Walking the Beaches – Striding out

When we described this to Jeremy when he arrived, we believed that the whole length of this coastline was like this – a thin wooded strip of land beyond the end of the cane fields maintained as a public, yet very intimate park.

We bit the bullet early one morning.  Even the drive was logistically a challenge – being about as far from our house in Calodyne as you could go on dry land.  We set off before sunrise and the grey cloud was still quite gloomy as we approached the aptly named Gris Gris.  We were both a lot fitter from both our walking of the coastline and some evening strolls around the Calodyne area but we knew this was to be a long day.

The first stretch was familiar to me but it was surprising how quickly we got through it (Jeremy was a lot younger and fitter than Mike), and we reached the corner of the wood where I had turned back in less than fifteen minutes.  It was here we had our first setback of the day.  We knew from the images and maps that several sizeable rivers tumbled between the cane fields and spilled out in to the ocean along this stretch of coastline.  We had hoped to ford these at the coast itself, but at this first river, we realised there was no easy way down the cliff, with its loose rocks and muddy vegetation.  The alternative was no easier – it was to follow the cane tracks up the side of the gorge until we could spot a safe and sensible way across.  We started walking, hoping the elusive ford would not be too distant.  No such luck.  In fact no track crossed the river until very near the main road, by which time we would be a couple of kilometres inland, with an equally long walk to regain the coastline on the other side.  In the end we took a gamble and cut a trail through the undergrowth at a point where we could see a way back up on the other side of the valley.  The gorge was not too deep here and although we had to wade through several inches of water to get through, we escaped relatively unscathed. Then we had the soul destroying walk back along the other side, along where the cane fields met the wooded gorge, and still being able to see where we had walked nearly half an hour beforehand across the valley.

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