On the final jaunt up Mt Scenery before I left the island, rambling up Bud’s Mountain Trail on the way to Mt Scenery, there was a break in the canopy and a couple palm trees stark against the sky. Don’t ask me why I processed this in this color, probably desire for variety more than anything.
This pic is from the bone dry days of early March in Saba, rambling along the Giles Quarter coastline and aiming the camera up past the ruins of the old beekeeper rocks, the cloud on the edge of Mt Scenery to the left, Peak Hill in the center, Booby Hill and The Level to the right. Note how very dry this is….it hardly even resembles the Caribbean.
Generally speaking, for Saba jungle images I took while I was there, I have to reduce the saturation of the color green, because it’s so incredibly green on your way up, it tends to blow out your eyes ability to pick out detail. I let the green be in this picture, so you can really get a sense of the kinds of jungle flora around you, on trees, ferns, plants, and the man made volcanic stone walls that line some of the hike to Mt Scenery. It’s the most strenous official trail on Saba, and I summited ten times during my four months there. I always discovered something new and delightful.
For those of you who’ve summited Mt Scenery, this particular structure is very distinct and unique on the scenery path. Care to guess where on the path it is?
My last hike on Saba was an easy ramble up Mt Scenery with my island amigo Fred Bower, who in his five and a half years on the island, hadn’t made it up the mountain. We stopped plenty for photographs, and although it was cloudy up top so views were curtailed, it was still otherworldy enough to afford Fred the views everyone else had referenced. Now he’s off to Costa Rica with his wife Kelly (a longtime Sea Saba boat captain and dive instructor) for some more craziness, of which I confess I am jealous. Kudos for them!
I dig this photograph not because it’s a great photograph, but while I stood there with the clouds racing over the cliffs, and just a peak view of the ocean and Statia and the green cliffs from the Scenery summit, I felt like it was the kind of cloud view the movies so often portray, and eventually an angel or some otherworldly creature (Avatar?) pops out, flies around, freaks everyone out, then everyone watches in awe as the beast zooms and zigzags around. Ah, well. There goes my imagination again. Enjoy! I’m back in San Francisco, but still going through my archives for worthy pix. Not many more, I promise.
The title refers to an obscure pulp film from the 70’s that I recall enjoying a lot because of the rather lovely and scantily clothed ladies in it. Not on the AFI’s list of Top 100 Films, though.
Got home to San Francisco at 1:45am and woke up early today, visiting with my l’il nephew Kai, brother Doug, and wife Jen. We’ll see if the cats recognize me on pickup in the next day or two, and I’m back in the loft.
“The greatest gift of life on the mountain is time. Time to think or not think, read or not read, scribble or not scribble — to sleep and cook and walk in the woods, to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills. I produce nothing but words; I consumer nothing but food, a little propane, a little firewood. By being utterly useless in the calculations of the culture at large I become useful, at last, to myself.”
― Philip Connors
Though this quote is in reference to hiking and camping on the mountain, I still think it sums up the essence of my coming here, particularly that last bit. I love the city I live in, but equally do I love this rugged rock, the peace and tranquility of its folks and its setting, above and below the water. People ask me if I miss the city, and my general answer is no, I’m focused on wringing out every bit of distraction free relaxation until the day I leave, and on the plane, I’ll get excited about where I’m going; I’m so much better at living in the moment at this stage in life, no apologies or regrets.
When you walk down the steep and sidewinder curves of The Road down to Fort Bay, you can take a mild detour to climb onto the hill above the harbor, across from Bunker Hill. Rather than looking towards the sea, where the Dutch Navy frigate was bringing in 60,000 liters of relief water to the hospital, the government building, and the old folks home due to our current drought, I looked back up at Thais Hill, which looms over the road, and up to the edge of the St John’s Flat, close to where I live. Never a shortage of new angles, and this one really shows off the rugged nature of this auld rock, forever subject to the wear and tear of weather, the thin wisps of stratus clouds high aloft and skimming the atmosphere. Not bad, Saba, not bad at all.
Two Against The Hill
Old Booby Hill stands off on its own between the Windwardside Level and Spring Bay. It’s an absolutely wonderful diversion off trail hike from the Spring Bay trail saddle, and a mere 20 minutes of scrambling up low scrub nets you fantastic views of Saba’s south coast that you can’t see without an airplane or being on a boat offshore: a full view of Hell’s Gate all the way from the airport up to Mt Scenery, as well as the rugged sea cliffs directly below The Level. I rambled up the summit earlier this week with UK Bob the builder and his artsy crafty French wife Marie. This picture captures just a smidgeon of the many grand views from the Old Booby Hill summit, as well as the short, but steep little climb to get there. I recommend this hike strongly, as a surprising number of locals and long term expats have never done this fulfilling side excursion in the many years they’ve been here. It was Bob and Marie’s first time in the seven years they’ve been here.
By the way, New Booby Hill (simply called Booby Hill) is on the way to The Level, and has many expansive homes with fantastic views.