Monday, February 3, 2014

Our Crooked Tree Adventure

Sunday was a beautiful day.  The temperature was about 82 with a nice breeze.  Soft, puffy cumulus clouds dotted the blue sky.  It was a day begging for an outdoor adventure. The nearest "park" for walking trails is in a small village called Crooked Tree. This is an extremely friendly Kriol village where the standard fare at the single restaurant is "boil up" and the residents boast of living on the island for 5, 6, and 8 generations. A 3.5 mile causeway (built in 1984) joins the island with the Northern Highway. The main attraction?  A large fresh water lagoon (lake) that happens to be the annual resting spot for many migrating birds. It's a nature lover's paradise.

About 2 miles down the causeway we ran into a little was under two+ feet of water.  We discussed walking through the water (very briefly) and then noticed a woman standing nearby.  My intuition told me she was waiting for a boat. (There are not usually boat rides here, but the villagers have created a system of boat taxis to take the people from the end-of-the-road to the island.)  She said a  man was coming to pick her up and would arrive any minute...and... there would be enough room for us. (What good timing!)
Waiting for the boat. 

We had planned to walk along the forest trails that border the edge of the lagoon but they were also under three feet of water so we walked the island and took pictures.  The picture to the right is of a cashew tree.  One cashew nut grows on the bottom of each cashew fruit.  The fruit is sour but makes a delicious popular wine.  Because there are so many cashew trees on the island, they have an annual festival the first week of May celebrating various cashew products. (I hope the water goes down by then!)

This is the Audubon Center that is usually 50 feet from the edge of the lagoon.
Chelsea is not in these picture because she had other plans. So she missed this trip but will join us next time.

Cute smiles on adorable "Pikni" ("children" in Kriol).
This picture looks like it came from a desktop wallpaper file. It was at the northern end of the island.  Flooded, but with the single tree alone against the blue water and sky...ahhh unique beauty.

 After our hour walk we had to figure out how to get back to the car before dark.  A man from the Audubon Center said he would figure something out for us.  True to his word there was a Coast Guard truck waiting for us.  We sat for a while waiting for another group that would join us on the truck.  Yes...that is an iPad...Kristel brought hers along (ARGHH!! I thought...I sure hope she doesn't drop it in the water!)  But in the end it was helpful.  She took pictures with it and shared it to keep the girls entertained while we waited.
On the back of the truck,

I'm standing in the back of the truck taking this picture.  Our truck is the one in the left foreground.  In front of us is a jeep that was trying to pull the smaller white truck out of the muck.  It got stuck but the jeep couldn't get it out.  "Coast Guard to the rescue!"  So our truck hooked up a chain and pulled the small white truck backwards to less soft ground. That water in front of the jeep is the causeway (!!!)  I was so impressed with how helpful everyone was to each other. When the big truck arrived at my van, the man got out and helped me to turn the van around so I wouldn't get stuck in the soft ground on either side of the narrow dirt part of the road.  So nice!
What an awesome day!