Hikeseekers Hike to Madamas Waterfall

by hiker Marisha Darneaud

Quoting from the Saturday Express editorial of May 17, 2003, “Bad must not overshadow good.”

In spite of the high level of crime in the country, T&T still has hope. It is indeed a challenge for us, but we must continue to work for positive community development. T&T, thought heavily burdened with social ills, still possesses an asset that continues to draw lots of foreigners resulting in more $$ for the local economy.

That asset is our lovely physical attractions. Recently I was at one of them-Madamas waterfall (pronounced Madame mus’) and what an exciting day it was! A while back, my friends, Tinasha, Lashawn, Brent, Kirwin and I joined other excited youths in Port of Spain, where we were to journey or should I say hike for approximately six hours through the Blanchisseuse forest, Brasso Seco, to find the above-mentioned waterfall. Gulp!

As the maxi journeyed, the tour guide, Laurence “Snake” Pierre, who has over 20 years experience in hiking, was giving us in-depth information about the fall. However, I cannot recall one word he said, as the breath-taking scenery of the lush forest captivated me. There was a lot of cristophene vegetation growing on carefully constructed wires extending way down the precipices. And talk about fresh air! One could actually smell the difference between the town and forest blindfolded; no scent of smoke or gas, the air was lighter and clean! No wonder people choose to live up there. Speaking about residents who live in those areas, we were in awe at how many of them survive without running water, electricity and many other commodities we take for granted. Of course, our cell phones could no longer receive any signals as the drive took us higher into the hills. These residents seemed to be very healthy and happy. They plant their own food and are some of the friendliest people one can ever encounter. Upon disembarking from the maxi, we prayed, then started trekking along a dirt road enjoying the raw, unspoiled, uninhibited beauty of nature. Soon the road ended and the hike really began.

We eventually found ourselves climbing up and down hills, nearly tripping over large roots and stumps, wondering if our legs could carry us any further. “Are we there yet?” was a question repeated many times. We then arrived at a location where the river was close by and we couldn’t believe that there were more houses; one of the residents even owns a small brown deer. The luscious scenery continued to mesmerize me and the journey was made less burdensome with lots of fun and laughter as hikers mimicked Tarzan’s sounds. I guess we were curious – almost ready to believe we would see him, or maybe the sight of Papa Bois seemed more realistic. The sight of the rippling river made it evident that our destination was close by. It then became normal to see the youths treading in the river in their sneakers when they were unable to find any more clear dry land.

I was determined to be the only smart one to have not landed in a mossy spot or get my sneakers wet, but soon Lashawn, Brent and Tinasha left me and I realised I was the last person in the trail! I finally took off my sneakers and waded slowly, reaching nowhere fast. Kirwin who probably felt sorry for me (or was laughing in his mind at my foolishness) decided to stick with me. The fact that the others were already splashing and enjoying the water finally convinced me to do what I dreaded-I put back on my poor, already partially unstitched footwear and waded in the river as fast as I could, and, in no time, I joined the others. The waterfall, concealed and protected by miles of forest, is spectacular. The clean water was so cold and refreshing that after a swim, you wouldn’t feel like bathing for days. Purified water brands can’t compete any day with that water. Why hadn’t brought a camera?

One of the residents, Kumbaya, who is probably over fifty years old, made the trip with us. He proved that we youth were no match for his strength. While we had to make several stops to breathe, drink water and rest, Kumbaya trod easily as if he was just taking a casual stroll! When we reached back to the maxi located by Kumbaya’s house, he offered us some cooked fish, seasoned with his own produce. I was a bit skeptical to taste food without salt but that meal was absolutely the best I have ever tasted!

I can’t wait to hike again. For those of you looking for some healthy activities, you can try hiking. “Snake” is the manager of “Hike Seekers”, an organization that arranges hikes for all interested. If you know that you can’t handle the mosquitoes or bush, doh bother, but if you really want to see what to see what T&T has to offer you in terms of rivers, falls and beaches I guarantee you never heard of, go to www.hikeseakers.com for the information you need. The question is: Are you ready?

Hikeseekers.com is an organization set up by environment-loving people. It is spear-headed by professional hikers with many years of experience. The hike master as mentioned earlier is Lawrence “Snake” Pierre who is a member of our Defense Force. Hike Seekers is also linked with organizations like TIDCO and T&T Field Naturalists Club. There is so much one can learn about our ecosystem and about our lovely isles.

If you are interested, contact members of the organization to arrange a hike for you and your group or join them on one of theirs.