We come from the land of the ice and snow, but at least we’re not down there in Texas. Ah-ah, ah! As winter and February seemingly endlessly drags on-and-on, I find myself lured by the siren song of fond remembrances. Memories of a not-too-distant past. Like a year ago this very week. So, swinging open the door to my personal way back machine, I ask you to jump in and join me as we travel back to a happier time, a pre-pandemic time, a time when you go places and do things. A time when you could still be with other people.
We had been snow-birding it south for a couple of winters before this trip, but those were both car trips, this time we flew, from STL to STT (St. Thomas). That and other ancillary travels ate up the first day, from dawn to dusk. On the flipside, the reverse was the same, another full day slog home, but in-between these two travel days, we enjoyed four glorious days in a tropical paradise. We stayed in an Air B&B that had started life as a basement. The contours of the rocky hillside that it had been built on penetrated this rental space, giving the place a prism shape. Each of our four full days on the island began with a quarter mile walk down the hill to the town of Cruz Bay and each of these days ended with a walk back up that very steep hill. We usually timed the return trek to catch sunset at the halfway mark, the macabrely named Gallows Point.
On our first full day on the island, we started off slow, just dipping a toe in the water so to speak. Most of St. Johns is a national park and we entered the park by walking into it. We hiked to Honeymoon Bay via The Lind Trail, about two miles round trip. It was supposed to be flat and easy, instead it seemed hilly and rocky. Honeymoon Beach was nice, what with white sand, palm trees and blue water. We waded and swam until the waves became too much. The water was warm. Probably in the seventies. The air temperature was in the eighties. It felt good. We covered up with sunscreen (Reef safe), rashies and hats and still felt a little crispy by the end of the day.
The next day, we scored two spots on the ranger led Reef Bay tour. It began with a taxi ride from town to the trailhead. In the islands what passes as a taxi is either a Ford or Chevy pickup that’s backend has been modified to provide rows of open-air bench seating for about fifteen people, all under an awning. We drove the island’s main road, which runs along its backbone. Starting at a 900’ elevation, we descended two miles to the sea, following the course of a stream, which here is called a gut. This hike took our group of thirty about four hours. We had many small children in our company, but I cannot blame them for our slow progress. Kent, our guide, liked to talk. Still, he knew a lot and was well worth listening to. We started in a mountain rainforest and descended first to a drier lower-level forest, in the foothills, before reaching an almost desert like plain along the coast. In between were a host of micro climes. We lunched by some Native American petroglyphs. The hike ended at an old slave era sugar mill. Then we took a boat back to Cruz Bay. We waded to a Zodiac that ferried us to Sadie by the Sea, just restored to service after the 2017 hurricanes.
My going in plan for this post was to recount the whole trip at one time, but only halfway through retelling this vacation, I find myself way over my normal word count limit. So, I’ll just have to milk this idea for one more day. See you later.