Island Parks

Grenada's Grand Etang National Park

Q8 marks the boundary into true elfin forest, which looks like it's kept cut back and miniaturized by Japanese bonsai artists; yet it's all wind effect.

As long as you grab tree roots and trunks where necessary to combat the mud, you should have no real problem making it to the top of Mount Qua Qua, 2,372 feet above sea level. Near the summit you won't even be walking on clay, but a thick mat of tree roots. You'll know when you've begun walking on air because your ground support will suddenly feel spongy, almost trampoline-like. The situation lasts for only a few yards; and quite memorable ones they are, too, since the real ground is a couple hundred feet below.

Even though the Mount Qua Qua trail is marked clearly enough that no guide is necessary, I met several people who'd turned back, claiming the trail was too slippery and impassable.

You know you've arrived at the summit when you reach a tall boulder on the right and you have a wonderful view of the eastern mountains, the windward coast, and the new Point Salines airport.

Walk around the high boulder to a pathway between it and another large rock. Step to the edge and—after the hot, humid climb—greet what feels like all the winds of the world. Amazingly, its only the full, unblunted force of the 22-mph trades that blow constantly across the peak, the same northeast-north breezes that brought Columbus and the other early explorers across the Atlantic. If the breeze is too much (it will be around 12 degrees colder than at sea level), backtrack and shelter in the boulder's lee side. If you're up for some rock climbing, it's possible to scale the summit boulder for an even more elevated look around.

© 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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