Tuesday, July 28, 2009

June 5

On Friday, everyone except the graduate students ventured to Cunha Cunha Pass. It was about an hour drive east to the community of Hayfield. The drive was fine until we had to venture up a mountain, a pretty steep one at that. Our taxi driver Rowen wasn't very excited about taking his low-sitting Impala up the washed out road full of ruts, rock piles, and water run off ditches. It took the two vehicles about an hour to climb the mountain up to the trail head; needless to say we gave the drives a nice tip when we arrived. When we reached the top we met our trail guide, Shaggy. He is on the left in the photo below. Shaggy was a great guy and this was evident from the start. After all our greetings and a quick picture, we were off.

As you can see, Shaggy hiked the five mile trail in flip flops. Cunha Cunha pass was no walk in the park, it involves climbing up one mountain and down another. The trails snake their way through the Blue and John Crow Mountains, these trails were once used by the Maroons. I thought the hike was really enjoyable even though my pack was the heaviest of everyone's (damn cameras). Shaggy and the other guides even built two rest stop areas with shade, benches, and out houses. When we got to our camp, I was completely surprised. The facilities were exceptional; we weren't "roughin' it" like we were lead to believe. After stashing our belongings in our cabins and visiting the restrooms, which were better than some hotels I've stayed in, we ate lunch in the screened pavilion. After lunch Shaggy took us to a swimming hole on the river. We had fun cooling off and splashing around with our guide.

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