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Carmelita, the pride of Gran Couva

Carmelita waterfall. —Photos courtesy Heather-Dawn Herrera

Carmelita waterfall. —Photos courtesy Heather-Dawn Herrera

The rural community of Gran Couva has steadfastly treasured one of their eco-sites over the years. Called the pride of Gran Couva, the Carmelita waterfall has given members of the community a place to spend quality time with their family and friends in the cool ambience of the area.

To many, this is the only place in the Central Range that affords bathing in a waterfall location. The Montserrat Hills of this range has given this opportunity in the presence of a stream that nurtures the area.

The Carmelita waterfall is best enjoyed in the rainy season when the pool really comes alive. You find rewarding views from the top of the hill as you look out onto the undulations of the range.

Our Outfit passed through the area and made a stop at the top of the hill overlooking the Carmelita hollow. Where before there was the entrance to the open track to the waterfall there was now an overgrowth of tall grasses.

We opened the entrance a bit to gain access and encountered a shameful mess where persons had used the area to do their numbers. We skirted around this as best we could and eventually made our way down the hill.

The type of terrain in these parts is usually slippery. This is compounded by leaves strewn about from the stands of bamboo around. The neighbouring property is fenced with galvanize so that the track runs alongside and cannot be diverted.

Almost down to the waterfall site we met another eyesore. fast food boxes, plastic bags, plates, cups and any picnic material you could think of had been scattered along the track. We were forced to step over this to continue down the hill.

Just before the pool area, there was a pile-up of bamboo that had fallen downhill. This was another hurdle we had to manoeuvre to access the site. Minor injuries from the sharp protrusions of the stems seemed unavoidable here.

We reached Carmelita waterfall and pool still as beautiful as before. The water flows over a broad rock face into a wide pool that just beckons you to sample its waters in the morning sunlight. However there was something missing from this scene. The usual presence of families enjoying the pool was absent. Except for the splashing sounds of the water, the place was silent. The generous flow of water in the rainy season on a Sunday failed to draw bathers to this site.

On our return drive from the top of the hill we encountered another site further down the course of the river where it crossed the road. The bank of this site had been opened up to facilitate a car park. The river flowed through here and despite the absence of a waterfall, there were people enjoying themselves. Some adults cooked along the bank of the river while others bathed with children in the clear flowing water.

We could see why this was now


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