I first read this account of history being made on a recent hiking trip to St. Kitts and Nevis by the St. Croix Hiking Association in the Democrat Newspaper for the week of Saturday July 31st - August 6th, 2004.
It tells of this group's adventure while exploring the mountain trails of St Kitts and Nevis, and of history being made on their treks to Mt. Liamuiga and Dos D'Anse Pond. Their hiking trip took them to the rainforest, Mt. Liamuiga and Dos D'Anse Pond in St. Kitts and Mt Nevis, said to be one of the roughest hikes in the Caribbean.
From the report, the time spent in St. Kitts and Nevis by the St. Croix Hiking Association appears to have been an exciting hiking vacation, since, in addition to the hiking, they found time to explore some of the many heritage sites and natural attractions that St. Kitts and Nevis are well known for. And of course they took in some shopping and sampled the night life including the 2004 St Kitts Music Festival. So was that a deliberate plan to have the hiking trip to St. Kitts and Nevis coincide with the annual St Kitts Music Festival, or was it a stroke of luck that they happened to be in the right place at the right time? My guess is as good as yours... But, whatever the answer to that question is, they certainly explored a whole lot of St. Kitts and Nevis, in a single hiking trip... certainly more that some of us have done in a lifetime living in St Kitts and Nevis. I certainly have to agree with the St. Croix Hiking Association when they said that they levelled St. Kitts and Nevis flat to the ground.
Having read the article in the newspaper, I contacted the author Olasee Davis to seek permission to reprint this article on my website. Thank you Olasee, for granting permission to publish your report on my website. To you my visitors and regulars, sit back and enjoy this report on a hiking trip with a couple of firsts by Olasee Davis of the St. Croix Hiking Association.
by Olasee Davis, St. Croix
Recently, the St. Croix Hiking Association came off its annual hiking trip from the Caribbean.
This time,it was St. Kitts and Nevis. These two islands are part of the Leeward Islands of the West Indies archipelago. They are two of the relatively young volcanic islands stretching from Saba to Grenada. In 1493, Christopher Columbus spotted St. Kitts. He named the island after himself Saint Christopher.
St. Kitts is 23 miles long and 6 1/2 miles wide given it 65 square miles with a population of over 32,000 people. Nevis with a population of 11, 245 people is 36 square miles separated by a two mile channel on the south eastern peninsula of St. Kitts. The two islands were colonized by Europeans.
Our first hike on St. Kitts took place on Sunday with tour guides Hugh Rogers, Edwin's James, and Roy a local farmer. We hiked to a wet/ rain forest. This was a secondary forest with most of it being cultivated with cane many years ago. Such sights as 'fat pork' known locally in the Virgin Islands as coco plum, palm trees, and many species of ferns dominate the forest floor. Hugh Rogers, who has a passion for the environment of St. Kitts was surprised when the group mentioned it was a "walk in the park".
The following day, we hiked to Mt. Liamuiga, the highest peak on St. Kitts of 3,792 feet above sea level. Mt. Liamuiga means "fertile island" which was named by the "Caribs Indians". This mountain is located at the center of the island with slopes built from volcanic turf.
It has deep guts that dissect the side of the mountain. We drove through a large cane field until we got to the bottom of the mountain. From this spot, we hiked up a path with large trees, vines hanging from tree branches, mosses on banks of trees, and with large roots protruding up from the ground. Eventually, the forest gives away to a woodland with a mystical feeling, especially with the presence of the Green Monkeys in the area.
The forest floor was wet and many times you have to be careful where you put your foot. As we got closer to the crater, it got steeper and colder. The youngest on this volcanic hike was Aaron Phillips, native of St. Croix year and just half a year old. He got back rides all the way up to over 2,600 feet above sea level. According to Hugh, Aaron made history in St. Kitts to be the first child to back ride up a steep mountain. Believe me; the volcanic crater on top with cloud covering us was awesome.
The next day, we tour the island historic sites. Some were the World Heritage Site of Brimstone Hill, the Bloody Point, Churches, Black Rock, and the south eastern peninsula. On Wednesday, we sailed to Nevis to hike one of the toughest hikes in the Caribbean.
This peak is known as Mt Nevis. When Columbus sighted Nevis in 1493, he said the peak reminded him of the snow covered mountains of Las Nieves in the Pyrenees of Spain.
The peak of Nevis is 3,232 feet above sea level. Cloud covers the peak all year around. As we started at the base of the mountain, the clouds were thick. The tour guide explained to us that the hike is rough. We all prepared ourselves mentally. For some of us, we started to sweat before the hike began. The two tour guides led us up the mountain, one staying in front of us while the other one brought up the rear.
We hiked through an abandoned pasture. Here, some of us ate Surinam cherry and coco plum along the way. Then all of a sudden, the vegetation changes to a tropical rain forest. The forest became somewhat dark as we walked upon rocks and wet leaves on the path.
As we crossed a gut on the hike we started using ropes. From here, everything was up the mountain with the ropes. The group took a beating with strong wind, and mud up the mountain. The trail was extremely slippery with the rain from the night before. Some of us crawled in the mud holding on for our life onto ropes or any trees along the path. As we got higher in the mountain, it seemed that you will fall off the earth. But the group was adventurous and tough. On the way up, the cloud covered us with fog.
Finally, we arrived on top of the summit. The clouds were all around us, and it was cold with strong wind. We eat and sang happy birthday for Luz. Our clothes were mudded included our faces and almost every inch of our bodies.
The following morning, we toured the historic sites on Nevis.
The last hike took place on St. Kitts. We hiked to D'os Dane Pond over 3,000 feet above sea level in the central mountains of St. Kitts.
This hike was the hike of all hikes with its beauty and heavenly environment. Image you flying above the cloud and still seeing the green mountains. Believe me; it was that and much more. It was a pathway to glory on earth. On top of the mountain is a fresh water pond almost totally covered with fog and mists. Kiwan John, another native Cruzan, and who is just 6 years old made history in St. Kitts and Nevis by hiking the highest peaks on the islands.
Before we came home, Saturday was the shopping day in St. Kitts. There were as well many night activities including the music festival. We all agree, we levelled St. Kitts and Nevis flat to the ground.
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