Hikeseekers Hike to Paria Falls
by hiker Claire Watson (Jan 2003)

On Sunday 12th January 2003 my family and I set off on the trail from Blanchisseuse to Paria falls with a group called Hikeseekers. The group assembled at the Maraval Gas Station opposite the RC church and left in convoy for Blanchisseuse Cars were securely parked and the eager hikers were warmly welcomed by the competent and effervescent leader Laurence Pierre – affectionately known by hikers as ‘Snake.’

It was a brilliant morning and hikers were in good spirits ready for a day of fun and relaxation. The more able and seasoned hikers assembled at the back of the group and the amateurs were given the lead. This arrangement was short lived for in no time the regulars were way ahead and moving with ease.Hiking with Hikeseekers was a great experience. Great care was taken to ensure safety and protection for every member of the group and no one was left behind. The atmosphere of camaraderie and caring prevailed from start to finish. Hikers came from all over the country and a great part of the hike was meeting new people.

The hike was invigorating, the trail was long, the climbs challenging. The newcomers and less experienced hikers met the challenging climbs with groans and moans and christened the two most challenging hills ‘Heartache’ and ‘Heartbreak.’The scenery was magnificent. The vegetation was so lush there were beautiful butterflies of every local species, the most beautiful to behold were the blue emperors. The birds and noisy parrots above announced our presence and the wild flowers made the trail heavenly. The crisp freshness of the air was intoxicating.

What a great way to start 2003.As the trail moved closer toward the cliff’s edge, the breathtaking sight of the ocean called for another photo taking session. The climax of this part of the hike was the view off ‘Turtle Point.’ This view did not appeal to members who were afraid of heights but to the more adventurous hikers this had to be captured on film. The sheer drop to the ocean looked menacing but the view was breathtaking.

After about two and a half hours we finally sighted Paria beach – clearly one of the most beautiful beaches in Trinidad. Its clear blue waters and clean shore, its natural, un spoilt appearance is beyond compare.The trail continued for another 15 minutes on to the Falls. The Falls were beautiful. The pure water cascaded in a powerful thunderous chute into the river. This time of year it flowed so powerfully that it was almost impossible to swim close without being pushed back to shore. The water was so cold that it ached to the bone but it was so refreshing after the long tiring hike that no one could resist the plunge.After half and hour of relaxation it was time to trek back to our starting point.

Parting was such sweet sorrow. The only thing that might stop me from going on the next hike is UWI fete – what a difficult choice to make! Keep up the good work ‘Snake’!

Claire Watson