The highlight of my most recent trip to Barbados was a most memorable Sunday morning hike through the countryside sponsored by the Barbados National Trust, a government organization that promotes the indigenous culture, art and natural history of this small island nation. The hike was approximately 4 hours in duration and by all means it was “no cakewalk”. There were about 100 participants in the hike, which was divided up into three groups based on ability and experience – fast, moderate and slow.
There is nowhere else in the Caribbean (and few places in the world) where such organized nature hikes take place on a regular basis. Furthermore, in the Caribbean, nature hikes are usually just a tourist activity – in Barbados, the nature hikes are geared more towards the native population and is an activity that promotes national pride and environmental awareness. About 80 % of the participants were Bajans (natives) and about 20% were visitors. Too bad other Caribbean counties have not instituted an activity like this.
Being a novice, I joined the slow hikers group, which was led by Colin Blackwell, a well respected Doctor and Educator who works for the Barbados National Trust. The hike itself, took us through a heavily forested gulley, a dark cave populated by bats and through a sugarcane field. Who would have imagined Barbados as having such a wild side? I truly enjoyed myself and met a lot interesting people including some visiting Jamaicans who used to live in the San Francisco Area
By the way, participation in these hikes are free!