Location: Young Island, St Vincent
We started our day bright and early at 6 am. I woke everyone up with “It’s oh so quiet” by Bjork. Despite the crescendo of screams coming from my speaker, many of the boys stayed fast asleep. We had fifteen minutes to get ready for breakfast, which was delicious bowls of blueberry oatmeal. Kudos to the chefs. Once we finished packing our lunch sandwiches, we were off. We piled in a small bus with lace on the seats. Strange, I know. The bus ride was chaos: honking horns, sharp turns, the very idea of driving on the left side of the road. I fell fast asleep on Ruth Riley, who had graciously provided me her shoulder.
When we finally got to the hike, the ground and buildings were covered in beautiful blue-green lizards. As we began hiking, I was struck by the beauty of the rainforest. We walked along bamboo-covered paths with sharp drops on each side of the trail. I was feeling extremely proud of myself, as I was both in the front of the group with Margeaux, Zoe, Luke, and Kiara, and I wasn’t feeling too winded. That didn’t last. Before we even hit the 45-minute mark, we were all red in the face and sweating out more water than we had brought. I was feeling totally exhausted an hour in, and then we hit the steps. Perhaps the most brutal section of the hike, the steps felt endless, just one bamboo stair after the next. I hiked this section a little behind Will, who would call out to me after each bend what was ahead. “It’s a little flatter up here!”, “What elevation!” “It’s not looking great,” what crushing defeat. Finally, finally, I heard, “I think this is the end!”. I emerged from the forest to a beautiful view of the valley and ocean below. I marveled at how far our legs can take us in such a short amount of time. I continued in the sunny brush for maybe another thirty minutes. Finally, alone, my determination faltered. “Take a little break. No one will know.” whispered my calves.
“What about some water? That’s a matter of health, you know,” whispered my throat. No, I told myself onward. And onward I went. Soon I caught up with Pearse and Zac, who were sitting on a bank. They were on the brink of giving in. “This is cap. They totally sugar-coated this,” said Pearse. Zac only stared. The heat must have gotten him. Still, I continued onwards, upwards, until I finally arrived at Julia and Zoe. Who, between pants, were studying for our oceanography quiz. We paused for some sweaty selfies before continuing on. “Julia,” I lamented, “I feel like as soon as we reach the top of the ridge, there’s just going to be another bigger, meaner ridge.” I have never been happier to be wrong. The top of that ridge was the rim of the volcanoa spectacular sight, full of soft greens. Sulfuric smoke wafted up as shifting clouds reached down. After a long rest, we continued on the trail around the rim and looked for a place to stop for lunch. Lunch was gorged on. On the way down, we all slid and slipped, and I worked my way down very, very slowly with Calum and Mike. Together we stumbled upon the rest of the group jumping into a deep waterhole. I took a swim myself, and I can confirm that the crisp cool water was beyond refreshing.
After the hike, we all scrambled around the grocery store to stock up on snacks. We were given only twenty minutes, which felt far too short to make such monumental decisions. We returned to the boat for showers and more study time, and then dinner. After dinner, I got to hear about everybody’s favorite laughs, and then we took our quiz. We are all now working desperately away on our Literature reviews, which are due in two days.
Wish us luck
A group of us up top
Calum and Mike chewing on grass
Mike, among others studying
Jula and Isa being silly
Margeaux hiding in the brush
Ben on Volcano ridge
Luke returning from his explorations
Lennox and Cheif hiking
Lizards (How many can you spot?)
The beginning, before we were winded
Lunch spot 1
Ruth-Riley and Kiara
Mike jumping into the freshwater
All of us together