What Goes Down, Must Come Up
You know how it always seems that no matter where you’ve gone, the return trip – though equal in distance – feels shorter? Some say this “return trip effect” is the result of “familiarity” while others say it is a mismatch of expectations, meaning that in the beginning, we are so optimistic about getting somewhere, that the initial journey seems disappointingly long. Regardless of what they say, we can assure you: when it comes to the Rendezvous trail, the “why” does not matter as the “effect” Does. Not. Apply. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
The story starts with us returning to Wallings Dam, this time to explore the Rendezvous trail. It started out well: flat in the beginning so that we were able to catch our breath after the trek up from Wallings, and then gradually rising and falling at regular (and comfortable) intervals so that we were getting a good workout without overexertion. Having never been to Rendezvous, we were feeling especially good: not only were we getting our exercise in for the week day, we were going to explore a new beach for the first time! I even dared to suggest that we had discovered the perfect hiking trail.
And then the trail started to slope…and slope..and slope some more, until forty minutes into the hike, we came to this point.
You can’t see the sliver of sand in this photo, but that little whitecap wave in the bay beyond the valley? That’s Rendezvous Bay – our destination. And that long, green stretch of hills and valleys in between? That is an area of Antigua some of us are content to never experience again. From this point on, the Rendezvous Trail becomes a very steep downhill trek, and our thoughts are consumed by the fact that when it comes to hiking: what goes down, must come up.
Despite this, we forged on, refusing to let our mission to “experience Antigua” be defeated by one ridiculously ambitious hike. Pushing thoughts of the return trek out of our minds, we instead focused on the sounds (was it the ocean or wind we were hearing?) and sights, which included “Alice in Wonderland-like” intertwined archways and soft grass that was an unusually bright, mint green color.
At the end of this pathway, the trail becomes a flat, dirt road which had us thinking we had made a wrong turn. We wandered around for a bit, eventually jumping over a chain that we at first thought was designed to keep us out. We walked in silence for a few minutes, wondering if we were on the right path, (and if not, who was to blame!) until finally we saw something: a faint blue color just beyond the trees. Was it just the sky again? A mirage? We glanced at each other in anticipation, and quickened our pace until it was clear that we had reached our destination.
And then we saw the jeep. Apparently you can now drive in to Rendezvous (we had always heard it was only accessible by boat, hike or horseback) and while the hike down was nice, we’re not going to lie: thoughts of the hike back up had us contemplating whether or not we should ask the owners for a ride out. In the end we decided
our car was at Wallings
we couldn’t quit halfway, so we simply said hello, and then spent the next hour exploring the beautiful Rendezvous Bay, an adjacent stretch of pink sand, and another small beach just beyond.
Within a few minutes of our arrival, our friends at Adventure Antigua showed up. They were kind enough to share some much needed passion fruit juice so we’d like to say thanks to JD and Natalie; that sugar helped us on our hike back up! (Note: one water bottle is not enough!)
The guests off the boat were amazed that we had hiked in, asking how long it took (an hour and a half) and how long we thought it would take us to get back up. We looked at the hill, looked at each other and said a silent prayer before confidently answering: about an hour and a half.
We were close; it took us about an hour and 55 minutes…but it felt like three and on at least two occasions, I had visions of my heart exploding. But you’re probably in better shape than I am, so if you’re accustomed to hiking and think you’d enjoy an hour-long vertical ascent, then we recommend this hike as a great adventure/beach day. Just pack plenty of water and energy bars. Or you could also just visit Rendezvous Bay with Eli’s Adventure Antigua. It was a nice day and all, but when we come back, it’ll definitely be with these guys!