Beautiful Northern Manchester and Southern Trelawny
Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether it is our lush variegated mountains, especially in the early mornings as the mist rises
slowly, or whether it is our wonderful beaches and waterfalls which are more beautiful. I don't suppose it really matters because in the final analysis, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by both, and in doing so, more fully appreciate the beauty of this little island that we live on.
These things might be taken for granted by some as we rush around without stopping to smell the roses (or in our case, the wonderful wild flowers that surround us), but whether you hike or cycle for exercise like myself, we cannot help but feel closer to nature and appreciate God's blessing.
In the countryside encompassing northern Manchester and southern Trelawny, it is impossible to ignore the natural beauty there.
So, on hearing that the Caribbean's leading urologist, Professor Lawson Douglas OJ, CD, would be heading that way early one Saturday morning for one of his energising charity walks, I jumped at the opportunity to join it.
Professor Douglas has already spent many years walking around and around Jamaica raising funds for the Kidney Foundation.
According to Tony Morrison on the occasion of the goodly professor becoming the 21st recipient of the Gleaner Honour Award back in 2002: "His fund-raising efforts for kidney causes have gone so far as to put his life on the line, as last year he led an islandwide 400-mile walkathon while ill, and only two years after undergoing heart surgery. He happily conceded in a Sunday Gleaner interview at the time that many of his colleagues might have thought he was mad. 'I wanted them to make some big bets. I wanted them to say this man is 65 with a triple bypass and with function in only one lung (the result of a motor vehicle accident), that he won't make it.'
"But make it he did, raising more than $1.5 million in the process. Sceptics should not have been surprised, as a check into his background would have revealed that he has been walking around 22 miles per week (at four miles an hour!) since his surgery back in 1997."
going and going
Like the Energizer Bunny, the good professor just keeps going and sometimes we join him.
This hike was approximately 13 kilometres from Christiana to Allsides in Trelawny. It exposed us to beautiful landscapes, especially as the sun glistened behind the mist-covered hills, fighting hard to shine through.
Here in Manchester so early in the morning, the temperature was super cold. I wore two shirts with the intention of removing one at sunrise, but even at 9 a.m., I still hadn't warmed up enough to take
We quickly crossed the border into Trelawny. The crossing point is called Line of Parish.
As dawn gradually broke, the fabulous scenery unfolded, with mist-covered mountains, green agricultural fields, beautiful flowers, lush salubrious hills and valleys starting to manifest themselves.
The clean, fresh morning air was invigorating and at times felt near-freezing, but that was suppressed by our unbridled camaraderie which made the whole trip thoroughly enjoyable.
We trekked through quaint districts such as Lowe River, Highgate Hall, Battersea, Lime Tree, and Wait-a-Bit.
Although the topography between Trelawny and Manchester were very similar, the difference in development was stark. The Manchester side had much better roads including a bypass of Christiana, while the Trelawny side was potholed and we saw people carrying water on their heads.
Trelawny people are, however, apparently more hospitable because at the border, there is a Welcome to Trelawny sign, but on the return, we saw no similar sign before entering Manchester!
The professor's fit team walked much faster than we did. In fact, once we left Christiana, we never saw any of them again. However, the marshal of the walk, Carl Oxford, continuously cycled to and fro to check on all participants, including idlers!
Typically for us, it was another great day of camaraderie and discovery, and all I can say is that Jamaica is lucky to have a man like Professor Lawson Douglas and his team who have for decades dedicated themselves to trekking around this wonderful island of ours raising funds for such a worthy cause.
n Joan Williams, moderator of Joan Williams Online broadcast on Power 106, describes herself as an unapologetic addict to the Jamaican outdoors. A foundation member of Fun and Thrills Adventure Club, she explores the island at any given opportunity cycling, hiking or swimming with that group, family, Jah 3 and anyone else who will have her. In 1995, she published the popular Tour Jamaica and the fourth edition is now an ebook available at: www.amazon.com/