ST ANN’S Peak with an altitude of 620 metres is the highest landmark overlooking the city of Port-of-Spain. Located at the top of Mt Hololo and north-east of the capital its grandeur is visible from miles around.
The significance of St Ann’s Peak goes back to the days of cocoa when Santa Cruz which was known as Holy Cross Valley comprised of estates. These plantations called Pastora, Cantaro, Gasparillo, Little Couroucaye and Grand Couroucaye, transported their agriculture produce over the Hololo Mountains. At the time, to pass over the rugged hills of the Saddle or La Silla was long and arduous. Therefore the preferred route to the town was over Mt Hololo, and along the path, there is an old concrete milepost. In 1852, the government granted improvements to the roads in Santa Cruz, and through the craggy terrain of La Silla, a passageway was constructed.
Several routes from the St Ann’s Valley lead to the summit, which is accessible from Lady Chancellor Road, Ariapita Road in St Ann’s, or from the Hololo Mountain Road. The expedition starts 6 am at the bottom of Lady Chancellor Road and continues through the forest along the Fondes Amandes Ridge to the mountaintop. Overgrown shrub sometimes block the trail and regular maintenance is required.
Saturday’s journey to Maracas Bay is north over the Hololo and Santa Cruz Mountains. The estimated distance is 20 kilometres and to complete the journey it will take six to eight hours or depending on one’s walking pace. The course is divided into two legs.
Leg One: Lady Chancellor to Santa Cruz. Hiking time three to four hours.
The trek starts from Lady Chancellor Road along the Fondes Amandes Ridge to St Ann’s Peak. At the top, the journey descends to the Santa Cruz Valley on the Mt Hololo Extension Road where hikers regroup for refreshments.
Along the way are spectacular views of Port-of-Spain, Cascade, Lady Young, Chancellor, and the Paradise Estate or Queen’s Park Savannah. In the dry season, the St Ann’s region is vulnerable to bush fires and to preserve and beautify the landscape pine trees are planted. The pine trees can withstand the fire and at the same time prevent soil erosion.
Leg Two: Santa Cruz to Maracas Bay. Hiking time two hours.
From Mt Hololo Extension Road via Santa Barbara Boulevard to Gasparillo Road and over the hills to the beach.
Assembly: 6 am at the bottom of Lady Chancellor Road
Walk starts at 7 am
Finishing location: Maracas Bay Hotel
Maxi pick-up from Maracas Bay starting at 2 pm
Rating: 7 –long and challenging
Parking at Zoo car park and Flood Street next to the Archbishop House
The cost includes return transportation and light refreshment
Note: Bring at least a litre of water. Long pants preferred since trail may have razor grass.
For more info: www.islandhikers.com