Our Saturday walk did not have enough people interested to justify renting a large minivan, which is required to get to the national park that we try visit each Saturday for a nice jungle hike. There is also a nice, clean, ocean beach there if you want to swim. And we almost always see red howler monkeys and capuchin monkeys.
Therefore, Robn wanted to explore a nearby peninsula.
This new exploration started out okay, but Robn was having pains in her calves, which we believe is caused by a spinal problem that she has, that occurs from time to time. So, she sat down on a rock and waited while Vicki & I explored the area.
Vicki and I started up a road that was shown on my app for my cell phone, and had a nice walk through the jungle, seeing many interesting things.
This particular, almost abandoned road, ended at the top of a small mountain, that has a radar station. My app showed on its map, a road going down the far side of the hill and getting back to civilization, with us circumnavigating most of the peninsula.
But, there was no road. It must be just down the hill a little…
There was, however, a small trail going down the far side of the hill in the right direction, that the map implied would get us to a more direct road. So, off we went.
It eventually became clear that this was the trail for the people that controlled a power line that supplies the radar station. They use the trail to cut down trees and anything that might grow up tall enough to interfere with the power line. Therefore, they did not use it very often and it was a difficult trail. I bet when they walked that trail carrying their chainsaw, they were not wearing running shoes or Crocs.
Some years ago Janet and I went on a hike wearing our running shoes (aka trainers) but, my cousin was wearing combat boots. On the steep, leaf covered hillsides, he could stomp his relatively small heel into the dirt, and had good traction. The large sole of the running shoe, tended to float on the surface and slide down the hill. This is probably the way ball bearings were invented.
The trail gradually became MUCH more difficult, with lots of slipping and sliding on the inclines, and the broom handle to baseball bat diameter trees, that one tended to grab in moments of stress, while sliding down the hill, were covered with large thorns. I am definitely a red-blooded America. Although I don’t have quite as much as I did yesterday morning.
The geometry of this whole expedition was perfectly designed so that as the situation became less and less fun, it still seemed easier to keep going, than to turn back, which would have meant climbing up this miserable portion of the trail, up a steep hill, to get back to the real road. The real road was a very unused, dilapidated track through the jungle. But, it was much better than the hassle we were going through.
Therefore, at each moment after the radar station, even though things were deteriorating rapidly, it still seemed preferable to try to make it out the other side rather than to turn around. Because we were, "so close now."
However, at one point, I voted to abandon this terrible trail altogether and just cut through the jungle on the shortest route to what I believed to be guaranteed civilization and a proper road.
I had a GPS map program on my smart phone, and Google maps with satellite photos. So, I was very confident that I knew where we were and how far it was. But, naturally, I didn’t know exactly how hard it was to cover the remaining distance.
We found a way down into a ravine, where a stream flows during the rainy season, and there was dramatically less brush. It was almost as easy as walking on a road. It was going downhill, which had appeal, and continued to average the correct direction, also good, so we were very optimistic. Even though we were also getting used to disappointment.
Of course, we were more than a little concerned that when we got to the industrial complex that we were aiming for, that there might be a giant electric fence. Or we might be looking down on it from the top of a very tall cliff. But we continued on.
We actually did encounter several tall cliffs, that, each time, we had to figure out a way to get around. But, we eventually made it to the commercial site, with an easy road out and back to civilization.
Most of the time I had cell phone coverage, and was able to keep Robn posted of our trials and tribulations. As Janet used to say the difference between an adventure and an ordeal is just attitude. Vicki, the other victim, was having a great time, and said several times that this was the most fun she had had, hiking in Trinidad so far.
Actually, Dave was wishing he had stayed at home.
When I finally got home, my cell phone said that I had walked 12,550 steps and I have long legs. I doesn’t have a good program for analyzing track that we followed, to see exactly how far it was. And, it was a WHOLE LOT less fun than walking along a road or a path, counting steps. But, we both survived, with no injuries, and Vicki was having the best hike of her time in Trinidad.
The primary reason that I have been not posting very much, is that we are hard at work on boat projects. Recently, we have been trying to change two chain plates. These are internal chain plates that are very long and go down inside a tight hole in the side of the boat. Not the easy ones that are just bolted on the outside.
They take a TREMENDOUS amount of force to pull. It must be like pulling wisdom teeth on a large elephant. But, we were able to extract one enough to make sure that it’s not interfering with anything, and on Monday plan to have a forklift come by and finish the job.
We also have been servicing the sliding hatch where you come in and out of the boat. This first required figuring out how you got it apart, which was not obvious. And, we have been installing some trim pieces on the overhead in the main cabin. This is complicated because there are no right angle corners and actually very few straight lines. So each piece of teak must be carefully fitted to the place where is going to live.
And we’re still waiting for the new stainless steel pulpit to be completed, that normally lives on top of the long wooden bowsprit. The original pulpit was smashed in a boat collision while Robn’s boat was on a mooring. A very large super yacht ran into it, causing catastrophic damage, and promising to pay for complete repair. But then leaving the area without paying a penny.
And lots of other things are going on. But, we still make time for a Saturday hike, and walking back and forth between the different Chandleries and the boat, puts a lot of miles on my cell phone.
Dave & Robn