08/25/2014, St George, Grenada
A friend of mine here in Grenada publishes a very good map of Grenada and her sister islands. It is a tourist map, and this one takes care to mention historical sites and some of the more interesting natural attractions. He has Tufton Falls on the map. He is also the publisher of "Discover Grenada", a useful tourist guide, and also mentions that hike in there. This is a hike that has intrigued me for a while.
I finally did a shout out to the Grenada hashers to see if someone else was interested in doing this hike. It ends up there were 13 other people who were interested... but not everyone knew what they were getting into. Tufton Falls is arguably the toughest hike that one can do without wielding a machete and bushwhacking your own trail. No, you only have to climb up a river for about 3.5 hours.
Rolf, my publishing friend, was one of the hikers. He had never done the full hike, and since his birthday was the next day, the timing was ideal for him. We had a medical student, Mia, who decided that this would be a neat hike to do on her birthday and coerced three other friends to join her. A few more experienced hashers and cruisers rounded out the group.
The hike starts out going through some farmers' fields, and we saw nutmeg and cocoa, as well as staple foods like dasheen/callalloo and bananas. Eventually, the focus becomes more concentrated on the river. At this point, it turns into more of a spawn than a hike at times. Hikers pass through mini rapids and climb rocks down which water cascades merrily down and around. There is no way anyone could ever hope to stay dry on this hike.
At about 45 minutes in, we had the first casualty. One of the cruisers slipped and tried to catch his balance on a large rock. Unfortunately for him, the rock wasn't as solid as it looked to be, and he broke his wrist. I was going to walk back with him to the parking area, but one of the medical students said that she had enough and was willing to accompany our wounded companion back. Fortunately for him it was a very stable fracture, and they took their time getting back down.
We continued on. Sometimes we would find a trail that went off to the side and would help us avoid the more formidable climbs. In all of this, we were surrounded by cascades of water leaping off boulders and rock walls, with little calm areas giving way to more rushing water as it coursed through a narrowing in the stream bed. Footing varied from pebble bottom to slippery rocks, or possibly even a pool that was too deep to wade. We all took turns leading and looking for alternate routes around the larger obstacles.
There were some tricky areas, with poor footing or slick rocks, but we managed to get through it without further major injury. We did end up with only two of us not paying the "forest tax" in blood or bruises, and some paid more than others. Our friend Dalynn slid down off a path when her hand hold broke, basically beating up her left side. It was too late for any possible stitches for her elbow by the time we returned to civilization. The abrasion on her left leg was quite colourful.
We finally got up to what may be dubbed as either "WTF Rock" (everyone's initial reaction at seeing it) or "Chicken Rock", for the two of us who chose not to go up it. This is a rocky drop (or climb when going up) that someone has put a rope on. It goes behind a waterfall, and then one must use the rope and the slick looking rocks to climb up the rest of the way. This is the path to the Tufton Falls. This is when I said "no, not me". One other person had the same feeling, and the rest continued up. The pictures of the upper part are quite impressive, and I WILL get up there this year. I just thought of the accidents I have been around while hiking and having fun, and it just didn't seem worth it. If something had happened to me, Ken would have been very upset. (When he saw the pictures, Ken actually commented that he was relieved I didn't go up. He is not so happy about me saying I want to go back.)
When we regrouped (some looked more practiced than others at the rope thing), we had a bite of lunch and headed down. Going down had some advantages, as some of the chutes and up climbs were much easier to go down. There were a few natural slides into pools that a couple of us took advantage of. But we still had to slog down the river to get back. We found a few more trails that made it a touch easier to get down, but it still took about careful footing and work to climb back down the river.
We made it back to the last river crossing. We cleaned the river gravel out of our shoes and socks, and had a nice soak in the cool water, getting a little dirt off, checking for wounds, and relaxing. We then headed back the rest of the way to the cars and our bus... and our wounded who waited for us through it all.
We stopped for birthday rum for Mia and Rolf, and a shot and a beer for our injured. Well, they weren't the only ones to have a drink. And we stopped for (somewhat) frozen custard at Mom's rum shop on the drive back down from Victoria. We eventually managed to communicate with everyone "back home" to let them know we were alive, as we actually thought the hike would be about 4 hours round trip! Cell phone coverage was not an option on the river, or even where the cars were.
We ended up taking 7.5 hours to do it all (okay, I waited for about an hour of that for the others at Chicken Rock). We did not waste a lot of time, and moved pretty steadily. The hike is a workout, and all of us felt our muscles protest the next day, both upper and lower body. It is a hike that takes you through rapids and water chutes, through mud and bush, easily traversed fords and areas that challenge the most practiced trekkers. And I will do it again! Just next time, we may not do a return trip, but continue up and over Mt. St. Catherine, the highest peak in Grenada. I doubt it could be much harder.
Photo courtesy Dalynn Kearney
|Limin' in the Caribbean||
08/09/2014, St. Georges, Grenada
While on the dock, another job Ken wanted to tackle was to clean our fuel and the fuel tank. We have done this before at anchor, and it isn't a problem, but since we are on the dock, it is still a good job to do.
Before leaving Toronto, we installed an access port in our diesel tanks (we had installed an extra one before departing that we have since found a new home for.... it was nice to have for the longer passages). We have heard of, and know, people who have had crap agitated up in their tanks at a bad time and bunging up their fuel systems. We decided that the ability to actually clean the tank out would probably be useful.
First part of the job was emptying out the remaining diesel in the tank. Our suction oil pump was good for this. The first couple of litres were sacrificed to clean out the residual oil in the pump. The rest of it was decanted into our jerry cans, keeping one jerry can empty.
The fuel is then poured from one jerry can to the next through a filter to clear out the water and larger bits of stuff. I stuck my hand into the now empty diesel tank with paper towels to thoroughly wipe down and clean the sides and bottom (I get the job as my arms are a little slimmer and longer than Ken's). There wasn't a lot of stuff in there, as this is the fourth time we have done this in 6 years, but it is still well worth doing it, as some stuff comes up that is better found in the paper towel than in the fuel system, or plugging up the filters..
The diesel than gets put back into the tank. Simple.
|Limin' in the Caribbean||