BootsnAll Travel Network

Day 19 Tobago

Day 19.JPG

Today was a free day. Bernadette was on her own so I just slept in and laid around. Around 11am I kind of shocked myself remembering that I still needed to get in shape and had not done any serious hiking as of yet. Being with someone else kind of hedges my decision making process. I could either go to the beach with a girl or climb a freaking jungle mountain with a swarm of mosquitoes. Up to then it had been easy. Now, it was inevitable. I gathered my hiking stuff and headed off. The first day I got to Charlotteville, I had met a guy on the beach who I had asked about the hiking trails. He had said that he was a guide and would take me. I declined saying that I was okay but was just wondering what was available. He looked me up and down and said that your not hiking in those (pointing at my Teva Sandals.) With that, I already knew that I would be doing it in my sandals. Steve has an issue about being told what he can and can’t do. So off I went flopping around in my open toe “hiking” sandals. The first mountain is right behind the city. The main trail that I had wanted to take which took you all the way to the east coast was washed away three weeks ago by some heavy rainfall. The path you take is a windy road that goes about half way up. It was bad in that it was steep, but otherwise it was manageable. About halfway up it basically dead ends on the side of the hill. There were a couple of guys hanging out so I asked them where the trail would take me. They said it would eventually get me to the top. I asked them how long it would take, and they said it just kept on going. Not quite understanding what they meant, I went to find the “end.”

The trail starts out as well used single track. Heck, I could of done it with a mountain bike. Although the trail was a tad muddy, the sandals were working fine. I dappled along thinking I was Johnny Hiker. About a half an hour later, things got a little tougher. The trail stopped being as clear cut. There were a lot more areas where slides had taken out the trail and logs had fallen across. I was still doing fine, but the footwork had to be more cautious. About an hour into it, the trail started to get a bit sketchy. By that time I had hit the rain forest section and everything was overgrown. The trail became a tiny foot path notched into the side of the mountain. Occasionally it would flatten out under a grove of trees. That was where the mosquitos lived. Now I thought having one of those big ones was bad. Those guys were brutal. They didn’t buzz around and slowly test the waters, daintily landing and grooming their needle for penetration. These guys were like darts that would just fly into you and stick you at the same time. I could see them just attach themselves as soon as they landed. I had insect repellant, but I was sweating more that I could drink. It was like I was peeing out of my skin. I had never had it where beads of sweat were rolling off my legs. I didn’t even know my legs sweated. That’s pretty close to the time when things went bad. The trail started to branch off. I would take each trail and kind of test them to see which direction they went. I knew that I wanted to go either up or to the west, where the road led over the mountains to Speyside. The trails were also getting more and more steep, muddy, and with a lot more obstructions. I could tell that I was getting to the top when the trail just stopped. There was a creek bed and some open areas, but no more basic trail. I decided to take the creek bed and climbed the boulders upwards. Every once in a while, there would be these little paths stomped through the waist high weeds. I started to take those figuring that I was following man made paths, only to figure out later they were from wild sheep wandering the mountains. By this time I was getting a headache from the heat, so I blazed a trail up the last fifth of the mountain. I just stomped my way up the last portion figuring that the weeds were so thick that any snake wouldn’t be able to strike me as long as I kept up the pace. Occasionally, I could see little open patches so figuring they were a trail section I would march on over, only to find out it was a rock in the middle of the weeds. Other times I could see a line of Banana trees that looked like they bordered a trail so I would march on over only to find out that they were a line of Banana trees surrounded by weeds. When I got to the top I looked down and saw the drunken lines I had created and understood what the guys had meant. The trails go on forever if you look behind yourself, because you make the trail as you go along. You would never get to the end of it. I thought it was a cruel joke, but laughed it off. Well, I just sweated a lot. By then I was three hours into it and I wasn’t feeling to good. The path, okay there was no path, at the top was more dense trees, so I figured I had enough. That’s when the pain comes in. On the way up you take your time checking on your footing, balancing your weight around to get the best traction. Well on the way down, two things happen, you slip on the mud and fall on your ass, or ropes of grass wrap your ankles and you fall forward. That’s the funny pain. The real pain comes from the open toed sandals. Your basically sliding down the mountain through this weed jungle and these little fine strands of weeds tie themselves together to create a tight little wire. When your toe runs into one, it gets caught right below the toe nail and zips across your toe as your body weight pushes you forward. The end result is bunch of paper cut like toes. Now, a lot of people are going to call me a whoosy, but how many of you or even know of someone who has gotten plant cuts on the tips of their toes. Okay, then. They really hurt. The other hurts came from slipping off those little muddy foot paths cut into the side of the hills. Going down, they just gave away causing me to slide down the side grabbing at whatever to make myself not hurl down a mini slide. Now my hands got all banged up and it had turned to total shit. It dawned on me that maybe sometimes when people recommend utilizing a guide that it isn’t because he can name all the different plants and animals, but also because he might be able to tell you, “going that way causes a lot of cuts on your toes.” Also, when a guide makes a snide remark about your footwear, it does not necessarily mean that it is a challenge, but it might be because when you wear sandals they have no protection for your feet, they provide minimal traction, and when water and mud get between your feet and the sandals, your feet slide around like your walking on ice, thereby multiplying your slippage. Once I made it to the housing area I was not in the best of shape. People who were outside just kind of stared. One lady commented that I did not look too good. A group of guys just hanging out laughed out and called me Jungle Man. I thought it was funny as well, but knowing there was already a Jungle Man I decided on Jungle Man II.

Interviewer: “So, what is your name?”

Steve: “Jungle Man”

Interviewer: “Okaaaaayyy, thank for stopping by… Jungle Man.”

Steve: “Damn this job hunting just isn’t going so well.”

I slowly walked on down the hill where little kids and old people passed me by. I decided to stop by the beach to clean up and to admit to the guide that I was a dumb ass. I hung around the beach for a while just chatting away about where I’ve lived and such and he asked about my thoughts of his new shack that he wanted to build on the beach. After a bit of socializing I made the long hike back to my room. Once I got back, I showered, triple soaping, and anti-bactized my body. I had little cuts and scrapes all over. Once I was cleaned up I headed into town and ran into Bernadette. I invited her to watch a movie so we made arrangements for later that evening. We ended up going to my DVD guys place and picked up Napolean Dynamite. It was a nice evening, except I kicked myself for tossing my portable speaker in Scarsborough. The movie was hilarious and we laughed the night away. After that I walked her home and I went for my usual stop at the pier. On the pier I was cornered by a couple of want to be thugs and was questioned about if I wanted drugs, where I lived, how I got drugs there, if I would buy them a six pack, if I wanted to go to Speyside where there was a big house party with a lot of girls, and if I paid two dollars I would be safe because they knew someone who could take us. As great as that whole conversation was, I declined and walked on home. Watched Napolean Dynamite one more time and then passed out.


4 responses to “Day 19 Tobago”

  1. Judy says:

    Hi Steve, Sure glad you’re keeping up with your blog duties~~I’m enjoying your interesting writings very much~~getting a lot of laughs too! I’m pretty sure WAPA fried or at least burnt my UPS so until I get another one I may get behind. Good thing I didn’t know you were a computer whiz when you were here~~I probably would have bugged you to death! I have new tenants~~a couple. He’s with 1st Bank and she is from Brazil. She left last weekend to visit Brazilia for 1 month. They seem real nice. Tons of mangoes are ripening~~keeping me busy! Take care & keep having the experience of your lifetime!! Judy

  2. steve says:

    Yea, I kind of like to keep the technological knowledge under wraps. Same with at work, I can pretty much solve everybodies problems, but then it just starts stacking up. Kind of mean, but gotta keep my me time. I do charge $200 an hour so if its real important I would do it for that.

    The mangoes are pretty much all over these islands even more so than on St. Thomas. They are so plentiful that they don’t even sell them at the markets. The air is ripe with the smell of rotting ones. I think locals get tired of them and eat them as last resort. I still love them. Thats one of the big take aways from the islands, fresh fruit.


  3. Louis Cyphe says:

    You can run all over the world…but you can’t hide. I am everywhere. And your soul is mine.

  4. steve says:


    My man, I sold my soul long ago. It’s in a pawn shop in Vegas. If you want to put up the money for it, its all yours.