The Trek to Blue Mountain Peak

The second weekend after arriving in Kingston, I joined three other interns who work in the office and their roommate on a hike to the highest point in Jamaica, Blue Mountain. The trip up was treacherous, the lack of sleep was strenuous, and the hike itself was arduous, but it was the experience of a lifetime and one that only a few people, apparently not even a lot of Jamaicans, get to enjoy.

Our trip started on Saturday morning, leaving from the north side of Kingston we had to catch a route taxi to Papine, a mini-bus to Mavis-Bank and then from there a rocky, steep climb in a Land Rover to the camp where we were staying. This camp was run by a family of Bobo Rastafarians who have a certain laid-back life style that made time at the camp run at a slower pace. The man who ran the camp was called Jah B and despite the slow lifestyle he lived he was as shrewd and sharp as any business man that I have ever met.

He and his family had constructed a cabin way up in these mountains for groups like ours to use as a base for hikes to see the sun rise from the peak, starting at 2:00 am. This was our plan, to get some sleep that afternoon/evening and then get up well before dawn so that we could be the first people in Jamaica to see the new day.

I caught a decent nap in the afternoon so that evening I joined some other tourists, two Czechs and a Colombian for a drink at probably the most remote bar I will ever go to. The bar seemed to be more of a hangout for the locals because of the TV, showing Fast and the Furious, rather than the drink so we moved our conversation outside where we had a great view of the clear night sky. At around 11 or so I returned to the room I shared with the others on the trip until about midnight or so when we found a rat climbing around our room, I figured sleep wasn’t going to happen at that point.

We started hiking at around 2 am, giving us just over three hours to make it to the top in order to see the sunrise. The trip up was fairly treacherous and exhausting, plus we only had our flashlights to rely on for light. Despite all of that, and by pushing ourselves to the point of collapse we were able to reach the peak just five minutes before the sunrise was scheduled. This we unfortunately still did not see because the peak was actually encompassed by a cloud, limiting our visibility to roughly zero.

But still despite our disappointment of missing the sunrise and having all our effort wasted, we were still able to get a great view after coming down off the mountain a little bit.

All in all, Blue Mountain was a completely different experience for me, but it was also the ideal way for me to get acquainted with local Jamaica by talking with our guides and going to a place that was very far off the beaten track. The trip also showed me a part of Jamaica that I have realized is unfortunately a rarity on the island, an environment that is nearly unmarred by human interaction, and demonstrated to me that the work conducted by the Caribbean Environmental Programme is vital to ensure that others can have similar experiences in the future.


Categories: Other, Student Blogs
1 Comment
  1. Sherpa Bill

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