Hike # 14 : Clydesdale - Cinchona

8 March 2008

Shaniek, Ramon, Chad, David D, David W, Everton, Javon, Peter-Jhon, Sashanna, LaVonne, Kenny, Paul

By 8am, we already had six on the back of the pick-up and four inside. This grew to a total of 12 by the time we set off at 8.15am, so for those who didn't make it, thanks.... (you would have had to walk!!)


Arriving at Clydesdale after a bright sunny drive through Gordon Town, Guava Ridge, Content Gap and St. Peters, the former coffee mill / forestry nursery was ever more run down than last year. Little of the floor or roof left in either the old mill house, the lodging house or even the potting shed. But the potential is still there to reclaim this relic of our history, and sanctuary for the spiritually-minded.


As we gathered to begin the hike, the sun was already hot, even at 3500 feet above sea level. After crossing the stream (wet-foot-style or by piggy-back), the steep climb began to draw a sweat.


But thankfully, the grade became less and soon we were enjoying the yellow cheese-berries along the way. So much so that at one time it looked like Chad might never reach the top.


The view as we reach St.Helen's Gap is always worth the effort - looking south down the Yallahs Valley, with Blue Mountain Peak on the left and Westphalia nestled just below us amongst twisting paths and terraced farms.


Cinchona Botanical Gardens then not too far, as we relax in the cool warmth at almost 5000 feet high.


Could we really ask for more? Well, some tasty fried chicken might have out-done the bulla and cheese.


Resting on our grassy lookout, imbibing the beauty of the mountains.... and much more!


After an hour and a half, we remember the river awaiting us so set off down again, clambering over fallen trees as we go.


The river is... COLD, very cold. Some manage ten seconds, other long enough to forget their numbness and enjoy the frolick.

Well refreshed, we clamber back on the pick-up and head off for Papine. Seranaded by LaVonne for much of the way, we arrive back tired, but ready for the next time.