Musical Interlude On the Mountain Trek to The Citadelle Laferrière
Trekking along the ancient stone path that winds up to the awe-inspiring mountaintop fortress that is The Citadelle Laferrière (elevation: 3,000 feet) is a mind-blowing adventure unto itself. There are only two ways to make the journey – by foot, or aboard a guided horse. (Generally, a very tired and small horse who has seen way better days.)
No matter how you make the trip, though, you’re sure to encounter a few surprises.
All around you, for instance, lush thickly-wooded slopes defy common perceptions of Haiti. Farmers tend to fields. Goats graze off in the fields. Tropical fruits – bananas, papaya, mango, soursop – feed the scene in season.
To be sure, the ecological disaster that most associate with Haiti is not in evidence here.
People eek out a living along the path any way they can. Some sell handmade trinkets, souvenirs, and art pieces. Others offer drinks and snacks.
Then, there are these guys…
Groups of musicians like this are interspersed at varying points along the trail, usually just far enough apart as to not disrupt each other’s songs. Drums pair with vaccines, makeshift horns crafted of bamboo, and percussion sticks to create a singularly hypnotic rhythm.
Stopping and taking in a few minutes of performances like this are a big part of what draws me back to The Citadelle again and again.