Sunday, June 21, 2009


Some parts of Trinidad don’t have any roads, so the only way to see them is to walk. A local group, Hiker’s World, planned a hike on the remote Northeastern coast, starting in Matelot and finishing in Blanchisessuse, 20 miles later. We signed up to go with them. Before permitting us to go on the hike, we had to prove ourselves in a “practice hike,” that was “much more difficult” than the actual hike (not that there was a practice hike for that one). The practice hike was about 4 hours of straight hills, which isn’t that big of deal, except that there was some miscommunication. When I hear the word “hike,” I think “medium walking pace,” “time to stop and look at the view” and “rest stops.” Interestingly enough, Hiker’s World, while a separate entity completely from the hashers we trail-run with every other weekend, do the same. People yelled at us to go faster, yelled at us to not tie our shoe laces, and one guy even trampled past me when I tripped and fell. Still, it’s cheaper than hiring guides to have taken us.
The hike-a-thon started at 7 AM Saturday, May 30th. To get there by that time, we met the group in downtown Port-of-Spain at 2 AM and rode a maxi to Matelot, soca blasting and lights blaring for most of the 4 hour drive. Dazed, we started the hike on the sandy beach of the small town. The day fluctuated between isolated, beautiful beaches and thick, sweaty jungle. I tried to make new friends, but after my first attempt, stopped (“Don’t be offended, but do you know what a turon is? Nope! What? A tourist moron. Oh.). Instead, I enjoyed the forests of heliconia, with a slashed passageway like a tropical Narnia, and swam in small, lonesome coves out of The Tempest. I felt grateful that we were able to witness such a different part of Trinidad—all beauty and no pollution. As we walked across the last bridge, six hours after we started, they handed us chicken pelau (similar to jambalaya) and T-shirts: The thrill of the victory and the agony of de feet!

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