Today I was busily working on my writing, when Walter arrived and announced he wanted to go hike up to some old ruins on the island.
“Cool. So where are they? How do we get there?”
“We just drag a rubber boat over to the salt pond and row across to the other side. Then we hike up to the old ruins.”
I made a sandwich for everyone, changed clothes, and put on some tennis shoes. I also brought a big cup of water with a lid. It’s very hot here and one can easily become dehydrated.
Jason and Walter carried the boat to the water and they held it in place while I got in. They rowed us across in stiff winds. Once on the other side we carefully got out and stepped our way across jagged and unstable rocks. There were dead branches sticking out everywhere that had to be navigated, as well as blown over dead trees from the terrible Cat 5 Hurricane Joaquin that devastated this island for 36 straight hours two years ago.
“I thought you said there was a path here to take up to see the ruins? Where is it?”
Walter looked around. “Well, they said it’s here somewhere.” And he took off. That’s when I noticed the big machete he was carrying.
“What’s the machete for?”
“I may have to hack our way across here.”
“What?? How far is it?”
“C’mon, Jason. Let’s see if we can find it.” And they set off, stepping carefully across precarious and sharp rocks surrounded by pockets of oozing mud.
The wind was really gusting and, despite my big straw hat being cinched under my chin, it flew off and landed some distance away. I navigated the rocks as quickly and safely as I could and stuck it back on my head.
I sat down on the rocks waiting to learn which way we should go. It was hot. “What are you doing?” I hollered. They had long since disappeared. A faint voice off in the distance yelled, “Looking for the path!”
“It’s been two years! The path is all grown over by now. You mean you don’t know where it is?” I yelled back. Silence. “Didn’t you ask Jorgen where the path was?” Silence.
I got back into a standing position and set off across the rocks and mud to find them. I got wrapped in a spider web, walked over a massive dead land crab, broke off jagged dead branches so I could pass, and finally found them around a bend. Off in the distance I could hear Walter slashing away at brush that looked very similar to the photos of the area he’d hacked to get across Acklins Island after being shipwrecked years ago.
“Walter, what are you doing? Are you recreating your adventure on Acklins from 34 years ago?”
“I’m sure I can find my way,” Walter yelled back.
“How far of a hike would this normally be?” I yelled into the bushes.
“A 20-minute hike.”
“How long will it take you to hack a trail that takes 20 minutes to hike? We only have a little water with us. Do you even know where this trail is??” I could hear him hacking away but not making any forward progress. The poor man was really trying.
Jason looked at me and grinned. “I’m heading back, Mom.” Walter was so determined. He doesn’t give up easily, to his credit. Jason and I, the weenies, headed back to the inflatable boat.
Walter doggedly kept looking for the trail but there was nothing but a complete jungle with vines and overblown trees with no way through it. He finally gave up. As he worked his way back to us I felt sorry for him. He had really tried.
We learned last night at a birthday dinner that the trail was actually about 1/4 mile further down the road, all cleaned up, and easy to navigate.
Maybe I’ll be able to provide photos of the ruins on our next attempt at this hike. Stay tuned!