The islands in the Bahamas are beautiful. We have explored them by dinghy and snorkel; we’ve walked beaches, roads, and trails. This is a tale of two trails, one at Black Point on Great Guana Cay, the other was on Stocking Island in Elizabeth Harbor.
Regarding the Trail from Black Point, The Explorer Chart Book says:
For some real exercise, don’t miss the hike out to the bluff overlooking the majestic Dotham Cut and the gorgeous ocean beaches; it’s well worth the effort. (On a cool day with your trusty water bottle.)
Doesn’t that sound inviting? We had mentioned our intention to one lovely local woman who said it was a good hike, but the trail, “is a bit overgrown. We’ve asked them to work on it. Ladies in TOPS like to walk it for exercise.” That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?” Later on she did suggest we stick to the trail because, “One elderly couple when through the bushes and got lost and came back all scratched up.” Since our source is in her early thirties I assume the “elderly couple” is EW’s age (sixty-something) so the comment smarted a bit.
The next morning, we left La Luna shortly after 8 armed with sun screen, hats, water bottles, and the camera. We did not take the machete, though we do have one aboard. We did hear afterward that others took a machete and used it. (Now, they tell us!) The trail begins as a wide gravel trail, narrows, and is less trail-like as one progresses. We passed two lovely beaches facing the open Atlantic Ocean, double-backed, took turns scouting ahead, and finally came to a narrow cove. All the while, the rock cairn high at Dotham Point gave us direction and a goal. We crossed the cove via a rock bridge walked a narrow beach to find … nothing.
No trail, no broken branches, no footsteps, nothing but bushes and trees. We broke our way through the scrub to a more open area with several pine trees, where EW spread his arms and shouted “THE BIG W!” (All you other elderly folk with catch that reference to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World, where a cast of characters sought a treasure under THE BIG W – a group of palm trees. That’s the kind of guy I married. He married the kind of woman who got the reference immediately. Do you find that scary? I do.)
So we took that as a sign and continued up the hill, through the brush until we found ourselves above the tree line (OK, not really, but it felt like it) with a majestic view. Our source on the island had mentioned that the road past her house, heads toward Dotham Point, and we could see that road from high ground.
And here’s the view back to Black Point and civilization.
Since we particularly enjoy the trek out, we thought we’d try a different route home. (Probably like that other elderly couple.) We made it back to THE BIG W and continued West instead of turning South to head back across the small cove. We backtracked, and pushed through brambles, and (I anyway) worried about poisonwood, and “got all scratched up”. Then we came to an area we referred to as “The Great Salt Flats”. Now I know that Dotham Point is actually an island, surrounded by water or sand flats at low tide. The road dead ends because the larger cove (the one that doesn’t drain completely) is between Dotham Point and the road. The nice, wide, bramble free dirt road.
I’d scoped the road out when on the hill and I am the navigator, but EW doesn’t like to get his shoes wet. He was wearing sneakers and i was wearing sport sandals. (Secret Fact about EW: He hates wet shoes/sneakers/socks like I hate gooky. He complains if he has to walk through dewy grass. When he took one of our dogs on morning walks the complaints were frequent.) In short, EW was not going to get his feet wet in the shallows. So we spent about 45 minutes looking for a passable trail off the sand flats. We saw some interesting wells or blue holes, many footprints of folk who had gone before, but no sigh of how they had left. I knew we had to head north and wade around the mangroves to get to the road, but first we had to try every other possibility. I suspect this is where that other elderly couple got lost and really scratched up. The road is probably only 25 or 50 yards from the flats, but they are a hard 50 yards that include cactus plants. I was not going overland.
The great salt flats of Dotham Point.
Ultimately, I gave EW the camera and told him I’d check out my route while he stayed dry. The sand was mud-like, a bit on the gooky side, but I prevailed. The water reached just above my knees and I successfully waded around the mangroves to the road/boat ramp. EW followed, and his sneakers squelched all the way back to town. He took it like a man. This “real exercise” of a hike took 3 hours.
The road. I like roads.
For the past week, we’ve been anchored Monument Beach at Stocking Cay, gazing each day at a hill with a monument on top. We’d been told there was a trail, in fact a number of them, up the hill and down the other side to beautiful beaches. Somehow I convinced EW to have another go.
Now this is a trail. There are signs, resting benches, picnic tables, and a rope handhold to help one over a steep section.
There’s a charming coral wall similar to the rock walls we find in Maine.
The trail was beautiful and the view of the island and anchorages spectacular.
It’s beautiful, but it doesn’t make much of a story.
Until we noticed this small plaque. I couldn’t read it as I hadn’t brought my reading glasses, but EW wiped it off and read, “In Loving Memory of Barbara Hart.” I laughed and said, “Very funny. What’s it really say?” “He said, “In Memory of Barbara L. Hart.” No kidding. I’m going to assume that she sailed here for years and died in her 90’s and that the names of her loved ones on the plaque are grand-children. That works for me. By the way, I'm Barbara J. Hart