An early morning start with a drive to the beautiful Caura Valley to begin our hike. Honestly our small twin island state abounds with such natural beauty, it is a shame that I don’t explore it more often.
Already as you drive through the Caura valley you can envision the peace and quiet you will be trekking through. The mountains now awakening still covered in mist, the calling of the birds as they start their day, with the distinctive ‘tocking’ of the Bearded Bell Bird also known as the Campanaro, native to the upper regions of the northern range, and the peekaboo views of the Caura River as you near the beginning of the trail, all contribute to building the excitement for your journey.
The Brasso Santo Trail is home to hikers, bikers and hunters and much thanks must be given to our bikers who have made the trail passable with their ongoing efforts to keep it clear of fallen trees.
The beginning of the 13.5 km trail takes you along a meandering path criss-crossing the Caura River several times before making your way up the mountain. The water is clean and refreshing, the river shrouded at times in Bamboo, and the banks are lined with the white peace lily giving off its characteristic scent. You begin to relax and smile not realising that you will soon begin the gradual ascent to the top of the ridge traversing the northern range. Your elevation gain will be a total of 777m with a maximum height of 500m.
Along the trail there is evidence of hunters as you pass a makeshift shed and if you are a keen observer, you will notice our local version of ‘sentry posts’ created to spot unsuspecting animals all along the path. These are strips of branches laced or nailed between two trees so that the hunter can either sit or stand unseen for hours awaiting their prey.
The forest is not dense and allows just the right amount of filtered light for you to enjoy the beauty of the natural flora keeping you cool along the way.
There are several check points on this trail – the ‘Belly of the Beast’ lets you know that you have reached what seems to be the lowest point in the trail. The ‘Bathtub’ – a very welcoming small pool of refreshing water filled by an endearing waterfall. And ‘Base Camp’ – an arbitrary meeting and look out point where you reap the rewards of your climb with views stretching along the north coast with Las Cuevas beach to the west.
It is undulating territory as you leave Base Camp, primarily downhill along the path when you finally exit the forest and enter the open landscape where you can catch a glimpse of your final destination La Fillette bay. You’re almost there. And after a 4-hour hike, you are content knowing that you have just spent a relatively short time crossing but a small part of our beautiful northern range experiencing nature at its best, shedding some of your worries and anxieties. I would say a morning well spent.
This trail is one of Trinidad’s finest.