It was a very narrow trail through the thick, dry landscape, with cacti and other terse plants stretching their limbs and staking their claim. When I walked, the width of my shoulders took up most of the trail, one shoulder or the other brushing the side as I turned corners. This is where I got into trouble with the bees. A woman I met the day before in Anse Marcel warned me that they like to make their home in the rocks along the trail, but apparently while my head was down, I left myself exposed at the top.
Three times I was stung, once in the left pectoral, once near the elbow on the left arm, and once on my right bicep – all on different occasions. After the first two I realized I was defending the wrong area – they weren’t coming from the ground, they were coming from above – but there was little I could do short of turning back.
The bees would float up from the ground and linger alongside of the trail out of sight, and when my shoulders would brush the trees they would be right there and, not surprisingly, they would attack the cause of the disturbance. Lucky me. I pounded the wounds with my fist, gritting my teeth and stomping on. I’ve been stung so many times in my journeys that, at this point, it seems more like a rite of passage and a price to be paid. Every bridge has its toll, you know?
It took me about an hour (in addition to the three stings) to reach my destination, a deserted beach on the north side of the island near Anse Marcel. It’s a publicized trail and well marked, still, there was no one else in sight. When I reached the sea and looked out over the cliff – the vantage point you see in the photo below – an extreme sense of happiness took over. One some level, I wanted company. I wanted to share it. But then, realizing I was alone and that I could one day return with a companion, I became protective. Oh, don’t tell anyone, I thought, don’t tell anyone and come back here as often as you can and enjoy it. Just don’t tell anyone, don’t bother with any of the storytelling this time.
It’s what can happen to you when you venture off into the wilderness, when you do a little digging and discover the local secrets. If I set up a stand, I could charge $20 a head and no one would think twice about paying to visit this beach. Yet there it sat with not a soul on it. In my four hour adventure, I only saw three other people. I found and cracked a coconut and had lunch on the rocks, the waves hitting the front of them and water sometimes spilling over into where I sat. I took all my clothes off. I swam. I hiked up to different vantage points. I encountered a hermit crab. It was a nature and I kind of day — and with scenery like that, not much else is needed.
Here are a few photos from my adventure. If you’re interested in learning more about this hike, feel free to write me, but I’m not going public with it all, not yet (we travel writers need to keep some things for ourselves, after all). Rest assured that with a little research and deduction from what I’ve told you thus far about its location, you’ll have no problem finding it.