The Other Mauritius – Lost in the cane fields

The logic of the fields were that they formed a regular grid.  I could walk one direction, turn left, later turn left again.  One more left and I would eventually intersect my path and be able to head for home.  Mostly this worked well and every time I headed out this direction I would get more adventurous.  If I went east I would cross the Port Louis Rd and more fields would open up.  And I started to learn that each block of fields was not so monotonous.  Particularly close to the coast road, the fields had been taken out of production; some were wastelands of weedy vegetation but others were being built on, and ever more grand mansions were being constructed here.  But I also found out that the cane tracks themselves were not as regular as I had thought.  Once I had set out a little later than usual and as the tropical sunset was only an hour away I wanted to get as much in as possible, so I walked faster.  I went over the Port Louis Rd and continued east.  I knew if I turned north again I would end up in Calodyne and could make my way back along the road or shore path to the house.  I did so and found the track descending below the fields.  I was entering an abandoned quarry.  Beside the track were piles of rocks similar to the cairns out in the fields themselves, but I was getting deeper and deeper into a gully from which people had obviously excavated the faces.  Worse still, when I turned a slight corner, which itself was a surprising anomaly on the tracks in these fields, I found my way barred by a wall of volcanic rubble covered in creepers and shrubs.  There was no more track.  Even if I had been wearing better clothing, I doubt I would have made it over the pile of rocks without sustaining flesh wounds.  There was no alternative but to head back.  I realised some of the cane tracks not only were cul-de-sacs, but some did turn 90 degrees with no junctions.  On a short walk this could seriously lengthen your hike and with the sun setting and dogs howling in the distance, and my platypus water container in a landfill 30km away; I was not really ready to survive a night out in the fields.

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When the cane is high it is easy to get lost

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