Sunday, July 19, 2009

virgin islands dispatch #2

when i woke up this morning, my pants were still wet and my legs were incredibly stiff. the condition of the former was due to being put on over wet bikini bottoms 3 times yesterday, being caught in the rain in the middle of a trail once, and, about half an hour after finishing last night's post (which was 15 minutes after i'd hung them to dry on my clothesline and 5 minutes after i left my tent-cottage in my pajamas to donate some extra soap and shampoo to the maho bay camp "recycling center"), we had what could only be descibed as a "gullywasher". there i was, trapped in white pajamas, waiting for the thunder/lightning/downpour to abate, and my pants, which to this point were actually almost dry, were getting an extra rinse.

the latter condition was due to hiking what i figure to be a hair over 7 miles yesterday. i can't remember if i already listed where i went last night (tonight's internet time is being paid for with my good looks, charm, and right leg), but in the morning, i checked out francis bay (mostly because i was intrigued by the picture in my guidebook of the tile floor at the estate house ruins),

(this picture's mine- i tried to pick out the one out of the dozen or so that showed both the architecture and the tile)

the ruins at the annaberg sugar mill, and hiked over to waterlemon bay. i would've hiked the johnny hart (i hope that's right- the book is back at my tent-cottage) trail, but wound up turning around at the guardhouse ruins, since my camera battery was low and i tend to get a little....photohappy. my knees voiced some very definite opinions during the climb back up the maho bay camp driveway, but apparently this is not abnormal when one reaches old age.

lunch was a day-old steak sandwich at big maho bay (the camp where i'm staying is at little maho bay, which gave me a chance to try out the 1/4 mile "goat trail".)

i got bored after about 20 minutes on the beach, so i caught mr. frett's taxi over to cruz bay, where i finally got my national park passport stamped. while there, i asked if there were any local trails, and about half an hour later, i was in the middle of the lind point trail when it started raining. (thankfully, whenever i pack my camera, i also pack a baggie, just in case.) as i'm sure i've already mentioned, the rain continued (intermittently) for the rest of the day.

as for the stiff legs (you thought i was going to leave you hanging, didn;t you?), i did what any normal, rational person would do....i decided to hike some more.

with rain in the forecast again today, i inquired at the activities desk as to whether it would be better to hike over to trunk bay (where the national park service maintains an underwater snorkeling trail), or to head south, to the reef bay trail, which features a waterfall and some petroglyphs (the two fastest ways to sell me on a hike). the girl i asked didn't really have a set opinion, so i figured i'd just start walking and see where i wound up.

as it happened, i missed the trail that would have led me up the mountain to the reef bay trail, so i headed toward trunk bay. along the way, i stopped at cinnamon bay to check out the ruins of another sugar mill,

as well as the danish graveyard, and then continued westward along the highway. there were a couple of stunning views from the road, and i managed to take a few decent pictures, along with several off-center ones of myself. (as you might imagine, though i looked fine when i set out on today's hike, but the second mile, i looked like a sweaty, drowned rat.*)

i wound up passing trunk bay, after realizing it really wasn't that much farther to peace hill, where there's a semi-restored windmill and some really great views. (the christ of the caribbean used to be here, as well, but was taken out by a hurricane in the 90's. according to the website i just linked to, there's a plaque there, but somehow, i missed it. who knows? i may have been sitting on it while taking a spiffy photo (one spiffy one out of 7 attempts, mind you) with a wooden totem sort of thing that was nestled in the ruins.

on the way back, i attempted a snorkel at trunk bay (let's just say i made it to the sign that tells you where the trail is), where i also managed to eat most of my chicken salad wrap, before a rather aggressive bird swooped in from behind (while the wrap was in my hands, no less!) and helped itself to my tomato and lettuce.

i also stopped by cinnamon bay, and after a quick walk to buy a few postcards on the beach, i headed across the street to the cinnamon bay trail, which is fairly steep and a little over a mile long. (thankfully, i did it the right way: steep climb first, and then steep descent last.) there was a spur trail to some ruins that i meant to take, but it wasn't clearly marked, and i didn't want to wind up lost in the woods by myself.

all in all, it was a good day- 8.4 (or so) miles under my belt, and neither of my two new blisters popped. (yay!) tomorrow's adventure: getting up early to head to the baths at virgin gorda and jost van dyke. (it's my one splurge for the trip.)

oh- and i almost forgot to tell, you- i finally saw an iguana! she (i named her ludwanna) was hanging out in a tree outside my tent-cottage. i happened to look up while figuring out today's milage, and there she was. she wandered into deeper foliage about ten minutes later, but my little roommate, anatoly the anole, was hanging around my front door when i last left my tent-cottage. :)

*a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one, i assure you

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