Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reef Bay Trail

This is the day that nearly killed us.

We parked at a trailhead along a mountain road and started hiking down. The trail was beautiful in itself, and made all the more fascinating by the various ruins it passed by

and the wildlife we sometimes passed under.
The objective of the hike was to get to a small waterfall near the bottom of the mountain.
But the waterfall itself was not the attraction. Into the rocks along the side of one particular pool are carved the Petroglyphs.
Estimated to have been carved (or rubbed) by the Tainos as many as 400 years before Colombus showed up to ruin the party .

It was simply awe-inspiring to sit on the rocks and look across the pool at these figures. No fences, no railings, no gift shops- just us and the work of these ancient people.

After hanging out for a while and pondering the petroglyphs, we hiked the rest of the way down the mountain to the former Reef Bay sugar mill/rum factory. Its one of the best preserved ruins in the VI since it was still producing into the 20th century.

In the 1860's it had converted over to steam power and chugged away until finally being abandoned after a hurricane in 1916.

Well, not completely abandoned.

So then we had to hike back up.

Two and a half miles and nearly 1000ft up.

The deer along the trail knew they were in no danger from the bedraggled hikers coming up from the bottom.

All this before lunch.
After, we hiked another couple of miles to swim out to and around Waterlemon Cay.

In an effort to pack lightly I didn't take my underwater camera housing- which I regretted as soon as I put my face in the water. There were hundreds of big red Cushion Stars all over a sandbar off the side of the key!

Here's a link to much more detailed info on the hike- including the fact that we could've hopped on a boat at the beach if we had waited for a guided tour.

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