In 1998, after my brother's wedding ceremonies in Antigua, Bhavna and I took a three-day excursion to St. Vincent & The Grenadines. We stayed with Dad at the The Bank House and I promised Bhavna that we would do something special after visiting my grandmother in Bequia.
With its many waterfalls, rivers, lush tropical rainforest and mountains to explore, mainland St. Vincent (the big island) is astonishingly beautiful. When it’s not actively spewing ash and hot lava, one can hike to the top of the La Soufrière volcano1. Of course, I had to show Bhavna the beauty of the land of my birth.
The Wallilabou River is a river northwest of Saint Vincent. It rises in the Morne Garou Mountains between Richmond Peak and Mount Brisbane, flowing west to reach the Caribbean Sea north of Chateaubelair. Trinity Falls is near the Wallilabou River in the town of Wallilabou in the parish of St. David on the Leeward side of the island. Mom’s cousin ran an eco-tourism company. She made a few calls, and soon Bhavna and I were booked for a one-day nature hike to Trinity Falls.
Our nature guide picked us up at the The Bank House in a tiny Suzuki minivan popular on the island in the 1990s. He warned us that the hike to the falls would be long and strenuous and that we wouldn’t be able to carry much in the way of food and drink except for the curry potato roti wraps and bottled water he packed for our lunch.
The drive to Trinity Falls took longer than I had anticipated, almost two hours. The roads are narrow, mostly unpaved, with treacherous drops into the valley. Our driver drove slowly, hugging the Leeward Highway, which at times was only as wide as two cars with maybe half an inch between them when side by side. We passed through Layou, Barrouallie and finally Wallilabou. We hiked from the trailhead through the damp forest, working up a sweat on our way to the falls.
It was a long, hot walk, and a dip in the cold river water was something Bhavna, and I looked forward to! The beauty that unfolded in front of us was terrific; three powerful waterfalls tumbled into a wide river basin and then flowed into another basin below. The water was cold, but rock slabs warmed us as we basked in the sun. I could feel the strong pull of the water. We nestled in between the rocks and had a blast.
Due partly to landslides and floodwaters that have washed away rainforest and bushes above the falls, the conditions at the waterfall are hazardous. Trinity Falls has been declared a danger zone and is closed to visitors.
I think it’s interesting how memory works. When I saw this week’s Len’s Artists Photo Challenge topic, Three of a Kind, I struggled with what I would do. Should I go out looking for subject matter? Should I pull something from the Adobe Lightroom catalogue? I launched Adobe Lightroom, and I was presented with a scanned photograph of my Acura Integra that I had edited a few days earlier. While looking at the photo, I noticed that it had a date of August 1998, but it was stored in the 1996 folder. I moved the photo to the August 1998 folder and immediately saw some photographs from my brother’s wedding taken that same month. While looking at the pictures from the wedding, I saw the photos of the waterfall. I did not remember which waterfall I had photographed, so off to Google, I went. It wasn’t until after I realised that they were of Trinity Falls that I had my response to the challenge.
Was this serendipity, or did my mind lead me to this?
Apologies for the quality of these photographs. When we took this vacation, APS film was being pushed by Kodak as the future of film photography. I was ignorant and bought into the hype. I purchased an APS film camera and several rolls of APS film, which was the worst camera to bring on a vacation. The quality of APS film was inferior to the 35mm film format it was intended to replace. 35mm film is still made and sold, but APS (along with Kodak) was relegated to the dustbin of history.