Published on Sunday, 18 August 2013 00:00
Nature is capable of achieving many wondrous and beautiful feats that will take your breath away. While our special effects consists of CGI and 3D technology, Mother Nature still triumphs over man as she demonstrates from time to time the ability to completely blow your mind. If you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, you will be astounded by how amazing Mother Nature’s bag of tricks is.
1. Waterfall of Fire: Horsetail Fall, Yosemite
Don’t worry, it is not lava pouring out of the earth’s core. It is just water. Plain water. But that still does not make it any less bad-ass. Horsetail Fall in Yosemite displays a majestic phenomenon every couple of weeks in February where the sun hits the stream of downward flowing water at just the perfect angle to make it look exactly like a Firefall. If the clouds decide not to be douchebags and block the sun rays, the waterfall glows a deep orange during sunset in mid to late February. If you were to visit the waterfall anytime during the year that is not February, all you will see is just a lame-ass, pathetic excuse of a waterfall, because let’s face it, no one would have given a shit about this constant trickle of water they call a waterfall if it had not been for the whole lava-effect thingy.
2. Pyschedelic River: Caño Cristales, Columbia
Trust me, you are not tripping out on acid, this is what the Caño Cristales in Colombia actually looks like for a brief period of time in summer between September and November. It is not permanently like this however, throughout most of the year, this river looks like any other standard river you have seen, which is ugly; murky waters with junk floating around, the riverbed lined with brown and green moss and seemingly infested with a shitload of parasites. Described as “the river that ran away to paradise””, it is only during summer that the water level dips allowing the sun's natural heat to warm that moss covering the rocks, resulting in blooms growing beneath the water in all shades of the colour spectrum. You might be disheartened though to learn that in order to observe this LSD river effect with your own two eyes, you will have to practically scour through heaven and hell to reach it. Tourists will have to fly out to the small town of La Macarena, travel by boat for a distance, then hike through unmarked trails to find it. If you are too lazy for all that, there is a simpler option that involves the use of illegal substances and a swimming pool... I KID I KID! Don’t do drugs, kids! Stay in school!
3. Parting The Sea: Jindo Sea, South Korea
Thousands and thousands of eager-eyed people gather at the shore waiting for the sea to part. This is not the biblical story of Moses parting the Red Sea to lead God’s people to safety from the evil Pharaoh. This is the celebration of the annual Jindo Sea-Parting Festival. Every year, the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula will see hundreds of thousands of locals and foreigners turn up to celebrate and experience the natural phenomenon in which the Jindo Sea opens up just enough to reveal a 2.9 kilometre land-bridge connecting South Korea’s Jindo Island to the neighbouring island of Modo. About twice a year, sometime between March and June, the tidal forces at work on the Yellow Sea all line up to cause an extremely low tide resulting in a 40 meter wide walkway. If you want to experience a little bit of the Korean version of Moses' miracle, you will have to walk fast because the path only stays open for an hour, after which the water will come crashing down on the land-bridge, consuming every else in its path, including evil-doers.
4. Pink Mountains: Dolomites Mountain Range, Italy
The metaphorical phrase “seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses” means to see everything in a pleasant perspective. You don’t need rose-tinted glasses for you to think that these mountains look absolutely pleasing to your eyes because they turn entirely pink at sundown. This phenomenon is called enrosadira which literally means “to become rose-coloured”. Every evening at sunset, the west-facing mountains at the Dolomites Mountain Range in north-eastern Italy goes through dramatic changes of colours, starting out bright yellow before turning an intense red that softens to indigo and violet before darkness finally enshrouds the mountains. It is not just the reflection of the dying rays of the sun, this unusual display of colours is unique to the Dolomites. The magic of the Dolomites changing colours is contained within the rock itself where it has collected over 250 million years worth of coral, algae, fish and mollusks collected on the seabed, with magma from volcanic eruptions. I would love to own a little piece of this mountain as a souvenir. Next time if you ever do visit the Dolomites, be sure to dress from head to toe in pink and go to a secluded spot before you start chipping away at this magnificent wonder. If you get arrested, I was not the one who put that idea into your head.
5. Underwater Park: Green Lake Park, Austria
If you walked past it in the summer, you would have never guessed that underneath the little quaint, vivid pool in the middle of the Hochschwab mountains is an underwater world. For that pool of water is in fact a park with benches, trails, bridges and trees that has been submerged underwater from the shitload of snow that has melted off the mountains, completely flooding the park in the summer. Tourists flock to the Green Lake Park in Austria every summer to snorkel and scuba-dive in its crystal-clear waters. The water levels are at its peak in June, so if scuba-diving in the sea is too mainstream for you, you know where to go.