When we were young our parents never trusted those busses shuttling children back and forth to school trips. So, usually that meant that unless my dad was able to take the day off from work to drive behind the bus we weren’t going. Can’t say I remember exactly, but somehow there is this vague memory stuck in the back of my head somewhere of a bus bound for the Blue Mountains leaving without us and my dad’s little gray Datsun pickup truck was not following behind.
The Blue Mountains are Jamaica’s longest mountain range with its peak at 7,402 feet, the island’s highest point. It is said that on a clear day you could see the outline of the island of Cuba and at nights, its lights. The mountain range spans over 4 parishes: St. Mary, St Andrew, the parish of my birth, St. Thomas and my second favorite parish of Portland. The world-renowned delicious coffee, Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, is as the name suggests, grown right there in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
For the 17 years I lived in Jamaica, we never made it up to the Blue Mountains and with all the visiting I did thereafter it was never on the agenda. Well, since aging women always seem to have something on a bucket list and with my latest commitment to saying yes, a group of us decided to take the trek up to the Blue Mountain.
What an experience it was! We never actually made it up to the peak, but it was not so much about getting to the top as much as it was about enjoying the climb and the sights and sounds along the way. When we were growing up in Jamaica, we had taken those roads leading to the Blue Mountains many times, but we had never gone the extra miles to climb the mountain. On this trip we took those same familiar routes that had long since grown unfamiliar with years, but this time we hiked a little distance up the mountain.
We started out in Trinity Ville, my husband’s place of birth, then headed up to hills to Cedar Valley where my dad lived as a child. We went up the hills and down the valleys and then up again. We drove into riverbeds, crossing through streams and rivers we had bathed in as children, all while stopping to take pictures, have a few cold drinks or two, and talk to the people along the way.
Then, we ended up in Maxine’s house. Who was Maxine you ask? Oh, I don’t know, she’s just a lady we met while looking at an old, abandoned church. Soon we were in Maxine’s house using her bathroom and i-phone charger, and checking out her kitchen, dogs and chickens and posing for pictures on her bike. This is the beauty of my country and its people. We drove through the districts of Newcastle, Hagley Gap and other small districts in between until we got to Epping Farms. Then we walked a little distance up the mountain.
Our journey was refreshing and wonderful and the view up and down from the mountain was beautiful and speaks for itself so I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
The building below is the old church we stopped to check out located in the Woodburn district. I could see it used to be a beautiful church, now left abandoned and long forgotten. As Maxine tells it, the older members all passed away and there were no young ones left behind to keep it going. Further proof that our children are the future.
Some people spend the night here before the hike so that they can leave out in the wee hours of the morning (best time to hike) for the 3hr hike up to the mountain peak.
We never actually saw the peak since it was hidden in those thick fluffy clouds behind us in this picture, but the hike and the view were worth it. This old lady just added one more thing to her bucket list. I’m taking my guys with me next time and we’re going all the way up to the peak. Life is a fragile beautiful thing that’s there just waiting for us to make whatever we want of it. You just have to embrace it and dare to “climb that mountain.”
Until next time, 11 days in Jamaica, 8 more days to go…Sincerely Jan!
Subscribe below to receive e-mail updates and notifications of my latest blogs: