Yesterday, we went on the Reef Bay Trail Hike. It was fun, and I learned lots of new things. Our hike leader, Mr. Kent, was very nice and knew a lot about the island.
First, we took a taxi to the beginning of the trail. Then we started off. Along the way, Mr. Kent stopped our group and told us about the land. Our group learned about termite nests. The termites are blind, and they are sensitive to sunlight (as well as other forms of light). Because of this, termites build large, open dirt balls in trees with tunnels connecting the termites’ nest to the ground. Mr. Kent broke open a termite trail, and termites swarmed out. he said that he termites would soon rebuild it. It thought that I would be disgusted by the termites, but I actually thought they were pretty cool.
Another cool fact that I learned was there is only one palm tree native to St. John, which is the teyer palm. This palm tree is smaller than other, with the leaves fanning out in a full 360° circle.
On the hike, there were also the ruins of sugar mills, In colonial days on St. John, sugar was the best selling crop. Because the sugar came in canes looking much like bamboo, there had to be a mill on the plantation to turn it into sugar. There were no sugar beets at this time. The first sugar mill was on the Josie Sugar Plantation. This plantation was not very productive and only lasted about nine years. There is only the stone structure left of the sugar mill.
The other sugar mill ruin is the Reef Bay Sugar Mill. It is still in good condition. Mr. Kent told us the process of making sugar, which was done by African slaves at the factories. At the Reef Bay Sugar Mill, we also got to see William Marsh’s grave, who was the owner.
A separate ruin on the trail was the stone foundation of a small house. The house belonged to Anna Marsh. She must have been a very clever old lady because on day she decided that she was going to set up a toll booth. Fold used a trail passing through Miss Anna’s property, so she decided to fine them for passing. It was anywhere from 5 cents to 25 cents. If the person was a friend, 5 cents; foe or stranger, 25 cents.
When we finished the hike, we traveled to Reef Bay Beach. It was a nice place to cool off, though the bottom rocky and the water full of sea grass. Then a ferry took us back up to the beginning.