In between the monitoring it was another great way to explore the island and get some exercise in. Most of the paths on Green Mountain were set up over 100 years ago by those who were experimenting to grow commodities and crops there. They tend to reach a certain elevation and then wrap themselves around the mountainside at that level. Some pass through tunnels and where a ravine gets in the way there are vertigo inducing bridges.
With the moist air up here in the cloud forest, these paths need a fair bit of maintaining. Vegetation and moss grow everywhere and Stedson and his team have to strim the pathways regularly to stop them becoming completely overgrown. Loose rocks need removing and the tunnels need checking to ensure that they are safe to pass through. The bridges cause the most problems as the wooden parts rot and the metals parts rust. Fixing those take more than Stedson and his team can do. Fortunately, being a military island, various bodies pass through Ascension on the way to the Falklands or can use the island as an exercise area, so several bridges have been repaired by the UK Royal Engineers, and since they have access to helicopters, getting the raw materials in to these elevated positions is not the logistical problem it might have been. But it is an ongoing task and one of the bridges Ash and I had to negotiate had large holes in the walkway where the rust had eaten right through and you could see the bush in the ravine way below.
We saw a lot of crabs that day; they often hang around the rat bait boxes; and although it is hard to guess a crab’s mood, apart from crabby, I guessed there were a tad frustrated they could smell food but not get their claws inside the holes to retrieve it. Remember these crabs are about half again as big as a rat and not so flexible so the boxes tend to be proofed against their invasion.
Cronk’s Path is one of the lower trails and the vegetation is on the more Mediterranean end of the spectrum, more so at the far end as it lowers down to the ruins of the North East Cottage. Greggy on the next path up had been visible several times to us and we had walked around the mountainside almost in parallel, so the two parties reached the ruins about the same time.