Hiking To Kwame Falls, St Mary
Hiking to Kwame Falls, St Mary
This was by far the best hike I have ever been on, and it was something I had been looking forward to for quite a while.
Kwame falls is in St Mary and I finally went on the trip with a group from Stella Maris Church, some members of Charlene Collins' photographic group and a few fellow cyclists.
The seamless organisation for this trip was done by businessman Michael Chuck and attorney Charles Williams, both proud Georgians and foundation members of Fun and Thrills Adventure Club.
The 43-seater bus which we chartered was right on schedule and all the seats were quickly taken, but somehow we still left more than an hour late, as yes, 'Jamaica time' prevailed, but what the heck, the camaraderie we enjoyed made the time slip by before we realised it.
Once we were on our way along the winding Junction road beside which the serene Wag Water River flows, and started to see the lush hills boasting every shape and shade of green, we were quickly filled with a sense of well-being which was enhanced by the great music our very competent driver had brought along.
Our first stop was just before we got to Robin's Bay, where we had the prearranged canoe that would transport our gear - which included food and a domino table, etc - by sea, thus making it easier for us to do the almost two-hour hike inland unhampered.
After loading up, we proceeded to a rest stop at Robin's Bay Village Beach Resort which, although closed for refurbishing, had friendly and accommodating staff prepare coffee and light refreshments for us.
We started the walk about a half mile beyond the point where we met the boat, accompanied by three guides - one in front, one in the middle, and one at the back.
The hike took us along a peaceful, undulating, scenic and not-too-difficult path.
By the time we got to Black Beach, where we planned to have lunch, the boat was there and we learnt that while the trip had been bumpy but uneventful, just as they docked, a large wave bounded on to the shore, and despite the best efforts of the pilot and his crew to stabilise the canoe, the wave was too much for them and the boat overturned. Luckily for us, though, although everything washed out into the swirling waters, the crew was able to retrieve almost everything, and most important, all the food.
This stop was at a perfect spot with sufficient trees to give us lots of shade to eat, play dominoes or just rest. The water was rough and choppy, though, so it was no good for swimming. Shortly after we arrived and set up base, we headed on towards our real destination: Kwame Falls.
The path was also quite easy, taking us by a big morass (thank God, no crocodiles are on the side of the island) and crossing through the dry Kwame riverbed at least three times.
On the way, I noticed a number of huge holes in the ground and on inquiring from the guide what caused them, he said they were crab holes. Boy, would I ever love to see those crabs in a pot - for those were the largest crab holes I had ever seen!
Incidentally, we were told by the guide that Kwame was one of the bravest Maroon soldiers who fought with Tacky against the British, so I found it significant that the falls named after Kwame are much smaller than the one, also in St Mary, named in honour of Tacky. (See article on Tacky Falls published in The Sunday Gleaner on August 3, 2014 - www.jamaica-gleaner.com/
When we got there, we discovered that because it was the drought season, the falls were a mere trickle, but below was a huge swimming area, very deep in most areas and the great thing is it had some very warm spots, indicating that there were warm springs feeding into the area.
Only a trickle was coming down from the hills, but years of trickling had made a huge, deep, warm pool at Kwame Falls.
We spent an absolutely wonderful time there frolicking in the water, while the more adventurous took on the challenge of trying to balance on fallen tree trunks to cross the river below the falls.
Too soon, however, it was time to retrace our steps to Black Beach, where the delicious precooked lunch we had brought was already laid out by some of the organisers.
After eating, drinking, and feeling very merry, some of us sat down to a game of dominoes, while others just basked in the natural beauty around, and all too soon, we were summoned to leave.
Of course, to get back to the bus, we had to retrace our steps along the well-marked, stony, undulating trail, but it was such a wonderful day that no one was complaining, not even Fun and Thrills member David, whose sneakers had left him, causing him to have to take on the gravel and stones barefooted all the way back.
It was an absolutely enjoyable day all around and the professionalism of the lead guide was refreshing, for when we returned to the hotel where we had picked him up, he came over to our bus to thank us for allowing him to be our guide and wished us a good day.
What had impressed me about the guides, too, was the fact that at lunch, they had to be invited to come over and get something to eat, unlike some we have had in the past, who dove for the food as soon as it appeared, with or without an invitation. These guides were really professionally trained fellows.
I would recommend a trip to Kwame Falls to all who love to hike, swim, and discover the beautiful parts of Jamaica which are far from the madding crowd, and you don't need to ask me how to find it, for once you get to Robin's Bay in St Mary, every one of the friendly people there is ready and willing to give you advice and tell you where to find those excellent guides.