As a Barbadian, I’m used to flat surfaces with hills and inclines, so I eagerly accepted an invitation to walk on “the hill” with my family and co-workers. The base of the hill seemed to be the perfect meeting place for everyone — fitness clubs, friends, and other fitness enthusiasts.
Lady Chancellor Hill is over 600 feet above sea level. Away from the neighbouring and busy Port of Spain, the air is refreshingly clean. Armed with no water, no towel, no music — just exercise clothes, sneakers and positive spirit — I started the journey.
The road was flat for quite some time. We passed two beautiful giraffes at the Emperor Valley Zoo, the Horticultural Society, and lots of bamboo before anything resembling an incline came into view. Parrots could be heard calling to each other as we briskly walked beneath them.
The hill was the place to be! Friendly hail outs were passing; people reunited and fellow adrenaline junkies greeted each other. Many people walked in groups while others walked in twos. It’s always good to exercise with partners, especially on “the hill”, which is like being in the bush but with a paved road charting the path.
For most of the walk, tall trees lined both sides of the winding road providing shade on the sunny afternoon. Residences and guest houses were mostly through the side streets, which were few and far between.
I could get used to this — fresh breeze, friendly people, nature, security patrols and amazing views. This is a great alternative place to exercise as opposed to being enclosed in a gym. The perspiration is running down my back. I’m feeling good. It’s a gradual ascent. My legs are pumping, my derriere and abs are engaged; maybe if I do this a few times my body may become runway worthy.
My partners have all gone ahead and Lady Chancellor Hill is no longer a hill but a mountain. The end is not in sight. People are walking like this is a breeze and I feel like I’m about to die! My shirt is drenched in sweat and I’m extremely thirsty. Those Trini doubles, STAG beers and pholourie balls have set me up. I’m completely unfit!
After what seems like an eternity, I reach the top — a picturesque lookout. Panoramic views of St Ann’s, the Queens Park Savannah, the buildings on the waterfront in Port of Spain, central Trinidad and — on a clear day — south Trinidad. Trinidad is one of the most scenic places I’ve placed my feet.
Here at the top, everyone is engaged in a mini stretch session. It’s a great place to regroup before the walk back to the base. The two mile (or 2.2 miles depending on who you ask) journey to this point was grueling but worth it.
I can’t wait to get back down the hill so I could drink a cold shell of coconut water from one of the vendors at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
As we chit chatted and headed back down to the base, I was even more drenched, thirsty, and lethargic. I’ll be better prepared next time. How could people ride their bikes and jog up this hill?
The parrots were louder on the walk down than when we were heading up. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were laughing at me.