Angel Falls, Venezuela

A magazine assignment sent us to Angel Falls, the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, plunging over the edge of the Auantepui Mountain from a height of 3,212 feet. The waterfall towered above our small prop plane as we flew by and landed on a dirt strip in Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, a remote area of jungle and strange, Lost World tepuis or table-top mountains — isolated, rather than connected massifs, making each rocky outpost the host of an exotic array of endemic plants and animal species, found only on that particular peak, My wife, Paula, nearly died twice. Once, when a Vampire Bat chewed half-way through the mosquito-netting surrounding her bed, and then when we had to swim across a rapid-fed, dark tannin-stained stream (she never previously informing me that she panicked in water if she couldn’t see the bottom). A Pemon native, indigenous to the Grand Sabana area, pulled her from the stream. Paula loves to get out of her comfort zone and explore new places, but on this adventure she murmured to me more than once: “If I live through this, I’ll kill you!”

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