Tag Archives: Hiking

Highlights of Trinidad Living

The best thing for me about living in Trinidad is getting to see Kevan every day. I am realizing that I have swapped one problem (being far from Kevan) for another (working here and getting a work visa, currently), but it is so worth it. The frustrations of figuring out the paperwork/hoop jumping also feel less significant when I get to do cool new things!

img_0013-2
The more I look at this picture the funnier my face looks. Tan face, white neck, and I’ve somehow achieved a Zorro mask sunglasses tan. Kevan, of course, looks handsome as ever in his outdoor adventure hat. The was taken aboard the “Island Prince.”

A couple of weeks ago Kevan and I participated in a beach cleanup, which was the reason for the boat ride above. Ocean currents cause floating trash to end up on the island of Chacachacare, which is one of the islands off of the northwestern tip of Trinidad.

At the actual beach cleanup, where Kevan was excited that the volunteer in the background fit perfectly into the little container.
At the actual beach cleanup, where Kevan was excited that the volunteer in the background fit perfectly into the little container.

Kevan and I also did a marriage preparation weekend retreat at Mount Saint Benedict. We attended sessions where married couples spoke about their own experiences, and then together Kevan and I went through questions and topics about our future. They were mostly things we had talked about before, but it was nice to have the chance to discuss things intentionally.

img_0453
One of the views from where we stayed at the monastery. It was worth braving the mosquitoes to sit outside there for a bit.
img_0496
The volunteer who took our picture said, “Pretend you just got married!” which is why I am making that face.

That same weekend we went on a short hike up Mount Tabor. There was once a fire there which wiped out all of the forest, causing potential for a huge landslide. It was reforested with fir trees, which aren’t native to Trinidad. It’s pretty much the only place in Trinidad you can find fir trees, and when you’re walking along there’s a very clear line of deciduous trees ending and fir trees starting.

img_0464
It felt a little like being in the U.S. because of the trees 🙂

Last Saturday Kevan’s parents and grandparents threw an engagement party for us. Kevan gave a little speech and did a really great job. He told a short version of our story, which I thought was cute. I was also quite glad that I didn’t have to speak!

img_0033
This picture with Kevan’s dad is my favorite from the evening. Also, a lot of people brought us wine, which was a happy surprise.
Most of the guests were the parents' friends, but I met a few new friends of Kevan's as well.
Most of the guests were the parents’ friends, but I met a few new friends of Kevan’s as well.
A nice picture, in case anyone wants to see :)
Here is a nice picture for posterity!

Those have been the big events of the past few weeks. As I think about it, it’s not the big things that are different, just the details. An engagement party can happen anywhere, it’s just that this one had lots of LLB and rum cake. A beach cleanup here is like a highway cleanup somewhere else. You can hike anywhere in the world, the scenery is just different. Despite this, Trinidad feels different to me. The weather, roads, food, people, customs, and many other things are quite different from what I’m used to. Perhaps I’ll try to write about that in the future, too.

 

 

 

 

Tobago Adventure Day

On the second day of the Tobago trip, we drove around the entire island and stopped at a TON of places along the way.

Quick note: Rather than add captions to half of these photos, I’ll just tell you now that a lot of these pictures were taken by Keeshan! You can read about some of his outdoor adventures on Trail Pace.

12371039_10156345289665402_6221399198500670375_oOur first stop was Argyle waterfall. There was a mandatory admission fee that included a guide if we wanted one, so we chose to have one since we were paying for it either way. We definitely didn’t need one in terms of the trail since it was very clear where we were supposed to go, but it was awesome to learn about some of the local plants and birds.  The only bird I remember is the blue crowned motmot which is quite pretty and, as you may have guessed, has a blue crown. The guide mostly told us about trees, but he also showed us a ground provision called tania or tanya. I guess it’s not commonly used since I’ve never heard of it before, but I’d love to try to cook some. One think I really like about Trinidad and Tobago is the fact that there are so many different fruits and vegetables that grow here that I’d never really heard of or tried before.

The guide told us that the waterfall had 17 levels, but we only went up to level four. As you can see, each level change was a little trek all on its own.

1039648_10156345290115402_4907468493427857554_o12375039_10156345290030402_4125641601421356706_o

1064802_10156345291640402_5161321816323446801_oAnother highlight of the Argyle waterfall was that a stray dog loyally followed us the whole way, even up the really steep parts. Apparently in T&T stray dogs are called “potongs.”

 

 

 

After Argyle we went to Flagstaff Hill for lunch. I don’t know if the hill is second or third or any tallest ranked hill in Tobago, but Kevan said that at least I could put that it is the Northeastest most hill. So there you go.

Fun highlight: There was a radio tower that you could just walk up to and climb if you had the inclination. (I’m sure that wasn’t they intention, but hey, it was there.) Look how far up Kevan climbed!DSCN0535

Look I climbed really high too!DSCN0536

Haha just kidding no I did not.DSCN0537

 

DSCN0538Anyway, we ate lunch on a very sunken in bench and looked out over the bush. “Bush” loosely means “wildly growing plants.” Example one: When I have something compostable like an orange peel, Kevan says to throw it “into the bush,” where the bush is grass cuttings and plants in his yard. Example two: We go on hikes “through the bush” where the bush is all of the plants and trees that are growing naturally. Example three: His grandma said that her grandchildren grew “like bush.”

DSCN0546We went to Pirate’s Bay and walked down some very slippery steps to the beach. We snorkeled there and it was awesome. Snorkeling is becoming one of my new favorite things, though I’ve technically only gone three ish times for real.  Growing up in a completely land-locked area, my main experiences with water were swimming pools, which of course lack waves and are chlorinated. I tried snorkeling once last year and did a bad job. That was try #1. Breathing around the salt water in the tube made my throat scratchy, and being far from where I could touch the bottom was scary.  This year we had two really good snorkeling outings in Tobago. I’m more Pirates Bayconfident in the water this year, I think as a result of an accumulation of many little swimming experiences and practice. This year, having the snorkel wasn’t scary anymore, and it made me more confident to swim out farther. When you snorkel you are just floating on your stomach, face down with the tube sticking up out of the water. It’s much easier than swimming because your position is very natural and you don’t have to fight to keep yourself or your head up. I am still far from being a good snorkeler, but I’d like to keep doing it.

As the day went on I lost track of where we went. Where is this? I do not know.886927_10156345223985402_3376668435051890804_o

 

Fort something, which had two cannons and a gazebo.DSCN0562

When the sun is out, everything has the most beautiful colors.DSCN0566 DSCN0540

 

12371155_10156345300180402_5597429645858008953_oI don’t remember the name of this waterfall either. We walked across a field with goats to get to this little hike.

10623330_10156345300580402_8717959564910947421_o

 

 

And we’ll end with some boats.

DSCN0577 DSCN0572

I don’t remember exactly what we did that evening, but I think it involved eating leftovers and going to bed at around 8:30. A full day of activities will do that to you. I find it kind of funny that we only really have days like these when we visit new places. Okay, it makes sense that if we lived in Tobago, we could have done all of these things over the course of many days. But 1) would we have? and 2) is that better? When you live somewhere, you have the tendency to think that you have all the time in the world to do a thing/visit a place. But suddenly you’re moving somewhere else because of a job or school, and you never did that thing. (Or perhaps you live your whole life in that place and then you’re 70 and thinking about how you never did that thing and now you’re too old.) In conclusion, do the things.

Cow Hike

We spent four days in Tobago this past week, and each day was packed full of outdoor adventures. This particular hike had the added bonus of cows.

DSCN0509
Okay, you are correct, this is not a cow. This is an agouti, a tropical rodent. Cute, yes? It kind of wiggles back and forth when it walks.

DSCN0512

First cow sighting, where Kevan doesn’t understand why we are taking a selfie with cows.

DSCN0518

We encountered this cow on the path, so we took a detour to walk through the stream instead.

DSCN0520

But alas! Another cow by the stream. Since the cows were chained we walked the line farthest from each cow’s tether point.

980782_10156345282740402_7331702503692293963_o

Highlands Waterfall. We were able to stand right under the waterfall.

705392_10156345279940402_1256904078353888670_o
View down from the side of the waterfall.
DSCN0527
Cow tax.