St. John has a wealth of hiking trails that you must take advantage of if you’re on the island (and like hiking, of course!). While staying at Great Lameshur Bay, we hiked the appropriately named Lameshure Bay Trail. Our goal was the Indian petroglyphs that we’d heard so much about. We started out on a dirt road that soon turned into a well-tended trail. The steep slope was enough to get our hearts going, but the climb wasn’t long, and the views from on high were well worth the effort. Heading downhill, we made our way into the valley, or gut, as it’s called locally. It’s cooler and moister in the guts, which is probably why folks long ago built a great house down here, where it’s more comfortable than in the hot dry forest. The ruins of the house were on a spur off of the main trail, right next to a now-dry rocky streambed that’s probably quite lively during the rainy season. We even saw a deer bounding through the forest here! Back to the main trail, and we kept going downhill, finally reaching the stream-bed again (we probably could have gotten here directly from the great house by following the stream bed), where we picked up the Petroglyph Trail. Just a half mile further, past a neat stone wall, we reached the petroglyphs! They are carved into the stones that line a couple of small freshwater pools. The pools are fed by a spring that keeps them full. When we were there, just a trickle of water wended its way down the rocks into the upper pool, but during the rainy season, the trickle expands into a waterfall. But this day the pools were quiet, dragonflies zipped back and forth, and we relaxed and sipped our water in peace while gazing at the petroglyphs mirrored in the still water. The petroglyphs were carved by the Taino people around 500-1500 AD; the designs apparently spiritual symbols also seen on Taino pottery. At the risk of being profane, I have to say that some of the designs looked to me like aliens and happy faces. We were hot, sweaty and tired when we got home, but that’s the beauty about living on a boat—we just jumped in the clear water to cool off.
|Alien face on the left|
|Is that a smiley face or what?|
P.S. The Lameshure Bay Trail is where we saw all the millipedes I blogged about in an earlier Creature Feature. Interestingly, we saw them only along the trail on the western side of the hill between Lameshur Bay and the petroglyphs. I guess there’s something about the micro-climate or vegetation here that the millipedes like.