Yellow Mitsubishi: Of Serenity, Water Walking and Rock Climbing
On the 24th of May, 2014, the Yellow Mitsubishi set out on its second road trip. Only this time, the bus was neither yellow nor a Mitsubishi. But who cares? It was a road trip on a bus full of the coolest people, ever! (Trust me, I know these things.) Four more, in addition to the eight who made the first trip. Talk about all the extra coolness. Okay, that’s enough use of the word for one post, I agree. But it was soooooo cool…. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.
We set out again from the National Stadium, Surulere. Destination? The Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort, Ekiti State; and the Erin Ijesha Waterfalls, Osun State.
Ekiti is about four hours away from Lagos, but it could easily be a world away. Why do people still want to live in Lagos anyway? People, pack your bags and make a home for yourselves on any one of the lush looking hills, this side of the country has an abundance of. Wake up every morning to fresh air and greenery. Own a farm, or a garden, or an orchard. Know what it means to have a yard! This is what the countryside is made for!
Of all the so-called resorts I’ve seen in this country, the Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort is worthy of its name. No words, my friends, no words…
Okay, maybe a few. It is advertised as a 3-star resort, and judging by our experience, that’s a pretty fair rating. It’s really neat with well-tended lawns, properly maintained buildings and friendly staff. The rooms are in detached chalets that ensure some form of privacy. There’s a swimming pool, tennis and volleyball courts, a mini amphitheater, and of course, the spring which has a boardwalk leading to it. The restaurant, which in my opinion could use an improved menu, is open 24hours with fairly priced meals. The roads are well tarred and are just perfect for walks. The ambiance of the resort is truly peaceful. You just want to live here, really; at least, until you begin to itch for the bustle of the city.
Arrive at the resort, check into your room, grab lunch (if you must), and head for the Arinta Waterfall a few minutes’ drive from the resort. Which is exactly what we did! If you weren’t sold on my praise for country-living earlier, take this drive, then tell me what you think. Alternatively, ride a bicycle uphill, or downhill, doesn’t really matter, and picture yourself in a small cottage, your kids able to play outside, on grass if I may add, you will definitely have a hammock, and woven cane chairs… here, you can acquire your very own vintage Volkswagen Beetle, which you should turn into a convertible, by the way, and ride through the roads that twist and turn and curve and deep oh so beautifully, without fear of being judged by pretentious upscale neighbors. Need one word to describe this? Serenity. Or sanity. Anyone would do fine.
Of course, you’d once again ride your bicycle uphill to the waterfall, which I must add, is in itself, AMAZING! Oh, the sound of water, rushing water splashing against rocks; what could be better than this life? You will pay a token at the gate, N200, I think, and then begin the walk from the gate to the actual site of the waterfall. This walk should never be rushed! The journey is equally as amazing as the destination. Look up as you walk. I mean, literally. Such a beautiful view. And when you finally get to the water after climbing over a few rocks and slippery slopes, walk in it. Seriously, kick off your shoes and put your feet in the water. You should wear clothes that will enable you lose yourself to the wetness. This may not be the most exotic waterfall in the world, not by a long shot, but there is something about the air here that makes you want to dream. Ignore the spirogyra growing on the rocks. Ignore the overgrown grass. Ignore all the not-so-perfect parts of this adventure, and just glory in the peace that lies here, away from the raucous of city life. Glory in it!
When we got back to the resort, it was time to explore the cold and warm waters of the spring. It’s amazing how at the meeting point, you could have one foot in icy cold water, and the other in warm water. The fascinating thing, the waters don’t mix! The warm water is also channeled to the resort’s swimming pool so you can have a refreshingly warm swim. Those of us who actually did swim, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If swimming isn’t your thing, the evening is just about perfect for a walk and picture-taking. You can’t afford to come here without a camera.
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, it was time to set out for the second half of our journey. The Olumirin Waterfalls at Erin Ijesha is in Osun State, which is a couple of hours from Ekiti and much closer to Lagos. It costs N500 per person to get in and a little extra if you want to take in your camera (Sidebar: Is it possible that someone would come all the way here and not bring a camera? Why not just charge a fee for the entire experience?). For some reason, there was no guard to show us where to go or how to get there. Maybe because it was on a Sunday? We pretty much had to find our way around ourselves. To get to the waterfall, you have to use stairs that were so uneven, they looked like they were constructed by a roadside carpenter. There are seven levels of rock climbing with three levels of waterfalls (at the base, the second and the fourth levels of the rock), with the second level just at the end of the stairs. The second level waterfall is also the highest of the three and the one with the most fun experience. All the splishing and splashing and joyous surrender to the water. Beautiful! Truly beautiful!
Being the overeager adventurers that we are, we decided it’ll be fun to climb beyond the stairs to see what was “up there”…
The climb is probably one of the most daunting things you’d ever do. Unless, of course, you’re a frequent climber of Everest. Then this will be small potatoes. There’s a barely defined, rather steep and slippery path. You’d have to hold on to rocks and tree roots and branches in order to move your feet. After what felt like hours of sweating and swearing, we finally made it to the seventh level!! The view from up there is EPIC! Stunning. A couple of us went further into the bush path and returned with fruits from a nearby village and a plan to go back for camping purposes; Gulder Ultimate Search style.
After a brief rest, it was time for the descent (which in some ways was tougher than the climb) and a quick detour to the third point of the waterfall where the water looked really clean and the general ambience, peaceful and somewhat therapeutic. We got back to the second level waterfall and gave in the exhaustion as we spent a while just soaking up in the water and enjoying the sun. Water is truly beautiful! The way it flows with a rhythm; soothing.
The life of an adventurer is truly an exciting one. There is a lot of beauty around us if we are willing to open ourselves up to them. After two days of living on the edge, it was back to Lagos with renewed energy for the chaos. Who cares if your legs hurt so bad that you’re reduced to limpigng for a few days? We’d do it again!!!
PS. Although we didn’t get a chance to see it, if you do visit Ikogosi, ask to see the Immortal Fish, which apparently, is a fish from a local stream that does not die no matter what you do to it. Yep, so we heard. So do me a favor and check it out? Thanks!