It rained cats and dogs that morning, but a trip had to be embarked upon; nothing could stand in the way of the promise of Ikogosi warm spring and expectations of Erin Ijesha waterfalls.

The beauty of nature and serenity of its ambiance would not be deterred by the weeping sky, a recent regularity in Lagos.

With that mindset, I braved the elements, brushed off the relentless rain and made it down to the meeting point – to meet with my co-travellers.

After a 2-hour wait for the rain-delayed fellow sojourners, we headed out on a trip facilitated by Google Photos.

Having had prior experience of a similar trip with some of the same company, I made wiser seating decisions on the jet-on-wheels; I chose the compartment closest to the sleeping area.

The journey of hours had series of highs – which included games, exciting banter, lots of laughter, and acquaintances, which were easily made bereft of inhibitions.

Later, there would be some sleeping, quiet chats, junk-eating, social media updating and work, for those who cared to.

Outside, people became landscape, then to empty expanse of lands, later woods, hills and sometimes trees.

On and on, this continued for hours.

Such was the sight-routine of the journey to the nature freaks while inside an equally chilly bus, anticipation and excitement seeped through like a virus embracing willing prey with great verve.

The promise of the hike and sights to behold could not be more pronounced.

We were sold.

THE 7-STEP WATERFALLS

Erin-Ijesha has seven steps which create multiple cascades of water pouring over a precipice.

In anticipation of such a sight, we disembarked with bated breaths as we pulled up at the gated hill-surrounded waterfalls.

The excited arrival
The excited arrival
A quick photo before entering a relic of history
A quick photo before venturing into the preserved expanse of history
What's a sight-seeing trip without a musician and a willing dancer
What’s a sight-seeing trip without a musician and a willing dancer
The full band
The full band
In the music
In the music
Up we go
Up we go

Oduduwa, progenitor of Yoruba race, gave Erin Ijesha (also known as Olumurin), its name which also means peace.

In the year 1140 AD, Akinla, founder of Erin-Ijesha town and a granddaughter of Oduduwa, discovered the falls.

This happened during the migration of Ife people to Erin- Ijesa.

Beauty is hidden
Beauty is hidden
Art for the weary
Art for the weary

As one forges into the deep of the falls, the atmosphere becomes cooler and several trains of water can be seen flowing through the rocks, contributing its quota to the scenery.

Water coursing through the rocks
Water coursing through the rocks
And it flows
And it flows
And flows
And flows
Alas, a waterfall
Alas, a waterfall

Once you approach a fall, you’re faced with a bliss indescribable and an aura, too soothing to be contaminated by any form of pollution.

At that moment, every iota of stress, weight, and burden evaporates from your body and you feel as light as flailing feather.

You are more relaxed than you’ve ever been and equally impressed by the intimidating falls.

Mitch, Google South Africa and the tour guide in awe
Mich Atagana, Google South Africa and the tour guide in awe

Legend has it that the fall is a living spirit spewing water from several mouths.

Wet
Wet, drenched, healed
The hike would end at level 2
The hike would – unfortunately – end at level 2
One for the road
One for the road.

THE QUARRELSOME WIVES

Ogangan, a farmer, many many years ago married two wives who never saw eye-to-eye; Awele was hot tempered, while Awon was calm, demure.

Historical edifice
The confluence point

Failing to agree on anything, one day they got into a fight using their magical powers, and they eventually turned into water, says the Legend.

Awele became the warm water while Awon is said to be the cold water at Ikogosi.

On the pathway to the warm spring, surrounded by trees
On a brook walk lane to the warm spring, surrounded by trees
We come across a palm wine joint - while still en route
We come across a forsaken palm wine joint – while still en route
Picture time
Picture time

Upon getting back to see what had become of his wives, Olosun transformed into a rock to guide them. Olosun is the hills surrounding the spring.

Meeting point of the cold and warm spring
Meeting point of the cold and warm spring
We couldn't resist
We couldn’t resist
The spring flows forth
The spring flows forth
The water is said to have curative powers
The water is said to have curative powers
Oh what a view!
Oh what a view!

Of course, there other myths associated with the warm spring: one says a hunter discovered the spring while on an expedition and upon his return to the village, he reported his finding.

Subsequently, the community started worshiping the water because of its supposed therapeutic and curative ability.

REVEREND McGEE

In the 1960s, Tai Solarin, late Nigerian educator and author, after taking his students to the site for a tour, urged John S. McGee of Baptist church, to build a students’ camp around the area.

McGee, a Southern Baptist missionary, against all counsel visited the source of the hot and cold springs.

“After seeing it, I felt that it could be used for a good purpose. I discussed the possible use of it with some of the Mission and (Nigerian Baptist) Convention friends. With the growing interest of Royal Ambassador work, and youth work, we felt that it could best be used by building a Youth Camp. I took it up with the Ekiti Association and we decided to build a camp for our R.A.s and G.A.s”, said an account given by McGeee, who was based in Igede, a nearby town.

What McGee built would be named Baptist “Warm Springs” Camp but when his family left Nigeria, the property was sold to the Nigerian government for N300,000 in 1978.

the-story-behind-the-cold-and-warm-springs-copy

The warm spring has a temperature up to 70oC at the source and 37oC after meeting the cold spring at the confluence.



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