Monday, April 12, 2010

An Afternoon Hike in Salt River Bay

Sunday afternoon we joined Olasee Davis and the St. Croix Hiking Association on a hike at the Salt River Natural Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.
Salt River Bay has probably seen more action throughout history than all the rest of St. Croix. There's evidence of settlements by the Igneri people during their migration from South America around AD650, and later settlements by the Arawaks, the Taino and the Caribs.

Columbus's men got into a scuffle here with the Kalinago people in 1493. Two men died of their arrow wounds, and so Columbus named the eastern tip, "Cape of the Arrow."

By 1663, Salt River Bay was a European settlement with governmental buildings, parks, and stables. The area later became a sugar plantation, and now it is a park and a preserve.

Join us on this little hike as we take a tour through history:

Piles of stone mark the sites of archeological finds.
This is the view East towards Christiansted
A ship wreck off the Cape of the Arrow.
Grapetree bushes and succulents thrive here.
Including the Aloe, which old-time Crucians used for home remedies.
Lots of coral along the northern shore.

Our guide Olasee demonstrating how his grandmother used this coral as an egg beater.
Facing west Salt River Bay, where the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has an underwater research lab located near the deep submarine canyon known as "The Wall."
Rounding the corner towards Triton Bay
Hiking along Salt Pond
A mini forest of baby mangroves growing up in Salt Pond.
In the 1960s the area around Salt Pond was dredged and filled. Land developers began construction of this hotel, but it was soon abandoned.
Their dreams of making big money went down with the structure as it began to slowly sink because the fill on which it was built turned out to be unstable.

The place lies derelict while the Park Service decides whether to destroy it or restore it.

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