Rocky hike up Bloody River
THIS is one of the more demanding hikes that Tobago offers because of the nature of the terrain you must traverse to reach your destination. However, it is one of my favourite hikes because of the rugged and pristine environment.
Bloody River is one of Tobago's largest rivers because of its wide channel and bountiful amount of water. Located on Tobago's north coast, this river emanates from the heights of Main Ridge and makes its way among the rocky deep-cut valleys that characterise these parts. Luxuriant vegetation and an abundance of wild life thrive in these hinterlands. It is this wild nature of the river that entices the adventurous among us to make their way up its course.
Bloody River is strewn with boulders of all shapes and sizes throughout its channel and because of the width of this great river you might fancy yourself in another country and not just on an island. All branches of Bloody River are well endowed with magnificent waterfalls, not along the flats as some people had hoped, but in the heights of course. Our outfit opted to go up the main channel to one of our favourite waterfalls.
We made our way up the channel, noting the number of drivers who used the wide, gravelly area of the river bed near the bridge to wash their vehicles. Wheel prints also went some way upriver where carloads of families take time out to bathe. In these areas, cattle graze in a timeless pastoral scene that is typical of rural Tobago. I always think that the cows in Tobago are among the healthiest looking in the world.
After the first half mile or so, the stones on the river bed are larger and more slippery. There are no longer the pebbly areas where you can comfortably walk but a boulder-strewn course where the water meets the steep banks on both sides. We did meet some beautiful pools with sandy bottoms. These gave some welcome respite.
We chose what seemed to be the more climber-friendly side of the high waterfall backdrops to continue our way upriver. Having to now climb over or around huge boulders for the rest of the way was somewhat dangerous because of their size and extremely slippery nature. In some areas, huge slabs of stone that had originally shaped the mountainside now formed the character of the river. The river now flowed in rushing channels over, under and around these obstacles with a deafening roar.
We climbed cautiously along and after a strenuous three hours we reached our destination, a thundering waterfall that crashed into an inviting bathing pool. There were more huge boulders standing around the area than we remembered from our last visit but this did not deter us from enjoying our time here. In fact they added to the wild beauty of this site. On Saturday, Island Hikers journeys to La Forêt Beach. A photographic seascape located two miles south of the Toco Light House Road is La Forêt Beach. It has been voted by hikers as one of the best nature spots in the country. It is a lovely place for a picnic under the stars or to recharge the senses.
La Forêt consists of two pristine beaches each with it's own characteristics. It is divided by a rocky peninsula that is used as a relaxation point to enjoy the soothing ocean breeze. The bay to the north of the headland is calm and shallow with jacuzzi like salt ponds while the southerly one has gentle waves for swimming. The sedimentary rocks which shelter the bays are constantly being modified by the pounding of the Atlantic waves. The vegetation consists of secondary growth forest surrounded by coconut trees and the green slopes of the Toco Forest Reserve acts as a back drop to this scenic natural wonder.
The thirty minute walk begins on a flat estate road that slopes gently towards the sparkling sea. Assembly for the hike is from 2 p.m. at the corner of O'Meara Road and Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Arima. Departure is at 2.45 p.m.
Please bring along a flash light and mosquito repellent.
For more details visit www.islandhikers.com or call Mario at 749-2956.