Thursday, April 26, 2012

Over Hill, Over Dale......or, are we crazy?

Walking is not a casual thing on the island.  Walking is akin to a sport - Mountain climbing.  There are a few "trails" on the island which are simply beaten down paths that people use daily to get from one place to another.  We have made the trek over the island via Michael's Peak (the highest point said to be 1,500 feet) several times and the last trip (with my Grandsons) was just that, my last!  I don't mind the hike up; its the travesing the rocky hillside down that is dangerous and, at my age, is best left to those with less years under the belt.

So, we were talking to Ann and Jim who live on the other side of the island in a remote area and it was agreed that we would "drop by" for a visit.  Our intentions were that if the seas were too rough and we could not dock at their place, we would go around to the marina and hike up the mountain.  Notice, I do not say "hill" as Ann refers to it in her FaceBook entries!  Sorry, Ann, this is no hill - it is a mountain.  If you want a hill, go to Florida.  Ann, dear, you are now in "mountain" country.

This is a view of the area called Grant's Peak.  While their home is not "on" Grant's Peak and is to the right of the mountain when you face it, this gives you an idea of the area they live in. While not the tallest of the mountains on the island, it is still something to walk up.  Grant's Peak is one of the mountains that is quite visible when one arrives by plane.  As a matter of fact you pass right over it (or to the side) when getting ready to land on the runway.  It is quite barren and treeless with scrub brush and lots and lots of rock formations.

This is the point where Jim and Ann live -  it is about in the middle of the photo although their dock and house don't show up too well (their place is to the right of that dark spot you see in the middle of the photo).  We came up from the grayish area towards the back and to the top left of the photo - so, it is a long walk.

As I said, we found we could not dock at their pier so we had to go back around the point to the canal where there is a marina that we could park in.  The first part of the trail is fairly level as you can see here:

After this point, there is about a 5-8 minute walk along the beach and then we start the uphill trek.  Most of it is fairly gradual except the last portion, but all is rough going with huge, loose rocks causing one to watch where you step.

This picture does not really give you the degree of incline of the hill and, at this point, it is not too bad.

Now the incline starts to increase which you still can't tell well from the photo, but take my word for it. The bad thing was that I had not thought of walking to their house until we left and were half way to the other side.  I wore flip flops with a really slippery insole and it proved to be a very bad mistake as the going was rougher than had I worn proper walking shoes.

We are still walking uphill at this point and the last few inclines ahead.  The one directly in front and the one to the back of that hill, were extremely steep.  As a matter of fact, the other people that live on this side of the island have a 4-wheeler and travel to their home on it when the weather is rough.  Even riding in that machine is scary because of the steep incline of the mountain.



At last, we reached the top (about 20 minutes later from when we left the beach) and we at least have level terrain to walk on.  However, it is still filled with large rocks and pebbles making it difficult to walk.

This is the view of the airport runway (in the middle of the picture and the canal to the right looking off to the East/Southeast of the island.

This is a view of Michael's Rock which juts out on the left of the point out in the water.  Not to be confused with Michael's peak which is in about the middle of the picture and is the tallest mountain on the island.

This is a view of Jim and Ann's dock.  The water doesn't look particularly dangerous but the rollers that come in preclude one from safely maneuvering a boat along side the dock.

And, now, our guests, Ann and Jim with two of their dogs.  The one behind Ann is a visitor from the neighbor's house.

This is a photo of their guest cottage and where their full-time worker lives.

Everyone on the island tries to do something silly or cute or unusual to set their house apart from the rest.  Ann and Jim have created Ernie and Ernest (I think that's what their names were) with cast off pieces found on the beach.

This is an older photo of the back of their house.  It now has a fresh coat of paint and looks really nice. Sorry, I didn't have a photo of the front of the house.

Ann in her kitchen.  She is happy because she did not have to cook a meal for us.  I had volunteered to bring a special baked sandwich, cole slaw and banana muffins as they have been so busy working on their home between trekking over the mountain to do their errands that I felt they needed a break.  They were very happy to see us arrive, especially with food in our hands.  They said we could come back any time!!!

Here we are, ready to trek back and this time I have more confidence because Ann loaned me her walking shoes!  Thanks Ann - they were a real help.  We also took "walking sticks" which are a definite must when going up and down steep mountains.

 Ann mentioned that she has really built up her strength and can now walk some of the inclines without stopping half way up!  Way to go Ann!

We had a very pleasant day with them and enjoyed our visit.  They have come a long way from when they bought a "shell" of a house and are doing a lot to make it cosy and warm.  We look forward to revisiting them but, hopefully, the seas will be calmer and we won't have to make the long walk.  

As I've said before, you must have stamina and be willing to do things you ordinarily would not think of doing when you live on Guanaja!  And I know people who simply complain when they have to walk too far to the store from where they parked in the parking lot!  HA.


  1. Is this near Wilmont Bay? My husband and I visited Guanaja last year and enjoyed the snorkeling immensely!

    1. Yes, this is the point you come to just before you get to Wilmont Bay. The house has been there for years but was recently sold to Ann and Jim who are anxious to finish with all the inside work and take up residence!

  2. Hi
    Great post!Ive been reading your blog for sometime and Ive never posted, but since its been a while since an island post I thought this would be a good time. That looks like the area to the right of the cut, I always wondered who lived at the end of that trail, I think its the one you can see from the water. We will be building this summer fairly close to G&G. It will start out as a vacation home then become a retirement home.

    1. Yes, this home and those of Wilmont Bay are the first one you see when approaching the island for landing. I wish you the best in your upcoming home here. Write and let me know who you are, where you are from and exactly where you will be building. We are always anxious to meet new people!

  3. I just visited for the first time and HOLY CRAP. You live on the prettiest island EVER. The sand flies though...oh my. I hope to come back soon.