The promises of good food, snacks, fun, laughter and familiar faces in an unfamiliar setting fills my mind. I’d been dreaming about this moment for the past few weeks.
Deep in the back-country of Trinidad and Tobago my work colleagues and I scramble carefully down the very steep and winding trail. With leaf-littered, eroded earth beneath our sneakers and endless mud for footing, we, nevertheless, persevered on the trail. At its bottom, would be the Rio Seco waterfall. Many of the hiking trips undertaken in Trinidad lead to various waterfalls. For some people, hiking is a useless tiring activity. For us it was a quest and more so a relatively challenging one. The hike was lead by a group called HIKERS INC (Click the name to check out their website!).
The trail to the Rio Seco waterfall begins on the Toco Main Road shortly after the bridge that spans the Rio Seco river near Sally Bay. The start of the hike is a sign posted on the main road. It is possible to begin the hike at the main road or to drive approximately 2 kilometers along a country road and begin the hike further inland. This trail winds through pathways lined by stately Mora trees along the North Eastern coast of the island to a waterfall and deep, emerald green pool. Upriver of the pool, on the banks of a tributary are the Rio Seco sulphur springs. Source
|Our matching denim jackets were not planned.|
The sun is shining through the fabric of the forest. The air is fresh and cold. We are making a one-day hiking round trip to the Rio Seco waterfall, approximately 40 minutes one way. It's an all-day affair that requires a few short rappels and brief walks through water that’s always cold and where the air is always cool and replenished. On this particular day, we aren't the only hiking group seeking the Rio Seco waterfall.
It's probably 9 am. After a warm greeting and introduction from our hike leaders and guides we begin our journey. Our hiking group starts off together, but we soon divorce each other's presence, due to varying levels of physical endurance. There is already mud everywhere. Our hike leaders bellow helpful tips along the way. 'Fishy', one of the hike leaders is quite playful and entertaining. He makes us laugh and we appreciate it.
The trek is starting to get harder. Hard to breath and easy to get tired. Calculatingly, we've fallen into a routine of stepping exactly where the person in front of us has stepped. The trail meanders through both dense and sparse forest, sometimes following a babbling creek. A couple mosquitoes are attacking me but I just keep going. At this point on our hike, the wilderness feels normal. Our hiking group sometimes stops for those hikers who have lagged behind, but our stops are really just for the older and less fit folks to catch their breaths. Once the group is together we continue into the seemingly nothingness of the thick forest; its ambiance swallowing everything except the illuminated trail and our determination.
Excitement and chatter diffuses into the air. At times, we clamber over boulders and roots as thick as the human arm. Giant, fallen trees greet us and all they say is "I bet you can't get over me!" But we do. We get over them like an old boyfriend, never looking back, except to help each other. We wade through pools of frigid creek water in our muddy sneakers, and though we'd hope not to get our feet and socks all soggy, we embrace the chance to have the waters lick away any mud from our sneakers. With craning necks, we are in awe of the most beautiful and coveted spots on the trail. All living things cross the beaten path. Humans, plants and insects alike. The ants are scurrying to unknown places and we scurry over them.
A bell-bird calls from the roof of the forest and from the depths of my pelvic region my bladder does the same. Our surroundings become incredibly beautiful. Perfect and pristine. As the trail steadily climbs we see the Matura River snaking below us. At this point we are all shuffling up and down the trail, thinking only about the end.
After a long time, finally, the trail has flattened out...deceivingly. The magisterial, emerald green water appears and our last descent before the resplendent waterfall is precipitous. Once all hikers have descended we scatter around the waterfall, which would be our resting place for a few more hours or so. My friends start pulling food from their bags, my eyes growing larger with each delicacy presented before me. Conversations have heightened. There is non stop jabbering and interaction. We all take photos. Not long after everyone has their life jackets checked before entering the water. Everything is everything. The exhilaration though long begun, is far from over.
|On our way to meet our hike leaders and guides.|
|My colleagues and I ready to blaze the beaten path.|
|Extremely muddy and narrow trails.|
|One of two creeks that we crossed.|
|Catching their breaths,|
|And finally we have arrived...|
|The path down to the waterfall was quite steep and so, some hikers were|
assisted in descending.
|The waterfall is majestically much taller than it appears in the photo.|
|She was the first hiker to arrive at the fall....which would mean I was|
second because I photographed her.
|View from the forest floor.|
|Rihanna, one of our friendly hike guides.|
|FLAWLESS: She woke up like that.|
|Cross section of hikers.|
|My ombre pants.|
|Finally I'm in the water. Cold but pure.|
|Once you emerge from the water shivering sets on.|
|My kicks are clean once more :)|
|SWEET LIPS: Apparently this particular flower has a striking resemblance to that of a pair of lips.|
|Salybia Beach where our journey ended.|