,Â this huge forest was initiallyÂ hand-planted by Major Manuel Gomes ArcherÂ and his 6 slaves … yes over 12miÂ² of vegetation was initially hand-planted by just 7 people.
We drove up to the highest point the road would take us, then we had to climb the rest of the way to the top.Â Wearing any type of shoe while hiking the rocky and slippery terrain upstream proved to be a very dangerous idea, thus leading me to travel barefoot.Â Initially, the city-girl in me wanted to take my chances wearing my flip-flop sandals while I hiked … the rocks under my feet were killing me!!!Â But, as I began to relax and take in all the nature that surrounded me, I realized that the sensation of untouched earth and fresh water between my toes was quite pleasurable.
I had to pass by some of the tallest trees and venture through some of the thickest bush I’ve ever seen.Â In them, I could hear all the wild animals they housed such as monkeys, bats, and snakes.Â I didn’t see many of them, but I knew they were close by – probably just checking us out, watching our every move.
Every so often I would get a great view of the forest below where I stood, and for a second would need to stop and stare.Â With every step I was blown away by something else, even as simple as a radiant flower randomly blooming within a sea of green.Â I couldn’t help myself but to occasionallyÂ stop and say hello, as they seem to be asking for my attention.
Bearing the rugged road under my toes was worth reaching the top of the forest where I was presented with a beautiful waterfall.Â The water was so strong that one could almost mistake the stream for light.
If you’re wondering … OF COURSE I PLAYED IN IT!!!Â There was really no stopping me from immersing myself in all the beauty and glory that waterfall possessed … and it was quite refreshing to say the least.Â For a moment, I felt as free as a five year old.Â Clean and carefree, I felt like I was clearing myself of anything that may have been weighing on me with every drop of water that touched my skin.
I am so thankful for this experience.Â This memory will last me a lifetime.Â I look forward to sharing the story with my great grandchildren, or maybe even taking them to bask in it themselves.
Thanks for reading.