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February 2016

“Fusion is an annual team adventure race (comprised of 4 persons) that encompasses physical, mental and strategic challenges which participants complete in one day; it is a platform for personal development in a fun and positive team environment. This event tests team spirit, ingenuity, skill and commitment while exploring the teams limit by pushing them physically and mentally.”

This is an intense event so if you’re up for the challenge, you should check this out. 

Personally, I’m not interested in doing this as I don’t like road walking and from what I understand of the event, you will need to walk fro about 7km between Brasso Seco and the trailhead of Las Lapas Trail (to get to Lopinot). 

Mt. Chaguaramal

The following is a Field Trip Report of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club’s trip to Mt. Tabor. The trip was on 27th April, 2008 and is written by John Lum Young. It is an excerpt from the TTFNC’s quarterly bulletin, The Field Naturalist, Issue No. 2/2008.

Chaguaramal is the fourth tallest peak in
Trinidad. Nobody could remember its
height, but on checking the map on our
return, it is shown as 2819 feet. 

In the soft morning light while on the road ascending
the foothills of the Northern Range, we
stopped on the first climb along Heights of Aripo
Road and admired the blossoming poui (Tabebuia
serratifolia) to the west. The bright yellow flowers
from the numerous trees stood out on the dark
green slopes of the Northern Range. The poui, a
native ornamental, drops all its leaves and replaces
them with bright yellow inflorescences. What a
sight to behold!

Past Aripo Village we observed that cocoa
(Theobroma cacao) plots along the roadway were
well maintained. After the junction of the steep hill
to Millette’s house the cocoa acreage was replaced
with christophene (Sechium edule).
From this point we continued on foot. It seems
like almost all the grasses and shrubs on the roadside
were in bloom. There were red flowers from
crep coq (Centropogon surinamensis), the pinks of
impatience (Impatiens sp.), the greens of shadon
beni (Eryngium foetidum), the whites of horse poison
(Hippobroma longiflora) and the purple of
Jacob’s coat (Coleus sp.). The sweep of flowers
really lifted one’s spirit and brought the old adage,
the good things in life are free, to mind.

Climbing the slopes above the cultivated and recovering
areas we soon entered the forest. The
toporite (Hernandia Sonora) was in fruit and Dan
Jaggernauth demonstrated the whistling sound the
wind makes as it blows into the vent of the dangling
fruit.
At the junction of the trail to Cerro del Aripo
someone placed an arrow sign to Aripo Caves.
However the sign points in the wrong direction

because that was the only “flat” surface to nail the
marker. Sadly this discourtesy is reflected on official
signage on our nation’s main roads, so what
attitude can you really expect in the middle of the
forest? 

Somewhere along the way Dan had picked up the
fruit of the pois doux (Inga ingoides) and he proceeded
to point out its characteristics. I. ingoides
is a medium-sized evergreen tree growing to a
height of 15m with a girth of up to 2m (Quesnel
and Farrell 2000). It is the most common of the 9
Inga species in the country. The pod is about
24cm long, more or less cylindrical, grooved and
densely populated with rusty hairs. It looked like a
large ochro (Hibiscus esculentus) really. He peeled
opened the fruit and shared around the white
sweet tasting pulp that surrounded the 1cm long
dark brown seed. 

Auburn Nash had plucked a handful of crabeye
grass, with seed, which he also demonstrated to
the group. His birds relish the change in diet. 

From this point, marked by the huge mammee
seepot (Mammea americana), the steep ascent to
Chaguaramal began. This climb would surely
awaken those who still felt sleepy after rising so
early. The mountain being mainly limestone has
some very steep sections in the ascent and Dan
tied ropes to assist on the steepest slopes. On the
ground we passed over the fallen fruits of the
guatecare (Eschweilera subglandulosa). The fruit is
an urn-shaped, woody capsule, about 3cm long,
with a cap that shrinks and falls off when the fruit
is ripe (Quesnel and Farrell 2000). 

The summit of Chaguaramal was generally flat and
consequently well populated with trees, obscuring
views of the nearby peaks to the north, east and
west, but by careful positioning some views were
possible, including glimpses of the devastation 

caused by sand quarrying in the Valencia area to
the southeast. Plants at the summit included
mountain bamboo (Arthrostylidium sp.), mountain
cashibo (Calathea sp.) and Vismia sp. and an exotic
bromeliad is found at the top of the precipitous
northern edge of the peak. 

At the top a 20mx20m area was cleared around
the trig mark. The clearing seemed to be maintained,
and on the flagpole the national flag
seemed to be relatively new. At the trig mark the
GPS read 941m, which must include some error.
Some excited whistling kept coming from a particular
corner but the bush was too thick for us to
get closer. Eventually a short-tailed swift (Chaetura
brachyuran) darted above the trees allowing us to
identify the songster. With that we returned down
the mountain.

In the Heights of Guanapo, a spectacular place, filled with adventure is the Guanapo Gorge. What makes this place so fascinating is apart from its geological features exploring inside is full of excitement. The Gorge 400 metres long narrow and V-shaped enclosed by steep walls of pre-historic Rock. Over time, the downstream force of the river has penetrated the landscape to form this breathtaking canyon.

The source of the Guanapo River originates from the El Cerro Del Aripo Watershed (940m) where it combines with other tributaries from the Lalaja Region. The gorge located deep down in the valley between Lalaja on the north and Guanapo on the south. Its rocks magnificently carved into colorful prehistoric shapes, which appear polished with smooth and shiny surfaces. On the inside of each bend, inter-looking spurs jut out from the slopes and divide the gorge into sections.

There are two routes to visit its passageway. The first is six miles north on the Arima, Blanchisseuse Road in Lalaja. The journey begins at the top of the mountain and descends steeply to the river. The other and preferred route for the exploration starts at the Quarry at the end of the Guanapo Road. The trail positioned at the top of the bank leads alongside the river to the mouth of the gorge or exit point. This area is a lovely spot to picnic, with a shallow pool and a suitable place to leave the bags for the expedition. Those not wishing to venture further can spend the time relaxing. To access the entrance, it will take a further fifteen minutes walk through the forest. A journey through its channel is full of fun challenges and requires one to jump into pools, paddle and climb over obstacles of fallen debris. Playing hide and seek among the rocks are large lobster like crayfish.They breathe through feather-like gills and are members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastocoidea.

Guanapo Gorge

The manicured lawn of Flagstaff Hill with a view of Charlotteville

View of Petit Tacarib from the North Coast Trail

Here’s a mountain bike race in Tucker Valley, Chaguaramas hosted by Trailing Edge Mountain Biking. 

The race course can be viewed here.

Chag Attack 2016

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