The bucket list: Angel Falls

October 9, 2010 • 10:42 am

At 979 meters (3212 feet—more than twice as high as the Empire State Building), Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world.  (It’s unipartite, so it won’t inspire thoughts of Jesus.) Located in a remote part of Venezuela, it’s difficult of access but—along with petting a baby tiger—it’s definitely on my bucket list.  Here’s a gorgeous panoramic picture (single-click on it twice in succession to see the full splendor:

Here’s another view (again, click to enlarge):

And a wonderful video:

Here are ten things on my bucket list that I’ve done:

Hiked to Mt. Everest

Seen the Taj Mahal

Visited Machu Picchu

Hiked to the Annapurnas

Lived in Paris

Flown over the Nazca Lines in Peru in a small plane

Visited the Galápagos

Flown to Mount McKinley

Visited Beijing and saw the embalmed body of Mao

Visited Lhasa in Tibet and toured the Potala

And ten things I have yet to do:

Visit all 50 states (I’ve been to 49; only North Dakota remains)

Visit Angel Falls

Hold a baby tiger

Visit Bhutan


Take a long trip through Australia

See a kakapo in New Zealand

Visit Antarctica and see the penguins

Visit South Africa and see the big game

Go to the Hermitage in Leningrad

What’s on your bucket list?  And what used to be before you did it?

58 thoughts on “The bucket list: Angel Falls

  1. I’ve held a baby tiger!
    They are much, much stronger than you would expect, and instead of purring, they just roar softly.
    Sadly I’ve done nothing else on your list, but you’ve picked some pretty remote if beautiful spots.

  2. At the moment I’ll be happy if I get through all the house & yard things on the “to do” list for this Thanksgiving weekend. Fortunately, the weather is gorgeous for working outside.

    Yes, I’m pathetic. Why do you ask?

  3. I would move ‘skydiving’ to the last place .. ya never know.

    Hey .. how about a hot air balloon trip? Or, live aboard the ISS for a week or so?

    I would trade South Africa for a trip into space! (But then, I’ve already been to Namibia)

    Here’s another idea for a list: 10 people you’d like to meet! (now living ones!)

    1. Or 10 great moments in the past I would have died for to have been present at.
      1. Akhenaten at the moment he invented monotheism.
      2. De Clerc at the moment he realised apartheid was doomed.
      3. Kepler when he realised ellipses were the answer.
      4. etcetera

      1. I dunno!
        These are probably defining episodes in history, but a smart man conceiving of an important realization is probably not that terribly interesting to watch.
        Especially since I suspect that all these weren’t ‘AHA – Eureka’ moments, but the result of years of pondering.

    2. Yair, I only had, and still have, just one small thing in my ‘bucket list’:

      To see Saturnrise from Titan.

      I fear I’m almost out of time though, but at least now I wouldn’t mind not surviving the return journey.

  4. And about combining: Australia and petting a tiger can easily be combined, but why restrict yourself to a ‘lil one’?

    (Disclaimer: I’m not in favor of these practices. But I shamefully admit I find the idea super cool! Given the chance, I would probably set some principles aside…)

  5. If you do make it to South Africa, I know a place where they’ll let you pet baby tigers. So, 2 for 1!

    I’ve only done the last 2 in your to-do list, and yes, they are worth doing.

  6. I’d like to:

    -Hike the Appalachian trail
    -Visit the Giant Sequoia’s in CA
    -Climb Mt. Aconcagua
    -Tour mainland China
    -See a wolf in the wild (I’ve heard them and have seen tracks, but never spotted one)

  7. I’ve just started thinking about my bucket list. But, as it happens, in the last three years I’ve done three of the things on your yet-to-do 10. I’ve spent a month in Australia, I’ve seen kakapo in New Zealand, and seen 5 game reserves in Botswana and South Africa.

    1. As a respite from all the people in [pick your state] it has a lot going for it. And if you fly into Bismarck, go have a look at the bison sculpture made from re-bar in front of the state historical center beside the state capitol. From even a short distance it looks like a genuine stuffed buffalo:
      The workmanship is pretty impressive.

  8. I’ve been fortunate to have done a lot of the things I once dreamed of, such as:
    – visited East and South Africa,
    – visited the Alps, Rockies, Andes and Himalayas,
    – seen the Parthenon, the Taj Mahal, Troy, and some of the Mayan temples,
    – been parachuting (solo, not one of the wimpy tandem rides),
    – seen a bright comet.

    Main targets now:
    – visit Australia (think I’ll have to wait until the children have grown up; taking a family on a long tour during the school holidays is too much of a strain on the savings);
    – see a total eclipse of the sun (missed the 1999 one by five minutes – the overcast sky cleared just too late).

  9. Easter Island, baby. Also, one of those train trips through the Canadian Rockies. Also again, spend a day at the National Archives requesting different rare books, manuscripts, etc.

  10. My list includes;
    1. Visit the Antarctic (done, been on a small ship cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula and crossed the Antarctic Circle).
    2. Visit the Arctic and see some polar bears (done-to Spitzbergen/Svalbard on a small cruise ship).
    3. Visit the Galapagos Islands (done).
    4. Visit the Grand Canyon (done).
    5. Do the Trans-Siberian train (done).
    6. Visit Tibet (done, but too many temples, not enough scenery on the tour I did!).
    7. Hold a baby giant panda (done).
    8. See Victoria Falls (done).
    9. See Iguasu Falls (done).
    10. Visit New England (not yet).
    11. See Mt Everest (not yet).
    12. Do the Indian Pacific train (doing it this December, but the cheap way, sitting up Sydney to Perth).

    D’oh; I’m currently reading a history of World War I (“A World Undone” by G.J. Meyer-strongly recommended-and I have been trying to remember the name of the museum in the former Winter Palace in Petersburg, even the ‘Saint’ has been dropped in common usage, without looking it up on the internet-the HERMITAGE of course).

  11. Some of the things on my bucket list that I have done:

    1) walk
    2) talk
    3) read
    4) write
    5) take public transportation
    6) swim
    7) cook
    8) take an elevator/escalator
    9) camping
    10) drawing/painting


    Seriously, some of the niftier things that I have done:

    1) Hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley in California.
    2) paragliding over the Welsh
    3) drove across the USA in five days in a small moving van.
    4) Visited Mount Helena shortly after the eruption.
    5) Got kissed on the lips in a taxi on the way from the Museum of Art in NYC by the wonderful painter
    Alice Neel (not to mention I got invited to her Westside studio)
    6) Lived in England.
    7) Live in France.
    8) Grow my own fruits and veggies.
    9) Saw tons of celebrities in NYC, you know, they look just like they do when they are on camera!
    10) Use the friggin Web, baby!

    I would like to do:

    1) to live to a very old age

    1. Do you mean Mt. Saint Helens? (My favorite bumper sticker from that eruption: “Don’t come to Washington; Washington will come to you.”)

  12. I’ve done 48 of the 50 states, Japan, a LOT of Europe — Florence was big on the “to do” list until recently.

    I’ve performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, several places in St Petersburg, Russia, and dozens of places in between. So those goals are pretty much checked off.

    What’s left? Well, if we count trips…
    1. Australia/New Zealand – probably the number one trip.
    2. Africa – safari Africa, not pyramid Africa.
    3. South America – Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru.
    4. I’ve never been below the equator, so I think any of these trips that meets that goal is a biggie. I really want to see the toilet swirl in the other direction!!! (I know, silly.)
    5. Alaska and Hawaii to finish the 50-state check-off.

    I do not have a good tolerance for cold weather, so will pass on the adventure trips to see penguins. Nor do I have any inkling of a desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

    Aside from travel, having a novel published would be a great goal — but I’d have to start writing it first. And I’d have to learn how to write fiction. Aside from that, piece of cake. 😉

    I once thought that bicycling across the US would be a great thing to accomplish. I’d need to have some surgery to allow me to do that, so I’ve replaced that goal with one about hiking to all the 4000 foot peaks in my area. Then, to go back to the states I haven’t done a “great hike” and accomplish that.

    So much for the meme that internet dweebs like us sit in the basement eating Cheetos.

  13. I had sex with a beautiful woman who belongs to one of the most famous families in the world. I was only 17.
    God, that’s pathetic. She was drunk. I can’t think of anything else.
    I’m poor and my family was poor and I’m unemployed.
    Oh, I punched out a football lineman who was groping my girlfriend. Again, pathetic. He was drunk, and although I’m not an athlete, I am, as my user name suggests, as big as a lineman.
    Basically, I haven’t done crap. I’m old, unemployed (I’m a print journalist by trade) with no prospects.
    You sound like a bunch of rich guys discussing what 19th-century wines you’ve sampled. I might as well make plans to visit Mars as make a bucket list.

    1. You have my sympathy; I can understand that you feel a bit out of place. But everyone can make their own lists at their own level of achievability, including you.

      Kevin mentioned performing at the Carnegie Hall. Well, I play the piano a bit, but the chances of me performing at a major venue are probably rather smaller than the chances of you or I getting to Mars. So I leave things like that off my list.

  14. I don’t really have a bucket list since I’m not much of a planner, but I also really want to see Bhutan.

    I also wanted to see the trulli houses of Puglia in Italy, and the cave houses of Matera. Checked those off in May this year.

    One other thing: qualifying for and then running the Boston Marathon. Did that in ’05 and 06.

  15. 1)Take a motorcycle trip west of the Mississippi (done twice for 11,000 miles and 17,000 miles)
    2)Visited 80% of continental U.S. National parks (Done)
    3)Walk on a glacier (Done)
    4)Visit the Louvre (Done)

    Not done:
    1)Swim with whale sharks.
    2)Take a long steam engine trip through the U.S. or at least Ohio.
    3)help on an archeological dig in Egypt, Asia, Middle east or Europe.
    4)Visit Auschwitz.
    5)(I liked the Hermitage idea in Leningrad)
    6)See all the hummingbirds of South America.
    7)Take a motorcycle trip across the trans siberian highway from east to west ending the trip in London.

  16. 1) Visit Iceland, whose sagas – particularly Gisli’s Saga and Njal’s Saga so much enriched my adolescence.
    2)Visit the island of Hallaig because of the poem (‘Hallaig’) that the great Gaelic-speaking poet (one of the great poets of the 20th century) Somhairle MacGill-eain wrote.
    3) Visit Heidelberg to see if Holderlin’s bridge is still there (I suspect it is not)
    4) Visit the Southern African mountains of the Drakensberg to see the art of the San (Bushmen), and also to visit the Kalahari and see some actual San people and hear their music and see their dances
    5) Visit Taipei to see the landscape paintings in the museum there
    6) Visit some of the European caves (Lascaux, Altamira) to see the cave-paintings (what fascinates me is the nexus between the arts and religion that lies at their root,
    7) Visit Bali (again) and this time see a true battle at night between Rangda and the Barong, with an actor impersonating a corpse – here art and religion are still not separate
    8) Visit India and hear more of the music, and see Indian theatre and dancing…
    9) Visit Koya-san here in Japan (which I still haven’t done after 35 years here, to my shame)
    10) Visit the tombs of the Taira, defeated in Japan’s great civil war
    11) And yes: see a kakapoko (though I don’t want to be sexually assaulted by one as one bird-lover was on television)
    That’ll do for now… and I don’t have the money…

  17. I’ve been to North Dakota many times. You’re not really missing much.


    Jerry, do I have an ND hike for you. Unbelievable. Gorgeous, rugged topography, cool wildlife (black bear, wolf, elk, moose, golden eagle and more) but some outdoor skills are needed, (which I’m sure you have) trails are in low supply. The eastern part of the state, too.

    You have my email. Let’s go.

  18. When you’re doing your Aussie trip, Jerry, don’t forget to Ultralight over the morning glory clouds in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

    Have to get your timing just right though.

    [Just Google Morning Glory Cloud in Wikipedia].

  19. The movie “Bucket list” isnt bad, btw.
    As to my own list, China is on it, so is New Zealand.Most of the places I would like to go are too dangerous these days, sadly.

  20. Get back to the Olympic peninsula. Hell, just get back to the Pacific Northwest, period. For more than just the annual vacation…

  21. Things I still need to do before the bucket is kicked: visit Iran, India, and most of Europe; spend a year painting (oil); learn to sail; learn French; learn to play the ukulele; visit and study at the SFI; visit the Galapagos; try mescaline and LSD.
    Things I wanted to do before I end and have already done: give birth, adopt a child, live in an AIDS ravaged city in Africa for a while, move to Hawaii, attend an autopsy, realize how we came to be, come out as an atheist, become a vegetarian, and my shining moment- meet and thank Richard Dawkins.

  22. OK, the weekend list is coming along well (replacing the toilet being the most onerous task, and that’s done), so I’m no longer as cranky as I was yesterday morning.

    1) Visited most or all of the 48 states (a lot of that on family vacations while growing up, so my memories are at times a little fuzzy, and I’m not sure which states, if any, we missed).
    2) Visited all 10 provinces (how come you murrikans never mention *that* as worth doing on your lists, huh? Huh?
    3) Along with #1 & 2, visited a whole whack of amazing national parks in both countries. Saw bears and all kinds of neat stuff, in the wild. Climbed up mountains and down caves.
    4) Visited England a whole bunch, also France, Russia, Mexico and Buenos Aires, once each.
    5) Climbed a pyramid at Chichen Itza.
    6) Snorkeled on a coral reef.
    7) Saw the scars left on Jupiter by Shoemaker-Levy, through my own telescope.
    8) Rode in the cab of a steam locomotive.

    To do:
    1) Bunch more traveling; details TBD.
    2) Build a largish model railroad in my basement.
    3) Earn a degree in philosophy, so I can understand half the arguments I read on the blogosphere.

    1. I have visited all the Provinces, except for PEI, Yukon Terr., NWT, and Nunavut, but I guess the last three don’t really count as Provinces, right?

      {I guess your count of 13 does include them. Let’s not split hairs!)

      Been to:

      Nova Scotia
      New Brunswick

      And a lovely and diverse country is La Canada!

  23. What about the poor fishehs? Do they fall & bang their headsehs? (approximation of kitteh for fish!)

    Personally I think, & you may think me a miserable git, that sadly the world cannot afford for everyone to be able to do all those sorts of things & leave the place intact for those who come after… hope this does not sound too worthy!

    I have –
    -Lived in artic Norway for a year
    -seen the northern lights (a lot!)
    -climbed on a glacier
    -gone to the top of Ben Nevis in a blizzard
    -got drunk in a Ukrainian vinyard

    What I would like to do –
    -study biology or zoology
    -visit Siberia
    -visit Greenland
    -ride a horse in Mongolia
    -see a wild Bactrian Camel
    -see a wolf in the wild
    -give a scientifuic name to a newly discovered species
    -convince other people that responsibility for preserving the world starts with ourselves

  24. Wow.. Is the Angel Falls video beautiful or what? set to great music… I love this blog, man.

    Not a big traveller to have a bucket list of my own.. but I highly recommend viewing the night sky from a really dark site. The Milky Way’s Galactic plane is a beautiful sight. Your first reaction? “OMG! WTF is that”? I hope to travel to Arizona with a telescope some day. The Atacama desert in Chile is a faraway dream.

  25. An estimable list!

    In one long trip, I hit many of my bucket entries.

    Trek in Nepal
    New Zealand
    Visit my ancestral home in Norway
    UK end-to-end
    Climb a peak higher than 15K feet
    All 50 US states
    See at least some of the great African game
    Touch the Mediterranean
    Touch the Southern Ocean
    See penguins
    Egypt (pyramids, antiquities, red sea diving)
    White water kayaking
    Telemark ski down mountains
    Climb mountains that require Cl5 rock climbing
    Learn to play fingerstyle guitar
    Marry the best woman I know
    Have kids
    Learn to speak several languages (at least functionally)

    Still on the list:
    India generally, and the Taj Mahal
    (See these great shots by Steve McCurry, go to Galleries, India, and page ahead to amazing unusual shots of the Taj.)
    Seeing Everest (maybe from the north)
    Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
    China (great wall, Xian, Beijing, Kashgar, Turfan Depression)
    Indonesia (Jogjakarta, Bali (away from the Denpasar area)
    Touch the Indian and Arctic Oceans
    Leptis Magna
    Greece and the Greek Islands
    The high Andes in Peru
    Macchu Picchu
    Climb Aconcagua
    Punta Arenas in Tierra del Fuego
    Hike in the Torres de Paine NP
    Learn 5 languages (like all my European friends)

    I could go on and on. Verbal diarrhea again I guess.

  26. A recommendation, when you go to New Zealand to see a Kakapo, check out this island bird sanctuary called Tiritiri Maitangi. They don’t have kakapos, but they’ve got all kinds of endemic NZ birds. The funniest ones are the Takahes, because the ones they have are remarkably domestic, they tend to try and steal food from the place where tourists have lunch (despite warnings).

  27. Random, I know…
    -Meet and hang out with Roger Daltrey
    -Go to the Galapagos
    -Go to England
    -Get backstage at a Rolling Stones concert(I don’t care how old they are!)
    -Actually be able to get a job with my Zoology degree
    -Move out of Ohio
    -Have a new amphibian species named after me
    -Swim with sharks

  28. I would move the South Africa big game trip to the top of the to-do list.
    I’ve been once and would go again in a heartbeat.
    Galapagos is #1 on my list.

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