Sept. 6, 2002 – The St. Croix Hiking Association isn't one to rest on its laurels. With many of its members just back from camping on St. John and nearby Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, the group is hosting a "moderately difficult" hike to the Butler Bay waterfall and Estate Nicholas on Sept. 15.
This one is open to non-members. Those wishing to join in should meet at 5:30 a.m. — yes, that is a.m. — at the tracking station parking lot on Route 63 outside Frederiksted for a 6 a.m. departure on the hike to be led by local naturalist Olasee Davis.
Many of the association's 70 members took part in the St. John/Jost Van Dyke camping excursion, according to George Hampson, who heads the group's publicity committee. He said participants loved camping at Ivan's on Jost Van Dyke for its remoteness as well as Foxy's Bar, but found staying at St. John's Cinnamon Bay Campground a bit on the civilized side.
A trip to lush Dominica is in the works, he said.
In between off-island excursions, the hiking group members traipse about Mount Victory and other points of interest on St. Croix.
"The hiking association brings together people of like minds," Hampson said. The group formed several years ago when a number of people went on a hike to Annaly Bay. "They got so inspired, they said 'Why don't we keeping this moving?'" he explained.
At 66, Hampson is probably the oldest member of the group. Another member, Dorothy Flash, said most participants are around 30, but the hikes also have brought out children, older teens and adults past their 30s.
Flash sees the hikes as a good way for folks to get acquainted with their surroundings. "It's eye opening to a lot of people," she said, noting that the hikes have an emphasis on flora, fauna and history. Few of the group members had ever been to the Buck Island Reef National Monument until they went on a hike there, she said.
Publicized hikes such as the one to the Butler Bay waterfall and Estate Nicholas are open to the public. There is a charge of $10 per person for non-members. Association membership is $25 a year. For more information, call Hampson at 778-7910, Flash at 773-8409 or the association president, Sonia Maynard-John, at 778-2076.
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