Hike # 1: Holywell to Gordon Town

Saturday 28 January 2006
3 1/2 hours downhill : 3500' to 1500'

Sherona, Latoya, Kaideane, Paul

We travelled by bus from Papine up to Holywell with the Utech students who were going there for their Community Service. As we drove past the Newcastle ‘soldier camp’, the mist came down and by the time we reached Holywell, it had turned almost into rain. And it was COLD, and the wind was blowing from the north through Hardwar Gap…

.. so we didn’t waste anytime. Put on our rain coats and headed back along the road to Greenwich (about ˝ mile) before turning down into the coffee plantation. Down a few hundred feet and we came out of the misty rain… much warmer now, sheltered from that cold north wind…

This time, as we passed the last of the coffee trees, we found the track leading further down the hill… unlike in November when had had to turn back because it was so overgrown with wild ginger. The group of students from Utech who had spent their Saturdays before Christmas at Holywell had been digging out these invasive plants every week. We hear that the British soldiers stationed at Newcastle had brought the plants to Jamaica many years ago, thinking (mistakenly) that it provided a cure for malaria (or was it yellow fever??).

Down through the bushes, the rough track lined in places with pretty pink and mauve flowers. Then the pine forest, much of which had clearly taken quite a beating from the three hurricanes of the previous two years. Soon to the driving road. Quite a shortcut that was – the alternative being four miles on hard asphalt! A mile further on we reach Redlight, a busy place with food vendors and minibuses at the ready… but not for us.

We turn down another path which soon has us walking by the riverside towards Gordon Town. An ancient path this, an early route to Newcastle before the road was built. The water is too inviting for one of us to resist… . More taxis waiting (for us??) at Penfield but we ‘soldier on’ until we reach the square in Gordon Town. A pleasant first hike for our hiking-club-in-the-making – just over three hours walking, all downhill.

The bus took a good while to come, but for part of that time we were entertained by a gentleman who gave us each a red pea to plant, and a little quote on a strip of paper that read. …. he carried an interesting contraption to aid with his evangenlical work, no doubt of great symbolic significance.

Soon in Papine again, and already planning for next week….