Saturday, December 7, 2013

Muddy and Bloody

Anne hiking up the trail, Crater Lake in the background, and the white house beyond is the Grand Etang visitor center

Beautiful fern
That about sums up our hike up Mount Qua Qua the other day. Grand Etang is a large national park in Grenada. Easy to get to—just a #1 or 2 bus (from Prickly Bay or Clarkes Court Bay, respectively) to St. Georges, then a #6 bus that drops you right at the park’s visitor center—the park has some great hiking trails. From the visitor center, the trailhead we sought was just down the road. It wandered through the forest, with occasional views down to aptly named Crater Lake, a lake within an ancient volcano crater. The muddy part started immediately, as we squished through some pretty large churned-up areas. This is a rain forest, so we expected some mud. The problem is that there are these nice rocky spots that just cry out for you to settle your foot for good holding, except they’re not actually rock, but slick clay. So, that’s how my right leg became mud-coated from ankle to hip. Not to worry about the asymmetry; I coated the left leg on the way down. The bloody part came in the form of trees that leaned low across the path. The combination of hat brim and looking down to secure your footing in the mud led to several instances of head bashing. No trees were injured on this hike; it was our blood that was shed. The trail followed the ridgeline and was quite narrow (less than 2 feet wide) in some parts, with steep drop-offs to both sides, which made for great views of the rainforest below. Though it was quite warm and sunny at lower elevations, higher up, veils of mist swept across the ridge, cooling us off nicely. We ate our cheese sandwiches and apples at the peak in a light rain shower. About three hours after we started, we arrived back at the visitor center, where we hosed off our filthy shoes and clothes, then sat in the sun to dry while we enjoyed a couple of beers. It was a great, inexpensive way to get out and about for a day. Total bus fares were $20EC (less than $8US), and entrance fee to the visitor center was $5.34 ($2US) each. Beers were the most expensive part of the venture ($12/2 beers x 2 rounds = $24EC about $9US), but a nice treat for our efforts. Oh, and did I mention the gorgeous views down the island to St. Georges? They made the mud and blood worth it.

View south toward St. Georges
Pretty trailside flowers (not sure why pic is upside-down)
Enjoying a well-earned cool libation

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