|Start Point:||Golden Rock Hotel|
|Height of Ascent:||Unknown|
This hike takes you through some lovely rain forest to a small waterfall that is the source of the water supply to the Golden Rock Estate. The route follows the centuries-old cast iron pipe which brings water down the mountain. The first half is a gentle hike along easy paths, but the route then becomes a little more challenging with steep paths and old concrete steps – we did it in a pair of sturdy walking shoes.
We caught a local bus from the square in Charlestown next to the library - it cost us $4EC each. They drop you off on the main road and then it's just a short ten minutes walk up to the Golden Rock Hotel. Go to the hotel office and the receptionist will quite happily give you a free photocopy of the route.
From the hotel office, you walk past a car port, through an orange gate, up some steps which brings you onto a path. Turn right up the path until you come to a concrete road. Turn left and walk up the hill past some houses. The road bends to the right and comes to a T-junction with a grey water reservoir in front of you. Turn left and then almost immediately right. This road leads up to the start of the route.
At the top of the road, the path bears to the right and continues as a four metre wide grassy track through woodland. Soon you will see signs of the old cast iron pipe bringing the spring water down the mountain.
Continue along the track until you come to a small concrete holding tank where the path narrows and bends to the left. It took us 45 minutes to reach this point. There is a good view down the side of the rain forest here and you can just see St Kitts in the distance. The path becomes more challenging from here and is the turning point should you not feel very energetic.
Continue along the path which is muddy at times following the water pipe. The route drops down some old concrete steps in a few places. These are covered with moss and may be slippery, so watch your feet. The rain forest plants become more tropical with tree ferns and Heliconia flowers, so spend some time looking around.
After 45 minutes, you should come across a steep slope cutting through a rocky gorge at the top of which is a small dam creating a water reservoir. Turn right across the dam and continue up the narrow path.
You will climb up some more steep sections and arrive at a clearing where you are faced with a 120 foot high iron ladder. This ladder is very old and rusty, but seems to be securely fastened to the rock face. Some of the rungs are a a bit thin having been corroded over the past decades.
We decided to err on the side of caution and slowly climbed the ladder individually. I kept my feet on the extreme sides of the rungs where I thought that they would be stronger and kept my hands on the side uprights.
At the top, it's a little delicate stepping from the ladder onto a steep slope, but nothing too scary. There is a small waterfall filling a pool from where the iron pipe starts.
I climbed up past the waterfall, but it only goes up another 20 feet before you are faced with a crumbling earth wall. You would need a small rope to continue any further.
The return route is simply retracing your footsteps. There are no spectacular views on this hike, but it's enjoyable being in the tropical rain forest and the route is very varied.