Island Parks

Grand Etang Shoreline Trail

This relatively easy walk begins on the Morne LaBaye Trail and encircles the lake at the edge of the palm break.

Grand Etang, in the caldera of an extinct volcano, has five different sub-climatic plant communities. This is one of the Caribbean's few hikes as high as 2,000 feet: be more prepared for wind and cold than for hot sun.

Before reaching the lake, you'll cross a small pond. Look closely into this runoff from the lake, and you may be able to spot both crayfish and ling (a small-scale freshwater lobster).

Moving along the lake shore, you'll walk through a palm break dominated by fern trees and mountain palm (Euterpe). Above the palm break is a colorful forest of mahogany trees with orange, scarlet, and yellow hibiscus growing on the trees. The mahogany was brought in from Jamaica after 1955's Hurricane Janet. Besides helping reforest Grenada, the timber has a remarkable blue/green grain that makes outstanding furniture and handicrafts; it's also used in fencing.

If you didn't see any Mona monkeys hanging out at the food stands near the Park Centre, you're almost certain to spot some around the lake. Most active at sunrise and sunset, as they swing through the forest canopy, Mona monkeys were brought from northern Africa during the early days of slavery. If you don't see them, listen for their deep "buff-buff" grunt as they call out to one another. Mona monkeys (and possums) like to hang out in the clusters of giant bamboo, which grow as high as 60 feet.

Incidentally, Grenadians don't anthropomorphize their animals (they did not grow up watching Bambi and Thumper or other cuddly Walt Disney characters) but make full use of their wildlife. So you'll not only see monkeys as pets, you sometimes will find monkey—and possum and armadillo—on the menu at Mamma's and other restaurants in St. George's. The monkey and armadillo are tasty; pass on the possum.

Along the shoreline are cattle egrets, which migrated from Africa and first appeared in Grenada around 1950, hooded tanagers (iridescent plumage with a black cap), and little blue herons. The symbol of Grenada's national park system is the broadwinged hawk (brown and white with a banded tail), which likes to soar high over the water. The lake itself is slowly filling with reeds and may one day become a grassy marsh.

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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