My Hiking Experience

Hiking to the Natural Pools

Yesterday, December 30, 2012, my family and I hiked to the Tidal Pools on the Island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.

Let me start off my saying I had never been to the Tidal pools, didn’t know about them until recently even though I was born here and lived here my whole life. That being said I had no idea what I was getting myself into by saying I want to go on this hike.

First I got up around 8 am and started to get ready by having a quick shower, I knew I was going to sweat on the hike, without a doubt, only a mountain goat wouldn’t sweat after walking for 2 hours. Yes this hike was 2 hours to get to the pools and 2 hours to walk back from the pools. So I showered and started to filling my bottles of water, no cold water only room temperature, it wouldn’t do to shock my system by drinking ice cold water after walking in the hot hot sun for so long. Water ready, I’m ready, got a call that said my cousin wasn’t going to be able to come even though he was the one who knew how to get there and was going to drive some of us down there so we didn’t have to hike.
He’s not coming again, so my mother was like “Oh well, I guess we’ll do something else” naturally I was disappointed, I wanted to see these pools and it was a big let down after waking up so early and filling up the bottles…I didn’t want to stay home or drive around, that’s boring.
I guess my aunt was feeling the same and my brother and other cousin had been there before, they knew the way so we decided to hike it still.

It was a long drive to the road where we would begin the hike, it was located near the Carambola Beach Resort and Spa which is on the West end of the Island and we live more towards the East End of the Island. Yes the Island is small only 82.88 square miles but when you grow up here it seems very big.
When we were close to the resort I started to take some pictures because the view is beautiful, I was happy taking pictures out the car window when I caught a man jogging in one of them, I have no idea who he is but he is now a center piece of one of my photos.
We drove up to the road, and started getting out of the cars, there were four cars in total, one car held me, my sister, one niece, and two of my brothers, the other car held my oldest sister, my youngest brother, my mother and my two other nieces. The third car held my aunt, my two cousins, and her two kids, the fourth car held my uncle, my other aunt, and their two kids. There were 19 of us in total and we were ready to hike this thing!

My brother and my cousin would lead the group since they’ve been there before, my sister had also been on the hike before but she stayed in the middle in case the group got separated for any reason. We began walking, and it seemed we had been walking forever, it was fine, I had my water, my bag holding my camera and sd card wasn’t heavy and I had a good pace….until it started going uphill. That was the worst part of the Hike for me, going uphill. I got winded so bad, I honestly believe my heart was going to give out on me right there on the trail, the others were still going and I could see them but I had to take a rest, I wasn’t alone, my cousin stopped beside me and then everyone else stopped ahead, the stragglers came up to us and stopped too. I had been on a hike before, was much earlier in the year but I had done worse, I didn’t pack any water that time so this time I was prepared. I took sips of water and calmed myself, drinking too much water would have made me sick and probably cause me numerous problems on the hike including having to drain fluid somewhere in the bushes….I wasn’t interested in doing that so sip it I did.

Taking our break

Break was over and it was time to move again, it’s been about an hour since we started to walk and some of the group was very tired, I wasn’t feeling too bad after sipping my water, my heart was even back to normal, I did feel a big fatigued though, we continued walking but on even ground with a few dips here and there, we came upon a beehive of African Killer Bees, everyone had to be very quiet so we can walk past there without agitating the bees. It was very tense because of the little kids, just the slightest sound can bring a bee out of the hive. There we were trying to past by the hive in single file quietly but rapidly so no one is stuck by there for a long time. We passed there successfully and continued on our journey.

Next we had to walk by some tall grasses, it was such a pretty view that I stopped to take pictures, I told them to wait for me but they didn’t stop, I was up in the front so I wasn’t too worried about being left behind.

View from the tall grass

I should not have stopped, on the ground were hundred if not thousands of red ants, and when I stopped they crawled up my legs, I hadn’t noticed but my cousin’s daughter was quick to tell me “You have lots of ants on your legs”, let me tell you the feeling was not pleasant, I started stomping and shaking my legs, brushing them off in hopes of getting these ants off but everywhere we walked there seemed to be more ants, we walked through some very tall grass that reminded me of scenes from the first Jurassic park, it was kind of amusing, the Velociraptors would be the red ants and they were biting!

On and on we walked with these ants just crawling all over the ground and onto our shoes even while walking rapidly, we finally reached a dirt road where there weren’t as many ants and I immediately started stomping my feet and brushing ants from my sneakers, one ant already bit me and I was not going to allow any of the others the chance to taste my flesh.
We walked down the dirt road for a good while before coming up to a stony beach, finally some of the younger kids thought, the beach! But this was not the end of our journey.

The stony beach before the pools

Nope our journey was to take us over jagged rocks and brave rushing water with big waves, our destination was not this beach. I didn’t know at the time that the pools were on the other side of the jagged rocks though so I took some pictures of the view, and it was a spectacular view, the hills in the background, the water and the rock outlines made for a beautiful display.

Then is when I learned that the Tidal pools I had walked over such treacherous terrain to view were some ways over on the other side of those rocks that can cut flesh and the waves crashed onto. I was game, terrified of slipping and being taken away to sea but still game.
I have never climbed so fast in my life before, I felt like a monkey climbing for it’s life, clinging onto the rocks and looking for hand and foot holds so I don’t fall into the rushing sea. I was thinking to myself is it worth it? I hope it’s worth it or I’ll be so upset.
When I finally reached the other side, the view answered my question.

My brother standing on the jagged  rocks

 It was worth it, I had never seen such a beautiful rock formation before in my life, the water was reflecting off of the rocks and forming a moving sparkling show for the eyes to behold, the water was clear and you could see fishes of blue and black swimming happily along the bottom of the Tidal pool…this…..this was totally worth, tripping over tree roots, nearly suffering heart failure and being bitten by red ants. I will never forget such natural beauty.

The Tidal Pools

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2 thoughts on “My Hiking Experience

  1. Awesome pics as usual PJz.I didn't know Cruz had things like that either, especially since I always hear its flat and so forth. If you enjoyed those and the pics you got from there, there are some hiking sites on STJ and STT but I only know the STJ ones) that you would love. Glad to see your family having outings like this.I missed the ones I had when I was younger living in SK.\”drain fluid somewhere\” – lol

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  2. Thank you, it wasn't the hike really just the natural pools I was interested in. I have 0 intentions of going back to St. Thomas lol, it's not for me, every time I am there I get annoyed and stressed and want to go back home.

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