e’d been hunting in the forest’s depths for months, but he’dnever known such silence. No monkeys shook the leaves over-head, no birds cried, no insects droned. The only sounds seemed tocome from within: the pulse throbbing in his temples and his ownlabored breathing.The previous day the young man had hiked what he guessed wasabout eighteen miles before collapsing into sleep. But those trailshadn’t been nearly as challenging as this one—a muddy ribbon twist-ing up the forested mountainside, inset with loose boulders of graniteand quartz. He was in good shape and just twenty-ﬁve years old, buteach step took its toll. He fell behind his companions, whose bare feetgripped the slippery rocks better than did his leather boot soles. Hisblue cotton shirt and brown pants were streaked with mud.Somewhere along the way—it was hard to tell exactly where itbegan—the gentlest of whispers broke through the enveloping hush.The higher he climbed, the louder it got: a breathy hiss that grew intoa roar. Twisting through the overgrown vegetation, he found the othermen standing on a broad, ﬂat shelf of land. A scene like none he’d everwitnessed burst open in front of him: a vast pool of swirling water,fed by a majestic torrent that spilled down the angled slope for whatlooked like a mile. A mist rose from the tumult, obscuring everythingin a gauzy veil: the swaying ferns, the logs slanting across the water,the trees ringing the banks. According to his calculations, they wereabout ﬁve thousand feet above sea level.