I often hear people say on a hike, “Wow! I did not know Trinidad has places beautiful like this.”
But there is an abundance of stunning scenery around the island. For those of you who travel far East, you might have passed Quare Road in Valencia and were ignorant of the magic hidden inside. Why would you? As you drive through the quiet community, a gate that bars further access and a big Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) tank will let you know it is a restricted area.
Quare Road leads to WASA's Hollis Reservoir, one of the utility company's many water sources. But walking on a path right at the tank, through the bushes and a few streams, takes you to one of the most enchanting rivers in T&T. The Quare River stretches miles from the Northern Range into the Hollis Reservoir. The lower part of the Quare River is the spill-off from the ever-flowing dam that provides some of the most pristine waters through mini gorges and waterfalls before it reaches the town.
Last Sunday's journey to the countryside saw a few hiking groups and leisure seekers taking the trek upriver. It starts at the tank and up the road until you meet a stony pathway leading to an old staircase that takes you down to a damned area. It is a popular spot for limers around the village. It has its mini waterfall, but it is a bit difficult to climb down.
Someone created their little zen area.
The fun awaits upstream as a ten-15 minute walk up the winding river gets deep in a canyon formation that is perfect for swimming and diving. If you cannot swim, you can cross on the side, but it is a narrow path that requires good balance and adequate upper body strength. Some hikers climb up the mini water slide in this part of the river to skate down as there is ample water and force to cushion the rock in this scorching dry season.
Five minutes further upstream, where a tributary meets the river, is the perfect place for relaxation. The gravel banks are a great place to set up your food, drinks and supplies, and the sloping riverbed makes it easy for swimmers and non-swimmers to enjoy the cool swim or soak in the crystal-clear water.
While the Quare River is not as known as Caura and Valencia rivers, some limers still refuse to understand the importance of leaving a clean scene. There were some discarded Styrofoam containers, plastic bottles and snack wrappers left behind.
WASA restricts Quare Road because it leads to the Hollis Reservoir: a beautiful place for an industrial facility. Past colonial Governor Sir Claude Hollis commissioned its construction in 1936, making it the oldest of its kind in T&T. According to WASA, workers constructed the reservoir by damming the Quare River, which enters the dammed area “in a majestic split series of waterfalls that constantly replenish the lake from which an unfailing supply is drawn.”
Hikers having a splash in the Quare River.
Hikers trek to the reservoir's entrance by enduring six kilometres of hills from the Heights of Aripo. WASA does not allow the public into its facility.
While the Hollis Reservoir hike is for the experience and fit, a drive to the Quare River can cover your therapeutic needs after life's stresses from the past week.
An old staircase leads the way to the first pool.
Fallen trees across the river add a bit of excitement to the trek.