My Epic Walk

I’m not sure how one defines epic in regard to walks, but today I walked for six hours from Grand Case past Cul de Sac to a nature walk in the preserve that ends up at Anse Marcel and then back to Grand Case. Now I will recount some of what I saw.

Before reaching the nature reserve, as you will see in the photos below, I saw a very large tree, a cotton plant and a newly hatched monarch butterfly that I could photograph easily because it was not yet ready to fly. There were also numerous butterflies drinking from the mud that had retained the morning’s rain. I also saw lots of donkeys who came by hoping I had some food. Donkeys are really neat if you look at them up close.

The nature trail was very nice. According to the signage, it circumnavigates the last intact littoral forest in Saint Martin. The sign also claims that 182 species of flora and 25 species of vertebrates are present in the forested area. I cannot confirm this, but there were a lot of plants and at least a couple kinds of lizards. The unfortunate part about the trail is that it begins at a dump and ends abruptly at a sewage treatment plant. But in between is some gorgeous coastline, interesting terrain and plenty of nature to enjoy.

The trail begins on a shore made primarily of large chunks of coral skeleton. Interspersed are large pieces of layered rock, some of which also contain coral. Heading up from there, you enter a scrubby land that also features large jutting rock formations. If you look at the photo below with two hills in the background and two rocks in the foreground, you may notice that on the hill behind the right hand rock there is an exposed patch of layered rock at the exact same angle. Perhaps this indicates that some or all of the island was created by some type of seismic movement. Also, the underwater formations at the reef Aure found (now named Kusasa Reef) also seem to match the same angle and structure. This would indicate geological continuity between both underwater and above-water landscapes, which is pretty likely anyways, but still kind of neat.

I found what may be another species of little blue butterfly (like the furry one from a few posts ago) which is darker than the other one that I have seen. (In the photos it is the one that is gray with a little tail, but I remember referring to that family of butterflies as ‘blues’ in my childhood.) Also pictured are one of the big black bumblebees that are frequently seen, a spider tending its web and several pelicans that were fishing just offshore.

I have seen small black butterflies in various places, but have never been able to get a close look. To my great delight, in a semi-wooded part of the walk I was able to see many of them and photograph what I think are actually probably two different species of little black butterfly. There were also many land-dwelling hermit crabs. My favorite used its one large claw to block the door to its home.

On my way back, I stopped to rest near an abandoned concrete structure and found its underside covered in wasp nests made of mud. I also learned that there are almost always iguanas at the airport. More importantly, the one I saw today was half-way between the previous pair in both size and coloration. I think this is a pretty strong indication that they start bright green and then turn gray-brown as they age.

All in all, a very interesting exploration. I do feel that I pretty much reached the limit of my current capacity for walking up and down hills and such in tropical heat, but that is what I am here to do.

One Response to “My Epic Walk”

  1. Tiny Flowers | Les Fruits De Mer Says:

    […] coast of the island. The tip of my index finger is in most of the photos to provide scale. The nature trail that traverses that area is quite enjoyable and highly recommended. According to the documentation, […]