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When A Good Hike Gets Steep & Other Life Lessons

September 3, 2012

Our Friday mission: hike Ram Head for the blue moon.

Mission unaccomplished.

We did not make it to the Ram Head trail.  It wasn’t because the trail was too daunting.  It wasn’t because we didn’t feel like hiking, or hiking at night.  No, we didn’t make it because it’s approximately a 10 mile drive to Salt Pond Bay, where the trail starts, and no one wanted to drive.  That’s right.  A 10 mile drive deterred us from taking a well lit (under the full moon) 2 mile hike with a moderate 200 foot elevation gain.

NOTE: this aversion to “long” driving distances falls comfortably under #caribbeanproblems

What did we choose to do instead, you might wonder?  Did we go to a full moon party on Tortola?  Help our friends over at Motu clean out their bar inventory before they close down for the off season?  Perhaps we just called it an early night?

No, we chose none of these options.  Instead, we hiked up the Caneel Hill trail.  This leisurely stroll ascends more than 700 feet in just over one mile.  And it’s dark at night, shockingly.  Really dark, in parts.  Mostly, as I scaled a rock face (not really, but it sure felt like it as I climbed a steep-ish section), I thought longingly of the Ram Head trail, with its comparatively negligible elevation gain, sparse vegetation that allows for hiking sans flashlight during the full moon, and convenient beach side trail head, perfect for a swim after the hike.

I thought of these things… and then I got to the top, finally, and to be honest it all worked out.  Having seen the view during the day, and found it spectacular, I have to say it was something else entirely at night, at least as amazing if not better.  St Thomas to the east, Jost Van Dyke to the north, the full moon lighting up the visible beaches on North Shore… not too shabby.  Plus, now it’s downhill all the way back!

The moral of the story: (A) driving is lame, why waste finite natural resources when you can hike an incredibly steep hill-bordering-on-mountain just down the road? (B) A tough journey makes you appreciate your destination (and downhill trip home) so much more!

**DISCLAIMER: We really really enjoy this trail in the daylight, because it’s hard, and it feels like exercising but more fun, and the view from the top is awesome… but we don’t necessarily recommend hiking it at night, even under the full moon, unless you know the trail well.

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