We have many activities planned for our visit, but one of the last will be a hike into the Blue Mountains. This hike follows the historic Maroon trail from the Maroon village of Hayfield on the southern slopes of the Blue Mountains through the Cunha Cunha pass to Bowden Pen on the Rio Grande river on the northern slopes. According to an article, "Historical Maroon trail reopened" in The Jamaica Observer [Monday, July 14, 2003], this will only the second summer since its re-dedication.
A group of faculty and students will be staying overnight June 22 at the Ambassabeth tourist cottages, managed by members of the Bowden Pen Farmers Association. This site was formerly known as Four Feet, the place where the Maroons in the 17th,18th and 19th centuries assembled the animals carrying their goods for sale in the markets of the southern parish of St. Thomas. As the other group comes to meet us on the second day, lunch will be served at the cottages.
Later in July, 2004, Edu-Tourism Vice-chairperson Nicola Shirley will be taking a second group to the Rio Grande Valley [see also map] from the Port Antonio side to learn more about Maroon traditions and agricultural practices. A photoessay by Russell Kaye for National Geographic documents some of the physical and human assets of the valley.