Monday, July 28th, 2008...9:16 am

Blue Mountain Peak

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This was one of THE highlights of my journey around Jamaica. Which is interesting, as the walk up the hill at 1.45am was also one of the lowpoints. And not just of my trip – but possibly of my traveling life! I will explain. We arrived at the 200 year old Whitfield Hall at around 8 o’clock in the evening. It’s an enchanting wooden structure with shelves of books that possibly date back as far as the foundations and it houses a cranky old piano that certainly hasn’t been tuned since 1807. It’s a great place. The home-cooked food is rustic and lip-smackingly tasty. Perhaps it was the ancient atmosphere of the cranky house and the sound of crickets ringing in the forrest outside that took to my imagination – but the dinner of slow-stewed spicey chicken ‘n’ rice ‘n’ peas reminded me of hearty-dreamy-mountain-meals cooked-up by gnarly sherpas in the thick of the Himalayas en-route to Mount Everest. And we were still only 1000 feet above sea level, here in Jamaica.

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So what’s was my ‘lowpoint’ problem you may ask? Well… a bottle of tonic wine (a good ‘base’ for climbing mountains I was told) and a full belly of food and Blue Mountain coffee later we decided to turn in for the night. It was probably 10.30pm. Now, for those of you that haven’t sampled Jamaican tonic wine – it’s not a night-cap! It’s more like a redbull fueled energy drink – at the very least! (I will upload a picture of the glinting and gold intertwined couple on the bottle at some point soon I promise). By approximately 1am my heart stopped racing and I finally drifted to sleep – for 45 minutes – before getting up to a quadrouple shot of blue mountain coffee meeting our guide in pitch darkness (so dark outside I couldn’t see my hands let alone see a new person) and clambering straight up the side of the mountain through what felt like potholes and scrub and small ravines and wet shoes and wet socks and caffeine and sleeplessness and mozzy bites and I JUST WANT TO GO BACK TO SLEEP WHAT AM I DOING HERE, BLIND AND FUMBLING, I CAN”T EVEN SEE JAMAICA, WHY AM I DOING THIS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT running through my veins.

Finally, we arrive: Croft of roof at the peak:
Blue Mountain Peak

What a bright idea this was!
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Hot Carribean or Cold Siberia?!:
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So as you see, 3 hours later we got to the top. It was freezing. It was foggy. There was no sunrise. (We were also an hour early). I lay on the stony ground and let the resident mice and rats run-riot around me. And then (of course!) it started to rain. And did I mention that I was wearing just a thin cotton shirt and shorts. And that there was a sign saying that I couldn’t even set fire to myself to keep warm:

No fires:
no fires
Brrrr. Freezing fog (looking very cool):
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We decided to make a run for it back down. OK, it was more like a hobble than a run – but then the fog started to fade. OH. MY. The hobble suddenly turned into a skip and the complaints and desire to sleep drifted away and away… as the light crept slowly through the trees the pitch-black landscape that we had unknowingly climbed through the night came to life…and we saw what we had climbed…starting as a misty episode from The Lord of The Rings the trail was enchanting as vines and dew enveloped the pathway…moisture dripping from the bark…and then slowly but surely the valley revealed a hue of blue-green fields and endlessly rolling mountains into the distance below. I hope you enjoy these pictures below as much as I enjoyed the walk down. It was like being on top of the world, deep in middle-earth. But if you don’t want to spoil the surprise – then don’t look at the pics below – just call this number, (Kingston) 876-927-0986, and organise your own trip today!

The dark leaves and light arrives…
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…and if you wonder, where to wander….

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…stay a while and dawdle at dawn…

blue mountain. green fern. and sir gary.

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…as light arrives so too does colour…

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…red flowers adorn the ceiling…
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…and like magic, blue mountains pop into view:
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A final highlight of experiencing The Blue Mountains with Whitfield Hall was eating a breakfast of akee and salt fish lovingly prepared back at the cabin. Soft fluffy festival, blue mountain coffee, fried eggs, toast and jam.

Hitch a ride back into town:
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Or stay a while and relax with nature:
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To arrange a tour with Whitfield Hall, call: Kingston – 876-927-0986

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