Jason, travel guide

Every adventure a surprise.

We were in the Bahamas on vacation with family.

Jason invited us to see the low tide pools they had visited before we got there. The twins declared that they would stay with their mother. They didn’t want to go on this adventure. This should have warned us.

Carrie and I donned our water shoes. Jason and Alison made wiser decisions on footwear.  And we all started down the beach, an easy five-mile walk.

I couldn’t find any firm sand. Usually, it’s between where the waves wash the shore and the dry sand above. The dry sand always let your feet sink almost to the ankle. Unfortunately, where the sand was wet you sank just as much. Where the waves rushed support was pulled out from under your feet. We tried treading on the piles of dried seaweed which covered part of the beach. This helped some but it was scattered about. It only gave some help to our situation.

Halfway there I noticed a thunderhead growing in the distance. I chose to believe that it was moving away from us.

We made it to the edge of the rock outcrop that formed the tidal pools. To get where they were, we first had to navigate the path that accessed the area.

“Watch out for the sticker bushes,” Jason warned as he advanced down the narrow path we trod on. The sharp spine covered leaves of some yucca type plants thrust out in the way. The path narrowed more as the first of the sticker plants appeared. The barbed stems beautifully camouflaged by the green compound leaves. Long stems of the coarse sand grasses cropped up into the middle of the path.

The path widened, sand and rocks appeared. The area before us was covered by an ancient coral reef. Broken brain coral and seashells were scattered about. The waves surged and splashed against the rocks.

The dead coral was hard. My water shoes protected my feet from getting cut but didn’t do much to protect my feet from the hard uneven surface. I walked in the sand where possible and cooled my feet in the surf where I could. They were already telling me that they were not happy with the treatment I was giving them.

We examined the area and picked up some pieces of brain coral and shells to use as gifts for grandkids that were not in the Bahamas with us. Slowly we walked back to the trail that had led us here. I tried to walk past it, but Jason insisted that this was the correct path. I recognized several of the grass turfs and sticker plants that I again successfully maneuvered around. We descended the hill and moved back to the sandy beach that we would transverse home.  

A large school of fish (Maybe 10 of them) was just off the shore beyond where the waves began to break.  We spent several moments trying to identify them, finally, we (Alison, who we wisely agreed with) identified them as pufferfish. They were larger than my hand. I believe we all wished we had brought our snorkel gear then. Having no way to see them if we swam with them, we began to walk back to our beach house.

The storm clouds which we had not been watching caught our attention when we began to hear rumbling in the distance. We had made it almost a quarter of the way back when the clouds grew darker and the thunder louder. Alison advised us that the most dangerous place to be was walking down the beach in the surf.

We moved out of the water and closer to the trees that lined the beach, looking for a path into the jungle. We were almost a third of the way home when we came to the first one that truly led off the beach. Someone had placed tall posts into the sand near the way the path led. Perhaps to hang tarps for shade. They had also cleared the underbrush from the area making it almost park-like. I wanted to follow it toward our destination. But everyone seemed to think that path would just dump us back onto the beach. Sadly, I had to agree. So, we headed around one small hill and up another following the cleared route.

As we topped the hill two houses came into view. No one appeared to be home as we walked past them. The path changed to a road. As we passed the houses, I noticed that the road led at an angle away from the direction I wanted to travel, toward the house. The tropical jungle between us and the house would require more tools than we possessed. We had none. I had not placed a handy collapsible machete in my pocket before we started our adventure. That and the fact that boots would have been the footwear of choice for such an expedition kept us from making our own shortcut.

I told everyone that we were going to get wet. Carried laughed when a few drops of rain blew across us. Looking ahead I pointed out the line of rain we were advancing too. Soon my prophecy came true as rain moved over us. For a moment I hoped that my hat would keep my glasses free from being covered with water. The torrential downpour soon dispelled that. We were all soaked to the skin as we followed the road.  

The roads on the island were made of crushed limestone. Packed down they formed a concrete of sorts. Flat and hard in places and broken and still hard in others. Rivulets of water were running downhill. They formed pools of warm water in the low areas. Soft sandy muck covered the bottoms, giving a little relief for my complaining feet.

The rain poured as we walked down one hill and up another. After a bit more walking, we came to a rope barrier that we stepped over. Facing away from us was a small sign that said, “No trespassing.” We journeyed on this road until we found a road that cut off to the right. That looked much more like a way toward our destination. The road we had been following continued almost straight as far as we could see. More hills, more hard pavement. There was no soft trail beside the road. Plants grew at its’ very border.

There were times going up and down the hills and through the pools of water I thought I heard someone whistling. Now, who would do that?

We hoped the road we were on would come out on the highway if it didn’t curve back around and lead into the area we were staying. With nary, a curve or bend the road traveled up and down through the forest. The highway appeared at the end of the road. As we approached the highway Alison took out her phone and sent a text to Lynette, hoping she could come and carry us home.  

We turned right onto the highway and again I was sure I heard someone whistling a merry tune. Before I could identify the culprit, my left foot informed me it was being uncomfortably poked. As the others marched forward, I did a quick examination but found nothing.

Two or three cars passed us before a kind gentleman in a red car stopped and asked, “Can I give you a ride?”

 “We’re soaking wet,” I told him. I could see the realization of just how wet his seats would be if we climbed in.

Jason asked, “Do you know how much further it is to the road that leads to Beach Haven?”

“Oh, it’s not far.” He told us. Relief crossed his face as he avoided having his car seats soaked through. He waved and headed down the road. It was a short time later that I identified the whistler. Jason!

I slowly dawned on me that he was having a good time, an adventure. I realized then that even with my feet aching, I too shared that sentiment. Other than the ache in my feet, I was where I wanted to be. Having an adventure with people I enjoyed and loved.

After another 20 miles (I know Alison will insist that it was less than a mile) we came to the road that led to our house. A short time later Lynette came driving down the road in their rented van. She hadn’t yet received Alison’s text. But she was worried about us and went out in search of us.

We were soon in dry clothes sharing drinks. I did have blisters on both feet where the seam of my water shoes had rubbed. And I had this story to tell.

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