Taterskin & The Eco Defenders: Book 2, Chapter 55
Book 2 ("Tell It to Future Generations"), Chapter 55 of 56 (Penultimate)
After landing on top of Mount Roraima (everyone had been reduced back to normal size — or had been compressed to smaller than natural size where necessary — before we flew away from the mine site), we got out and spent some time talking about what we had accomplished.
“Here’s the rundown,” Albert said. “We prevented the Civil War, extending the lives of hundreds of thousands of humans and even more animals, and we welcomed the incomparable Ravelle X to the Eco Defenders family.”
“Yes, and we also prevented the massacre at Wounded Knee from occurring,” Ravelle added, “And were able to recruit the wonderful Chapawee, They Are Afraid of Her, into our group.”
“Then we enjoyed our great victory over the atrociously vicious practice of vivisection when we put an end to it in 1903,” said Alexis.
That was an especially great source of satisfaction to all of us. I had read Mark Twain’s story about the puppy who had been maimed and killed by those devils incarnate, and I looked at my pups. If anybody ever tried to hurt any of them that way ... I had to stop thinking about it, as I was getting too mad and sad about it all. I noticed that Rovette was gazing at me wistfully. I could tell she knew what I was thinking, and gave me a sympathetic look.
“And don’t forget our work in not only saving those who would have burned in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, but how we also helped them and others have a better life,” Tubthumper said.
“Then,” Chapawee added, “We helped make the world safe from massively destructive and deadly climate change by setting up the Amazon Basin as a preserve.”
“We also made some great friends along the way, such as the Terena warriors and the New Amazons,” Rovette said.
Seldom have we felt closer to each other or happier with ourselves. Contentment, camaraderie, and esprit de corps are great things.
“Let’s take the day off tomorrow, and have some more waterfall-flying fun!” Albert said. “We deserve it!”
Nobody objected to that. And so we spent the next day — well, I should say this before I tell you what we did the next day: On Mount Roraima, during the rainy season (which is in winter and spring, and it was spring when we were there), there are a set of dual waterfalls. What I mean by that is when it rains enough on the plateau, the surplus water falls off the sides of the mountain. Since the mountain bulges a little in the middle, excess water (enough to overflow the many potholes and the few small ponds on the tabletop) flows simultaneously over both sides of it.
In other words, the seasonal waterfalls on Mount Roraima are symmetrical. Instead of a river meeting a precipice and falling into the valley below, it’s a case of temporary flooding on the top of the mountain seeking bookend outlets. It makes for a stunning spectacle; sometimes there are as many as three of these “double waterfalls” occurring. And not only are there two falls per stream (one on each side of the mountaintop), but a total of four, because the falls drop first on a large forested outcropping below the sandstone top of Mount Roraima, and then travel about a mile down those slopes before descending in a second stage of the cataract to the base of the mountain.
Even in the dry season, Mount Roraima is easily one of the seven wonders of the natural world, but in the rainiest part of the year, it is doubtful that anything can compare to it.
Now the stage is set to tell you what we did the next day. Do you remember the vacation we took to Kaieteur Falls, and how we “canoed” off the falls before flying out from them and following the river? Now that the falls on Mount Roraima were flowing, we did the same thing there, but with a twist: The rivulets were not deep enough to float down them, as we had at Kaieteur Falls, so we flew barely above the streams and followed the falls down the first stage, flattened out near the bottom of the first drop, and flew along the slope there slightly above the treetops, then down the second drop, pulling up as we neared the valley floor. Finally, we flew around in a semicircle (in other words, we did a 180), and then traveled back the way we had come. By this I mean we flew back across the valley, up the lower falls, followed the slope at the top of it, and then also flew up the first falls, and back to the plateau.
All of us tried this waterfalling (on the way down) and waterjumping (on the way back) on each set of falls, landing only to switch pilots. In this way, everybody got a hands-on, paws-on, or feet-on opportunity to see how thrilling we could make the ride for everyone else by getting as close to the water and the trees and the rocky sides of the mountain as we could without hitting anything.
This game of “chicken” almost led to a midair collision on one occasion, but Albert had invented an automatic crash avoidance feature for the JNGs that prevented us from experiencing such a disaster.
Albert’s feature works like this: If two JNGs come within 3.14 seconds of hitting each other (calculated based on the speed and angle of each craft), they both turn up and to the right. Once we learned that (Albert didn’t tell us about it until after the near-collision occurred), we deliberately headed straight for one another, solely to experience the thrill of the sudden upward turn to the right. Albert said something about it being the ‘Gee Whiz’ factor or something that made it so exciting. All I know is, it was fun!
As you can imagine, it was a thrilling, fun-filled, action-packed day for all of us. When the sun set, we landed the vehicles on the tabletop. We spent our last night there talking and looking at the stars, both shooting and fixed.
The next day, we returned to our home of 2527 Zenia.
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