by hiker Zenobia Mohammed

After this hike to the scenic and peaceful North Oropouche River, we decided to call ourselves the “Late Stragglers”. The group from Central Trinidad reached on Snake’s hike late and throughout the trail we were last, struggling but not failing. It was a morning never to forget, since it was one of those rare Sundays we could not sleep in. My God, we like to hike but this was a day to remain under covers.

At last, we reached the Valencia River and our hike started up the hills that nestled around this famous river. Our short trek led us immediately to a sudden drop that required us to rappel downhill onto a sea of gravel. “So fast we have to use the rope and we only start to hike for 10 minutes,” complained some of us. But my goodness, if you want adventure – a hike to North Oropouche is your cup of tea. Our trek continued through several crystal clear pools that could give our Nylon Pool a run for its money! Eventually, we reached the exciting part of our mission. The “Late Stragglers” were not prepared for this: long winding edges – one slip and by force, you could be taking a dive. Then came along several slippery rocks, which had some of us looking as though we were doing the tai chai.

Nevertheless, thank God for helping hands and good company that we had throughout this adventure. Snake, a true hike seeker continued to impress us as we followed him up, down and around the hills. Finally, it was time to rest. We were so relieved to just cool off and replenish ourselves in one of the lovely pools that we found. It was ideal for swimming and just splashing around. It was time to head out.

A decision was to be made – to swim down the gorges or continue hiking on land. Despite our fussing and sore legs, you could guess what our decision was! Before the action could start, plans had to be implemented. Bags were given up, eyeglasses were secured, shoes were tightened, and cameras were placed in plastic bags then in another and in some cases, in two bags. “See you at the end,” we said to those who were taking the other trail. We bid farewell and the excitement started. Hand in hand, we walked cautiously through the waist height water. Drenched and cold we continued to walk for what seemed like hours. Then it was time to either swim or hang onto the rope for your life!

Several gorges, their depths were unknown. One thing for certain, we were not letting go of the rope. We pulled ourselves across to shallow waters and stood anxiously waiting for the next person. At the end, we gave each other hi-fives, hugs and a pat on the back for a job well done. It took us quite some time to clear the gorges and reunite with the others who took the land trail. However, at the end, we felt fulfilled and we learnt no task is difficult for us to perform after all.

Whether one may be a straggler or an enthusiast, completing the hike and appreciating what our very own natural habitat has to offer is what matters!

All the best and see you around for the next hike,

Your friends,
Abaida, Ada, Fariyah, Farrah, Fiaz, Indaz, Judy, Lal, Melissa, Nassif, Reena, Sanjay, Sharda, Shazeeda, Shazim, Sheereen, Sylvester, Terence, Zobida, Zenobia.