Oct 29, 2007


At last!!

And because I am yet again behind in updating fully on my blog, I find myself with too much to blog! Should I do the Venezuela thing and just say "screw it" and start from scratch? Nah.

Thursday was Grenadian Thanksgiving, which is apparently a celebration of the anniversary of the American invasion. Um, awesome?

I suppose because a bunch of us are homesick, have classes on American Thanksgiving, are in post-midterm slump, and like eating, we decided to have a party, and throw it at my place because I have the crash-pad and (gasp) a television. More for the space though. This also marked my first official party at my place, and a dinner party no less. Ooh, ambitious!

Naturally, I was afraid it would either be a complete disaster, or no one would come, but despite short notice, TEN people came, fit nicely into my apartment, Rich actually managed to find a football game on television, there was no fighting (unlike the Thanksgivings I see on tv; my family was never big on fighting on Thanksgiving, because my family's never been big on Thanksgiving), everyone brought goodies, and Nina went on a cook-a-thon and made foccacia, pies, cheesecake, etc.

And what modern party would be complete without youtube? BWA HA HA HA.

In addition, the post-party "trashed" state of my apartment amounted to a few dishes in the sink, about half of which were already rinsed due to guests actually *washing their own dishes*. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the knowledge that everyone I know is more polite than I am.

The spread!

And that was before about half the guests arrived.

So Thanksgiving was great fun.

To completely break with that thought, back to the waterfalls I've been waxing on about.

Saturday, as noted, Lori, Lisa, Nina, Jay, and I ventured out on school buses to reggae buses to go up to Grand Etang rainforest to hike to the Seven Sisters waterfalls.

About a mile before the Grand Etang Lake turnoff, there's a little hill up to a staging area for the waterfall hike. On Jay's advice (he went there last weekend), we hired our wonderful guide Ivaldo, and paid the fee to the waterfall area. This whole thing, bus fare included and not including celebratory beer/ting, tallies up to about 40 EC (~$15 US) a person for a full day of hiking, funning, and jumping off waterfalls, including transportation. NOT bad. The trip there is really pretty too:

She who crosseth the falls of death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side she sees.

The staging area looks like this:

Unfortunately, when you're in a location as beautiful as this, you must defend that beauty at all cost:

We also got pre-hike use of the local kitten:

Kittens not only make good hat protectors:

But are excellent when added to salad:

(No kittens were harmed in the making of this blog)

The person swinging the mean machete (and wondering why on earth I'd want him to pose for such a terrible picture) is Ivaldo, our guide. He points out all the cool stuff (windbreak trees, cinnamon trees, nutmeg, cocoa, leads anyone needing assistance very carefully along the trail, and oh yeah, may have saved my life, but that's later.

The way the waterfall trip works is that there's a pleasant, not too bad trail out to the lower two waterfalls, though it was muddy from some recent rainstorms. What's nice is that a most of the steep places have carved in stairs, otherwise it would have been like trying to climb up a waterslide:

Still slippy, but a definite plus.

Grr was breaking in her hiking shoes, thus thought we were trying to kill her by sticking her on the double black diamond trail, to which I present this image:

And before she kills *me* for this, I kid! I kid! Grrr did quite well and left us in the dust on the way back. Plus the tiny tiny little girl in diapers was carried for most of the trip by her father, lest this picture gives the *impression* that this trail can be traversed by tiny tiny little girls in diapers. I think after this blog post, by the way, I'm going to end up having to buy Grrr ice cream before she speaks to me again.

I found the scarier parts of the trail were things like this:

But we had Ivaldo to make sure we didn't trespass, thus end up with "No head" just in time to be the Headless Horsestudents for Halloween. Yipes.

Minus threats of death, the trail was stunning:

When you get to the base of the two waterfalls, there is an additional trail up (necessitating a guide, versus just having one recommended like the regular trail) to the top of all the waterfalls. The only way to see all 7 is to jump off either 5 or 6 of them, since I don't think there's another way down that doesn't involve cutting a path through steep, rocky, virgin jungle, so once you've jumped the first, you're committed!

Now, I didn't think the trail to the base was too bad, but I like hiking and was in the girl scounts since I was a tiny tiny little girl in diapers and they make you go on forced hikes to prepare you for the inevitable extortion death march that is cookie season. The trip to the top was rough! There was a family from the UK accompanying us, and two of their kids (probably around 12 and 14 were the only ones besides me and Jay stup...er brave enough to head up it. FUN, but difficult, particularly we were all going barefoot in bathing suits. There was not an inch of me below the neck that wasn't coated in mud after scrabbling up. Fortunately, you get to rinse off in that cool cool water. Ahhhhh...

The trip along the stream that makes up the waterfalls is also a bit rough. There's a place where you have to kind of shimmy along a rock wall where Jay unfortunately fell and did a real number on his ankle. Then proceeded to strap a smile to his face and do the hike and jump through all the waterfalls. Good gods. One missed step at Aquarium last term and I was down for the count. I certainly wasn't going to trek anything, and if I'd had to, I probably would have been whining the whole way. In fact, I think I did just for the walk to the taxi. Ow!

I forget if there were two standard straight-in jumps or one, which is why I can't remember if I jumped off a total of 6 or 7 waterfalls. One of the waterfalls required a shallow dive head first, which was a little spooky, but didn't hit any rocks, and one was a required cannonball due to some shallower rocks, which I touched, but didn't get hurt on.

There is one area where there's a pretty rough flume and you have to half crab walk over it by putting one foot on each side of it along the rocks. Being the token clumsy girl in a group with a dude and two overly-athletic kids, I got all the guide-attention for "please don't fall in and die", so he was telling me where to put me feet.

Did okay on that part. Then, we got to the BIG waterfall. For reference, jumping off it looks like this, though this video is sideways. To my credit, the second guy jumping in the video *also* nearly fell off, though in a different spot, so I feel vindicated. Thanks, random youtube guy.

We were crossing the stream at the top to get into the right position, when I slipped on the rocks. This doesn't seem like a big deal, except the current was stronger than expected, and I started getting swept toward the, ya know, giant bone breaking drop. I squawked (no really, I think that was the sound I made), Ivaldo grabbed me, righted me, I slipped again (though not as closely), and so he essentially pulled me up where he was standing, muttered something (though smiling) and crossed himself. Heh heh. Whoopsie.

Jay jumped first. Then the circa 14 year old girl jumped and made me feel like a chump, because she looked down said "That's quite scary" and leaped off without a second thought. Her 12 year old brother took a little longer, but tipped a little too far backwards and the water gave him a pretty good backslap and he came up crying. Poor kid. At 12 I would probably have been crying at the thought of the first waterfall and would have had to be carried back. I was a wimp.

I was looking off the edge for a little bit to see if he was okay, got the big okay sign and... for a split second, had no problem but hesitated just a WEE bit too long and then had time to think about it.

Wow, that's a high waterfall! So I stood there, then my thighs started shaking a little, which was spooky because you have to jump out to make sure you don't hit anything, so then I yelled "ONE TWO THREE" and SPLASH! Actually "ONE TWO THREE" (seemingly eternal drop to water) and SPLASH!

WAHOO!!!!!!! Then it was off the one at the bottom and success.

So all waterfalls jumped. Headed back to the staging area a steady victor (if a hesitant and clumsy one).

1 comment:

Matt said...


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