Grand Etang Lake, Grenada, West Indies

Mona Monkeys

Mona Monkeys

Got a Monkey on your back?

Got a Monkey on your back?

Yesterday, Sunday November 20th we had the toughest and best family hike yet.

It probably was no longer than 4 miles, but it was in very steep terrain both going up and down and crazy mud. There was one long hour-long session where I was leading Kaiwen down a muddy near-vertical incline and we would work together, where I would go lower, secure my footing and then she would use my feet as braces.

The air was more blue, the clouds were puffier, and the air temperature was in the upper 70s – perfect!

At the trailhead we encountered Mona Monkeys which were introduced in the 17th century as both pets and as a meat source. The monkey population peaked in the 1950s with thousands of them to the point they were a serious farming nuisance. The government promoted the hunting of them as meat to combat the monkeys. Then a major hurricane in 1955 wiped out much of their habitat, and then again Ivan in 2004. Now the island is at just 200-300 and enjoys an endangered status. Even so, an elderly local guy proudly declared that real men eat monkeys. The other local men looked at him nervously and demurred and countered they make better tourist attractions.

The monkeys themselves grow to about 50 pounds and were semi-domesticated by the vendors bribing them with bananas and hard candy. They were about as gentle as I would expect from a monkey. They clearly had hands and when they touched you it felt human. I personally cannot imagine eating them. And if anything it caused me to think more carefully about returning to a mostly veggie and fish diet.

The forest was so alive, stuff was growing everywhere! Mosses, epic ferns, bamboo, date and coconut palms and dozens of other vegetation I couldn’t identify.

Including these brilliant flame-gold mushrooms

Including these brilliant flame-gold mushrooms

As we hiked I was stunned to see so many wild orchids roaming the trails

As we hiked I was stunned to see so many wild orchids roaming the trails

And even more amazing was an arrogant and stubborn avocado tree growing on top of a rock in the middle of the trail

And even more amazing was an arrogant and stubborn avocado tree growing on top of a rock in the middle of the trail

The prize for all of this hiking was the seven sisters waterfall – classic cool tropical forest water and pleasing white noise. Definitely need a replica of this waterfall on the Mars Colony.

20 Seconds of the 7 Sisters Waterfall

As we wrapped up the hike we passed through a grove of Bamboos that were straight out of a Miyazaki anime. Here is 20 seconds of the bamboo in the wind to enjoy:

And here are deep thoughts from Max at the end of the hike:

And Kaiwen is getting her Sushi date tonight:

More pictures from the hike are here