The year’s gotten off to a busy start – lots of work, long days and weeks, not quite the amount of free time that gives much chance to get out and about with a camera, or sort & post the photos once I’ve gotten out. Still and all, I did manage another hiking weekend back to the lovely Auberge la Visite, at Seguin. This really is a lovely if challenging hike. (Because it’s rolling, very steep ups and downs, and almost all in blazing sun unless you start really early or get a cloudy day…without rain: you would NOT want rain on this road). This time I walked again with a few work colleagues. We started really early, and in late January so the sun rose above the mountains too the east a bit later, and we actually walked in shade much of the time.
The stars at night were wonderfully clear and abundant – we spent time studying the milky way & deciding which were planets, which stars, and which satellites. On the way back we were actually surprised when we reached the end: if you look in some of these shots below, you’ll notice one can see the road most of the way – and we thought we had yet another village, and another down & up road segment, to cover before reaching our end-point. The end point, if you’re curious, is the last village that any regular 4-wheeled vehicles come to from the north. From the south, you can get to about where we spent the night and even a bit further – but the middle chunk of this road is so steep and rocky that it’s foot, mule, and motorbikes only. I, for one, would not have any wish at all to be on those motorbikes: it’s how I felt backpacking the grand canyon; I trust my own feet more than the mules (in the canyon) or the motorcycles.
There are mules here but mostly as pack animals: very few were being ridden by people, though I suppose after they drop off their carrots or scallions at the market or transport towns, the folks may ride them back home… (I’m sort of assuming there are brokers or agents in the village where we start, who buy up what all these folks are carrying, then shuttle it the rest of the way into the PaP metro area…but I haven’t investigated further.) The only real downside to this time of year for a visit is that the waterfall is more of a lovely water trickle, not much of a fall. Oh well. Enjoy the shots, even though they’re probably quite repetitive with the ones I put up last summer…haven’t checked but I suppose I will shortly, just to see how repetitive I’m getting! Happy spring, to those of you in northern climes where spring has sprung.
In this shot below, plus the one at the very end and a few others scattered through the post, you’ll see these rock-strewn hillsides. My current suspicion is that this is the result of erosion — deforestation, as we know, has led to a lot of Haiti’s topsoil being washed into the ocean. I figure these rocks may have become more and more exposed, as the topsoil has washed away…but again it’s something I’ve not checked into. They make for an interesting sight, though, eh?
Arcahaie is a small city on the coast north of PaP, and the first place outside metropolitan PaP that I’ve been so far. This was a work trip, with the team to visit some of the locations where we’ve been supporting oral rehydration points for cholera patients (creating a spot where very sick people can get rehydrated fast, after traveling often quite long distances from even further into the hills you see here on bumpy roads by foot, motorcycle or animal of some sort). The idea is for the staff of these points to get patients well enough to be out of danger and then transfer them to a facility with full care until they’re really well. Anyhoo, though, since this is a personal not a work blog, and since this was the first view I got of those many mountains beyond mountains for which Haiti’s become so well known by so many who’ve never been here, I took my camera and made some photos. And yes, the hills are as sadly deforested as I’ve read…and yes, it was as hot as it looks. (It was brutal.) Still and all, great to get out and about, and the local neighbors we ran into were friendly and interested. One of the kids above took a few selfies and enjoyed looking in the screen after. The shot below, and two in the gallery of circles further down, are the only ones in this set from Port au Prince rather than Arcahaie: if you enlarge the shot below, and look closely, you’ll see that there’s a city below and behind the trees & the lovely red flame tree. I drive past this every day on my way to work — that’s the main part of the city of PaP as seen from Montagne Noir which lies directly to the south. I waited and waited and waited for a clearer day, but it’s been hazy and humid most of the time and I worried we’d lose the bright color of the flame tree which makes it so beautiful. Further down are a close up, and a bigger shot, of plants growing from one of the stone retaining & protective walls which surround so many compounds around Montagne Noir.