The Rasta in the Mountain
The palm trail was a straight forward hike, no more than an hour, or so they said. That hour came and went when we came to the conclusion that we definitely missed the trail – this shrub and dirt covered mountainside surely could not have been the right way. Just as we were about to admit defeat, a head popped out from further above. A Rasta man holding a machete was hollering something at us but with distance and difficulty understanding his accent, we were unsure what he was saying.
After some yelling back and forth over the sound of the wind, it became clear. He was informing us that we’d gone the wrong way and to come directly up the mountain. It was a daunting task with cliff and sea beneath us, nothing but loose dirt, trees and shrubs all the way up. With a look of determination, we began. Clawing our fingers into the dirt in a feeble attempt to help us push ourselves further up, we scrambled up the side of the mountain.
With words of encouragement from the Rasta man, we made it up to where he was standing and he welcomed us into his farmer’s shack. High up on the mountainside, it was a basic shelter made from tin with a cook stove that he used to roast breadfruit and fish over open coals and wooden boards as makeshift beds. The views overlooked the Caribbean Sea and the surrounding mountains – easily the best view I got in St. Vincent.
We chatted with him about his life as a farmer, his love for the island and how he had built this shelter for his wife, who loved to sleep in the mountains he said. After sharing our wax apples with him and his breadfruit with us, he pointed us in the right direction, offering us a hand up the last bit of the mountain. We might have had scratches all over our legs and dirt in places that dirt shouldn’t be, but we made it to the mountaintop.
Although we got lost again, not long afterwards, this story is an example of my favorite part of traveling. Taking a wrong turn can lead to something even more beautiful, a great adventure and the opportunity to meet generous, kindhearted people. The same people that everyone warns you not to hike the mountains alone because of can turn out to be the kindest you encounter.