Gone with the Wind of the Les Waterfall

Today was a markedly relaxing day, post-morning that is. We woke up and tackled a few more tasks for our upcoming travels. Highlights include booking helitours (helicoper+hike) to the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand with our friends Leah and Stephen and adjusting our upcoming dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef in hope of not missing it due to the ash of Mt. Rinjani. We were originally scheduled for a trip that leaves the day after we arrive in Australia. Now we have given ourselves a 4 day buffer. Cross your fingers for us that the volcano stops being mad!

We then agreed that it was time for breakfast. Similar to yesterday it was prepared by Gede’s wife, Made, and delicious, as expected. It consisted of black sticky rice served with fresh pineapple and papaya. Why we don’t eat black sticky rice for breakfast at home I don’t know, but I’m going to look into it.

After seeking directions and a map from our hosts we then took off on foot to Yeh Mempeh waterfall. While not the most strenuous hike of our trip, it was uphill the entire way and transitioned us nicely through the town of Les. We first walked along the shore to the main fishermen village where we greeted by a chorus of hellos from a gaggle of elementary school children decked out in their red bottoms and white collared tops. We continued up the hill, crossing the main road that runs along Bali’s north coast into the main village of Les. Here we passed many shopfronts, only half of which were open, a few temples, and even an Herbalife truck. With the help of the occasional “Waterfall” with and arrow sign, up we went then winding our way past farms of cows and chickens until reaching the edge of the rainforest. The 30 remaining minutes, though still uphill, was beautifully adorned with many types of orchids (which we now knew thanks to Singapore’s Botanical Gardens), sweeping canopies, and fruit trees.

Hello again, boats!
Hello again, boats!
Fishing village homes
Fishing village homes
Making our way into Les village
Making our way into Les village
Herbalife? Really?
Herbalife? Really?
If you look close enough you will see two women balancing tubs on their heads.
If you look close enough you will see two women balancing tubs on their heads.
The main temple in Les
The main temple in Les
Making our way to the rainforest
Making our way to the rainforest
In the rainforest
In the rainforest

We weren’t expecting much by way of size, but boy were we mistaken. The Les waterfall, as we later learned, is the largest waterfall in Bali at roughly 9 stories tall. Though the quantity of water was not significant, it was still quite impressive. The two of us quickly crossed the river formed by the waterfall and attempted to make our way into the pool at is base, being careful not to trip over the stones. From this perspective, not only was the waterfall seriously tall, but the wind that whipped over its peak and down into the moss covered valley was ridiculous. The water of the falls was being thrown into our faces while we were still a good 20 feet from its base. Forcing our way through the gusts, we then attempted to do as one of our hosts recommended, get a water butt massage, but ended up being satisfied with just placing our hands in the falling water (while still getting mouthfuls of it due to the wind). After a series of photos, we settled on a nearby rock and took it all in just the two of us.

We're here!
We’re here (and sweaty)!
That's a big waterfall
That’s a big waterfall
Lynn for scale
Lynn for scale
Our view
Our view

We made our way back through town to our guesthouse, passing even more school children. The first group we came across were in high school, taking off for lunch we presume, and wanting to negotiate with us for rides back to where we were staying. Politely declining over and over again, as we continued on foot and eventually came across the same group of elementary school children who continued the chorus of hellos while running alongside us attempting to keep up.

We made it back to the guesthouse child-free and relaxed on our porch until Made called us for lunch. Here we met a new addition to the guesthouse, a woman originally from San Francisco who has lived in Bali for the past 40 years. She splits her time between Ubud and our guesthouse, working for a nonprofit in the area. And she speaks fluent Balinese as we learned in the afternoon when she was providing English instruction to Les school children. Lunch was more fresh grilled fish, tuna wrapped in coconut leaves, and a vegetable. We will eat all the fresh fish we can get knowing that we can’t get anything like this back in Austin.

Lunch
Lunch

The afternoon was spent reading on our porch, enjoying the smell of the ocean, hearing the children practicing their English, and watching the clouds occasionally spit rain. By late afternoon we were on the toasty side and Doug suggested some more snorkeling. We grabbed our gear (including the GoPro this time) and headed out on the rocky shore, still not great at walking on the slick surface. We managed to make our way without injury and took our time admiring the schools of fish beneath us.

Snorkel pros
Snorkel pros
View of our guesthouse and surrounding area
View of our guesthouse and surrounding area
Little blue fishes
The blue specs are little fishes
A blue starfish and some of the grates being used to rebuild the reef. The rest of the pictures all came out blurry :-(
A blue starfish and some of the grates being used to rebuild the reef. There were a ton more fish but the remaining pictures were all blurry šŸ™

After about an hour we went back to reading on our porch into the dark when we were once again called to dinner of fresh fish, pan-fried tempeh, and a vegetable. And afterwards? More reading! It seems we are both very much into our books.

Dinner
Dinner

Daily Walking Mileage: 5.8

Fun Facts:

  • With every meal Made has served a delicious sauce made of crushed tomatoes, chilli pepper, and garlic. Lynn is writing this here in hopes that she will remember to make it when she returns home.
  • We have seen Herbalife trucks, shirts, billboards, etc. throughout Asia. It’s a pyramid scheme people!
  • It is common to see the jackfruit on trees wrapped in old rice bags. Wrapping the fruit prevents loss from the shoot and fruit borer and the brown bud weevil, two insects that like to make the fruit their home.

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2 thoughts on “Gone with the Wind of the Les Waterfall

  1. How do we get in on the heli-tour deal? We hiked on a glacier in Iceland and might consider doing it again. And, what else do you have in store for NZ?

    1. Sadly, we have this booked for after you guys leave because we aren’t going to be in that area with you. I wouldn’t worry too much, I think Milford Sound is a better choice than the glacier.

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