The Saturday started out great with a trip to the market in downtown St. Georges. The amount of fresh locally grown produce such as breadfruit, bananas, green coconuts, cucumbers and passion fruit is overwhelming and very affordable. We took our first bus ride and went into town for the provisioning trip and ended up with backpacks full of food for under $30US including 5 lbs. of yellowfin tuna. Oh…..and the bus ride was $1US each way.
|The fish market. Yes, that is a bat and an machete she is using to cut the fish.|
|We are loving the fruits and vegetables they grow on the island!|
|Everybody at the market stopping to watch the World Cup game. It was the exciting France vs Argentina game!|
Every week a local hiking / running club, called hash house harriers, gets together for a couple hours to explore a section of the island. The temporary trail varies every week where a local leader called a "Hare" puts together a challenging path along the beach, through the rainforest or winding around one of the island towns. To mark the trail the hare places small patches of shredded paper and occasionally provide false trails that ultimately end in an "X" to keep you on your toes. The main starting trail splits into a 4-5 mile runner and 1.5-2 mile walker route.
We have been looking forward to joining one of these hikes since leaving the Bahamas and couldn’t wait for the 4pm start time. After driving up to the small mountain town we found the starting point by the Soca music and about 200 local Grenadian's wearing all kinds of colorful shirts, workout clothes and funny knee high socks. We were a bit late so we quickly registered and gathered at the starting point for the kickoff called the "on-on". The group moved forward on a flat broad road but shortly took a left turn down into the valley and rainforest. It was about 10 minutes into the hike alongside a beautiful stream that the trail narrowed significantly and slowed the pace. Kathy and I were about 3 people behind the kids picking our way along the trail when I looked up and … NO KIDS IN SIGHT.
|Everyone getting ready for the "on-on".|
|The "hares" explaining the trail to everyone.|
|The start of the hash when we actually had the kids.|
|A picture of what the trails looked like.|
|These are not your normal hiking trails.|
|This is after we lost the kids....notice we are not with the crowds anymore.|
We sped up as quickly as possible but could not see them and now the trail has begun to split into false trails which we had to explore in case they went down the wrong trail. After about an hour we started to get a bit concerned as I was the only one with the backpack containing water and snacks and sunset was about an hour away. We were hoping that they kept calm and followed the trail. We were also concerned that they didn't really listen to all of the hash rules like false trails, runner/walker split, etc.… Would they stay together? Would they try to leave the trail and try to find their own way back? What would they do if somebody got hurt? We were towards the back of the hashers and we were by ourselves a lot on the trail. We were hoping they were able to stick with a bigger group. It was a tough trail that going through some thick rainforest in the middle of Grenada. We finally reached the halfway point where the runner and walker trails met briefly again and decided to split up in order to find the kids. I took the runner trail which is misleading as this trail was pretty challenging and taking a lot of effort to keep moving forward at a hiking pace and Kathy took the walker trail that was also very tough but shorter. The trail provided incredible scents winding through forest dripping with mangoes, apples and passion fruit while poking out for breathtaking views of the ocean and reefs but now time was slipping by and sunset was just over about 30 minutes away when I finally reached the final stretch.
All that was going through my mind was if the kids weren't at the finish line how I could get a flashlight some freshwater and start on the walker trail in reverse to find them. As I rounded the last bend and started up the hill to the town, I received one of the best memories of our trip so far - all three kids running down to meet me! They had finished over an hour earlier and already had popcorn and water.
They had stuck together as a team and hiked a bit with a Grenadian family once we separated. They had followed the walker trail perfectly and never went down a false trail (much better than their mom and dad). They helped each other through the toughest spots and were in great spirits even after what was a couple mile hike through the forest. We were so proud of them and it made us realized they are capable of more than we think.
At the end of each hash there is a celebration of first time hashers, birthdays, etc... They basically think up things to celebrate at the end. At the end of this hash we were ready to celebrate!
|First-Time Hashers celebration. It starts off with a ceremony by the lead hasher and then you are sprayed with beer. Oh...did we forget to mention that their motto is "Drinkers with a Running Problem".|
|We smelled like a small brewery after the initiation.|
Since the first hash we have been several more times, enjoying them more and more each weekend but now each kid has their own backpack, water bottle and whistle…