Saturday, February 24, 2018

Gushing despite the dry season

La Seiva waterfalls...


PARADISE: Waterfall and forest pool, top and above, on main La Seiva river. —Photos courtesy Heather-Dawn Herrera

Mark Fraser

 La Seiva is one of those parts of the Madamas valley where a generous supply of water is always present, the area being part of the last remaining tracts of pristine forest in the Northern Range. The watershed that nurtures youthful streams, tumbling waterfalls and inviting bathing pools never diminishes in volume as happens in other areas,

We walked up the main river whose volume was fed by tributaries each the site of a waterfall of similar height. Here in La Seiva, there were three easily accessible waterfalls, easy to reach because they tumbled from the rocky bands of stone that composed the mountains in these parts onto the flats of the valley. These flats facilitated simple river walking until attaining these sites.

La Seiva was one of the first series of waterfalls promoted by our outfit. Back in the late 1970s when son of Madamas Clifford known as ‘Bullman’ reigned as head hunter of the forest, these waterfall sites were unknown to most. Bullman was extremely knowledgeable in the layout of the valley and could map any site in the valley using a stick on the ground.

When he etched the valley of La Seiva onto the earth it was like we were looking at a true map complete with main river, tributaries, flats and mountains. It was Bullman who first accompanied us to the waterfalls in La Seiva.

   Recently, after some discussion with members of the Madamas community, a unanimous agreement was reached to name the waterfalls in La Seiva after Bullman. We support this decision.

Today, as we walk up the La Seiva river, 36 years ago. The river is clear and cool; vines of the forest form attractive curtains across the river in parts; and there has been no clearance of any part by man.  Males of the White-bearded Bellbird species cleared their communal grounds on the forest floor and performed their courtship routines noisily both onstage and as they flew excitedly among the surrounding low branches of trees. It appears that there was a female in the vicinity so all the males were making themselves as ‘courtable’ as ever.

We decided to visit the waterfall up the main river before going to those on the tributaries on the return hike. They were all only a few minutes walking distance away.

After about 20 minutes we reached our first ‘Bullman’ Waterfall. Just as it was in Bullman’s time, the waterfall tumbled into its pool cool and clear, beckoning us to come into its embrace.

After some swimming around, we realised that we shared the pool with numerous crayfish who did not hesitate to emerge and peck our feet if we remained standing in the shallows around the fringes of the pool for any length of time.

Down river, the story was the same. We walked up the two tributaries on either side for a few minutes and reached our waterfall sites. They were both similar in height and volume to the first and featured pools that were of the same depth and width. Crayfish had also taken up residence in these pools.

It being a prolonged dry spell weather-wise with only a negligible amount of rainfall now trying to materialise, we are sure that the hiking fraternity would welcome trips to these very accessible waterfalls to beat the heat. Bathing in forest pools that have so far been undisturbed by clearance of their surroundings is a hiker’s dream come true.It should be noted, however, that the new owner of the estate immediately before Rusty river and environs does not give permission for hikers to use the old trail through the estate. Hikers must now use the trail that leaves the old benching to the river and proceed over the hill to access La Seiva.