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Relaxing End to an Adventure

One final hike and walking around Windwardside

sunny 82 °F

Some of the views along the pleasant Dancing Place Trail hike on the final day in Saba

When planning my trip to Saba, I chose to fly out on the evening flight from Saba in an attempt to squeeze another half-day on the island. Since we had to check out of our excellent hotel, Juliana’s, at 11am, that limited what we could do. We couldn’t get all muddy and sweaty on another long hike or anything like that. So, we opted for a short morning hike. In the afternoon, we would get our Covid test for entry to the U.S. We would spend the rest of the time poking around Windwardside, shopping, and checking out its museum.

The ground slopes away steeply from the trail side, falling to the sea

After breakfast, we took the Dancing Place Trail, which begins just outside of town. It’s start and end connects with the road, and it is entirely paved. It is named that, we were told, because the cowherds and shepherds would let their animals graze on the slopes beneath the trail. Meanwhile, they would party and dance above them while keeping an eye on them from the trail’s scenic view. The ground fell steeply away from the trail in several sharp ridges and scrubby green slopes. We were hiking beneath the trees, but the land was more open beneath us. We could see it had some gardens and fruit groves on it, but it was mostly wild and looked unsettled.

The trail both begins and ends along the road, being a gentle rising and falling arc through the trees

Far below, we heard a baby goat crying out for its mother. The cries kept up incessantly, and we had the same thought: we hoped its mother had not been “culled.” Goat culling is controversial on the island. Garvis, for example, thinks its a terrible idea. Willem and Joanna, owners of Juliana’s, aren’t necessarily for it, either. The idea is that having no natural predator, wild goats are breeding out of control. People are worried they will deforest the island and cause soil erosion. Saban people say the goats are a nuisance and destroy their gardens. Garvis counters then why not let people kill the goats who encroach on their gardens and leave the ones in the wild be? From my unskilled eye, Saba seems anything but deforested, and goats will eat about anything. So leave them to munch away on all those tropical plants no one is cultivating. My guess is the plaintively crying baby goat we heard below us would agree.

Every bit the equal of sights along Saba’s trails are the views you see along the road, like this one of Windwardside

Despite having amazing and scenic trails, some of the island’s most jaw-dropping sights are seen along its road. I actually took more pictures after the hike while walking along the road back into Windwardside. There were great views of the town, which meanders along the slopes and rises high into the hills. Most of the homes seems to have drop-dead, gorgeous views. That seems to be true all over the island. You will be riding along in either Garvis’ or Not-Garvis’ taxi, looking out the window, and marveling at the views. Then you will see a house set way up a hillside and shake your head, wondering what it would be like to wake up every morning to that view.

Another view from the road: what building is perched on this summit? The island’s school!

We did some of that musing as Garvis took us to The Bottom, the town where the island’s hospital was and where people could get their Covid tests. After a bit of run-around paying at one place and getting the test done in the other, we got that accomplished. This was my third test because of this trip: once to enter St. Maarten, once to enter Saba, and the final one to get back in the U.S. Saba was the fastest in emailing us our results. Thankfully, I am 0-3 on all three. No Covid antigens in my schnoz. We then headed back to Windwardside and spent the last couple hours walking around, shopping, and visiting a local museum. It turned out to be the preserved home of one of the island’s most important residents. I was actually a bit disappointed. It felt less like a museum with interesting tidbits of information and more like a series of rooms with antique home furnishings in it. Probably the only disappointing site on the island, to look at it on the bright side.

Interestingly, many homes in Saba have tombs of their parents or grandparents right alongside the house

We said goodbye to the other guests we’d met, to Willem and Joanna, and of course to their rambunctious 11-month old Labrador Retriever. We hopped into Garvis’ aging, red and white diesel van for the final time, and drove towards the airport. For one final time, we watched Saba’s stunning landscape slide by the windows. We watched as drivers waved cheerily to each other or pedestrians, beeping their horns to say hello more than anything else. As we past Mt. Scenery, we remembered the grueling hike to its top. As we passed through the Bottom, we remembered the lovely views of it from the end of our hike on the Sandy Cruz Trail. As we decelerated down the winding switchbacks towards the airport, we remembered exploring the Tidal Pools.

A last look at Windwardside and its church

It was sad to bid farewell to Garvis and say goodbye to the island itself. For a last-minute substitute destination, it had been a memorable trip. If you enjoy hiking or diving, I highly recommended you take up where we left off and make the acquaintance of Garvis, Joanna, Willem, and all the other fascinating residents of this island I had never heard of before this summer!

Many homes in Saba have decorative nameplates with the residents’ family name on it

Posted by world_wide_mike 00:54 Archived in Caribbean Netherlands

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