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THE SUTHERLAND WATERFALL

A reporter of the Otago " Daily Times," who has recently visited this newly discovered wonder of the West Coast, supplies to that journal the following graphic description : — At last we were close up to the Sutherland ~ Fall — the highest waterfall m the world. The falls m the Yoeemite Valley, m the aggregate, are higher than our own grand fall ; but as the Yosemite Falls are a succession of falls, and the Sutherland is prac'ically one fall, tho latter still carries off the palm. The photographic views exhibited m Dunedin are taken from a point too much to one side to give an idea of the fall as seen by a person standing close m front of it Bocky points hide part of the fall, taking a side view, and make the three leaps appear much more abrupt than they realty are. We stood back as far as the | bush would permit, and m silence gazod upon this noble manifestation of Nature's handiwork, hidden so long from the peering eyes of inquisitive man, as though too awful and ton grand for him to behold . The mountain gorge which gives the Sutherland Fall birth has been gouged out ly glaciers, a large one Btill lying oa the southern slope of Moant Hart, from which the head waters of the stream issue. Part of this glacier, whloh no one knows the length of, lies m the valley between Mounts Bart and Sutherland, and part dips somewhere towards a valley runnbg parallel to the Clinton Valley. la w'nter, when frost s^als up the mountain springs, the stream Is much diminished In sizi; bat still a fair stream always flows towards the frowning preclpice, over which It plunges with snch fury and turmoil. We aaw the grand fall under most favourable circumstances, for tbe warm soft rains of the previous day and night had melted the snow on the heights and increased the volume of water rushing over the fall to twice Its ordinary quantity. The water, born of the ioa and snow enthroned on the high cold Bides of the mountain behind, debouches over a narrow guloh worn m the took by its ceaseless rush and makes one mad leap of 815 ft before it pauses for an instant, measurable only by a lightning flisb, to leap again In foam and spray 751 ft ; another pause and then tbe final leap of 338 ft is taken, the immense volume of water falling into a pool of unmeasured aud Immeasurable depth With the roar of an earthquake and the breath of a tornado, oasting the spray far and wide. In the attempt to describe snob a manifestation of Nature's powers, and such a specimen of Nature's things of beauty, one feels the Inadequacy of human language (o translate Into intelligible language tbe deep emotion culled forth, This crowning speotaole of all the wild, weird, and wondrous sights m and around Milford Sound must be seen ; It cannot be described, not painted, nor photographed. It is at onoe magnificent and awful m Its wild tumultoas beauty, as it drowns out of hearing altogether the numerous brawling waterfalls, ribbing the black rock faces of the mountains around with white stripes, and covers by tbe volume of its sound the noisy Stream, taking up its broken waters and hurrying them over rapids and falls to meet tbe waters of the Poseidon below. As the rumbling, broken water Issues from between the granite bonds that confine it, it seems to spring for the leap like some prancing white steed just freed from the retD, The leap onoe taken, shoots of water Hke tongqes of fl ime appear to grow out of the mass, and lengthen out as though eager to lick the rocks on the ledge at the first break. This strange phenomenon, also visible at the Bowen Fall, is repeated at every leap, till the rent waters gather up their broken spray and settle down to rest In the quieter stream of the valley. Some of my readers may have seen dense white masres of smoke rising from some great con filtration, and perhaps may ha< c noticed how the flames below forced op •hoots of w.hlte amoke which quivered m the wind as if foeliog for aome victim to lick with their fiery toDgues. Reverse this phenomenon and you will have some idea of the vppearanoe of the waters !oiping down the rocky steep whloh constitutes tbe Sutherland Fall. The shoots of water closely resemble the points of white smoke leaping up from a smothered fire, only tbat the tongues of water leap downward—as though old Vulcan's forge stood on the brow above, and the cold ice wind at the foot of the fall were the breath of his bellows — volumes of white smoke m leaping tongues and rolling massao, Into the pooi below. The tremendous energy of the falling water, aided by the off jhoota whioh leap out m all directions, so acts upon the air through whloh it passes that it maintains a little hurricane of its own, whioh forces the spray m a wild drift far out from the pool tbat receives the spent waters of the fail. To face this gale, cold as the breath of tbe Ice which glvei birth to the streem, with its close drifting spray, requires waterproof clothing. That we were not provided with, bo that m a few minutes' time we were wet to the skin. The wind generated by the fall ia so strong and the drift so tbiok as to outdo m violence the severest natural storm of wind and rain. The force of the falling water drives out the boulders which come down from above till they have formed a raised bank at the far Bide of the pool. Standing upon this, and looking Into the troubled pool, oce might easily imagine that he was gazing Into the portal of Hades, so much do the rent and torn waters resemble the smoke of fire and brimstone, Bare stones crowd the mound raised along the edge of tho pool, and a little way back stunted, wiry grass, all laid flat with the miniature hurricane, makes its appearance ; while still farther bapk shrubs and finally heavy bush, always drenched In spray, oame In. As the rain was again facing heavily before we reached the; fall, we did not see any of tbe pretty sunshine (fleets.

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890116.2.21

Bibliographic details

THE SUTHERLAND WATERFALL, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2038, 16 January 1889

Word Count
1,071

THE SUTHERLAND WATERFALL Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2038, 16 January 1889

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