We are a group of friends who visited Jamaica for a short vacation. This idyllic country is famous as a beach destination but we wanted to do something different and so the idea to hike up the Blue Mountains. We had booked our accommodation at Ocho Rios Apartments and from there taken a jeep to the village, Jack's Hill from where we began our hike.
The Jamaica Tourist Board referred to the Blue Mountains hike as a "classic trek." Hikers usually travel up Blue Mountain Peak in darkness to reach the summit just in time to greet the sunrise. This is exactly what we did.
The fabled Blue Mountains coffee fortified us against the cold and gave us the push we needed to begin the journey at 2.00 am in the morning. The dull orange of our torchlight illuminated our way and our journey had well and truly begun.
The Blue Mountain Peak is the highest on the island rising to an altitude of about 7402 feet. Needless to stay the climb is difficult but each step is well worth the trouble. The cold winds blew the remaining sleep from our eyes and we kept on. At each step, the stars seemed to come closer and there were times when we felt that there was nothing between us and the vast expanse of the sky above. Suddenly, life seemed to have become very fragile and the everyday cares very distant and unreal, as if belonging to another world, another time.
We moved on, and the path gradually became very narrow. It was really narrow and steep at the point that is known as Jacob’s Ladder. As we moved up, we could gradually make out the shadowy outline of the dark forest. The dawn had begun to break and suddenly it our journey seemed to be a race against the sun. The moonlight began to give way and the vistas that opened up were simply spectacular. The path was not only difficult but botanically rich as well.
Finally, we reached The Peak, exactly at the same time as the sun rose over the mist-laced mountains. We were lucky for it was a clear day and we could see for miles ahead in all directions. From the peak, we could see the Buff Bay and Port Antonio's Navy Island to the North, and Kingston, Portmore, St Thomas' coast to the south and the dim form of Cuba.
We rested for some time and soon enough, it was time to begin the descend. The journey downwards was equally mesmerizing. We passed through elfin forest where the canopy was so low, it seemed we were passing through a deep green tunnel. From the clearings, we could take in the dramatic views of the majestic mountains. The trail was lined with tree ferns, bamboo and Eucalyptus trees. Colorful wildflowers dotted the path and the bird calls provided the natural soundtrack for our awe-inspiring trip.
The overall hike took seven hours and soon we were back to the comfort of our accommodation in Ocho Rios apartments, soaking up in the waters of the bathtub and feeling the tiredness wash away from our bodies. And then it was time for a sumptuous dinner and sharing our views on the recently concluded hike to the Blue Mountains in Jamaica.