In greener times in 2012, my morning ritual was to pop my sandals on, cook up some bacon & eggs, and sit outside on the stone steps to the cottage, and this view was typical on stormy mornings that would always turn out to be sunny by early afternoon. I’d type a little of my story out on the iPad and inhale the fresh air. It didn’t suck.
A Garden Of Earthly Delightful Scents
Yeah, I s’pose this could be any nice garden in the tropics, with bougainvillea, roses, and other plants, shrubs, and trees–whose names I remain blissfully ignorant of–lookin’ pretty. But no, this is Saba where such well tended gardens are rare. Scout’s Cottage is built into the hills of Windwardside below Mt. Scenery, a venerable cottage still visible in photos of Saba from late 1800’s/early 1900’s, and the current owner has really done it up, inside and out. Note that the wooden deck here is actually built around and on top of the main cistern for the house. That’s actually Maskehorne Hill in the background, whose views of Windwardside you may recall from this earlier blogpost.
The last few days have been me getting up earlier and earlier to try and beat the dreaded heat with no wind and do a bunch of ridge hikes up from the Giles Quarter coastline midway between the St. John’s Flat and the Wash Gut up to Windwardside. Saba’s terrain is so rugged and steep, it amplifies the actual distance you’re hiking, which is usually between 3-5 kilometers, but can feel like a lot more. Regardless, even at 7:00am, the heat is beating down mercilessly as I haul my big ol’ self up this rock.
In any case, repeated trips down to Fort Bay to start these coastline-ridge excursions had me passing this little house nestled in the cleft between St John’s Flat and Thais Hill. It’s an old style house, with rare brown wooden shingles rather than the traditional red corrugated tin,though you can’t tell from my processing it in black and white. My guess is that it’s well protected from the ravages of hurricanes and tropical storms as well, but I don’t know yet who, if anyone, lives in this nostalgic little house, but it sure looks cool from above, n’est cd pas?
Another early morning hike down to the harbor, meander along the coastline, and voila, snapped this fellow doing what his family has been doing for more than a hundred years. Came up the Dancing Place ridge to Windwardside and started collecting boxes for shipping.
With three weeks remaining, guess I’m finally winding down. On the other hand, many folks would give an arm or leg just to have three weeks away from the frenetic pace of their lives, so no melancholy me ’til I’m off the rock and in the city once more.
“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.
Bless any of you who actually get the bizarre reference in the blogpost subject 😉
It’s hot here in Saba, and no wind this morning made my day an exercise in sweating. I walked down to the Fort Bay harbor, climbed up the rocks above, then headed back up The Road to the The Bottom, where I frightened some people with the sheer amount of moisture dripping off of me, then took the Crispeen Track trail back up to St John’s, where this l’il guy was on my mailbox post, cool as a cucumber. He’s an anole lizard, indigenous to Saba, plus he’s an excellent poser.
La Luna Bella
Rambling down the twists and turns of Hell’s Gate to a perfect Sunday Cove Bay BBQ hosted by Tanner (chef at Shearwater Resort) and his gal Patricia, the moon swapped roles and let the clouds be the crescent over Saba’s airport, and this delightful sunset was the brief result. It only lasted maybe 30-60 seconds before the clouds broke up and hid Mister Moon. But hey, right time, right place.
Cheers to all who’ve watched the Saba video yesterday; proved to be a most popular blogpost indeed. More to come. Au revoir ’til tomorrow!
And Now For Something Completely Different (Video)
We got a cool short video clips of Saba., including the plane takeoff from the shortest commercial runway in the world. I sure hope this works, it took 45 minutes to upload (thanks Scout’s Place) Would love reader feedback and comments on this first ever video of Saba hiking I made during a couple hikes with my brother down to Spring Bay and up Mt Scenery. Those who haven’t been here yet should get a good sense of the varied terrain and scale, while those who know and love Saba will either have fond remembrances of certain trails or get their hiking feet on and get back on the trails if they’re here 😉 Keep in mind, my brother Michael and I had a little bit o’ goofin’ around doing this video.
Sorry for the late post today, I’ve been on an all morning early hike and spent this evening trying to load this vid up.
Have fun & please comment as it suits ya. We’ll return to our regular scheduled photos in the coming days. Cheers!
Thais Hill Lookout
The countryside around St. John’s in this expansive panorama of a Saban afternoon looks almost pastoral with the foothills below a foggy Mt Scenery, the St John’s flat, Windwardside and the island of Statia on the far horizon. Where are those sheepherders? Ah, thats Basque country I’m thinking of… Beauty like this is status quo on Saba…amazing,eh? And the clouds ALWAYS cooperate in the drama as well.
I talked to Chef Michael from Brigadoon, and indicated I’d like to take another crack at climbing the monolithic whale tail on Paris Hill. Hoping he can come with me, as he’s done it several times before, and it’ll help me to see how before I tackle it. We’ll see. In the meantime, here’s a sample of the gorgeous south coast views of Saba from Paris Hill. I’d like to especially thank the foreground yucca for acting like a mini-sunrise accent to the picture when only minutes before, that seemingly innocent sunny plant’s serrated edges had ripped a variety of tiny holes in my calves when I came over the ridge to the summit. Flora dualism or have I finally reached a point where I’m anthropomorphizing Saba’s durable vegetation as a lame cover for poor hiking skills? I’ll leave that opinion to you, dear readers. Cheers and have a great day!