The Source Hiking Trail and Rekindling Romance in Nevis
I never had any intention of tackling The Source hiking trail (or any other hiking trail) on my first trip to Nevis. After all, I was staying at the posh Nisbet Plantation Beach Club. I anticipated a long weekend of relaxing, fine dining, and pampering at the hands of the wonderful staff of this legendary property…and not much else.
At the same time, though, I had EVERY intention of doing whatever the wife wanted to do on this trip. It’s rare that the wife gets to tag along on my travel adventures. Considering I missed our 10th wedding anniversary while enjoying one such recent adventure, I felt it best that I remain 100% open and amenable to her whims. You know, lest I be cast out on a long solo hike off a short cliff.
Pampering On Pause
The minute the dinner conversation on our first night at Nisbet turned to talk of a thrilling mountain hike to a mysterious place known simply as The Source, I knew that my relaxing weekend was over before it even began.
You see, the wife loves to hike. She’s from Pennsylvania where hiking opportunities are plentiful. We live in South Florida where there are, essentially, none. Just hearing about The Source lit a fire in her eyes that I hadn’t seen since we hiked Hawk Mountain in PA many years ago. The pampering would have to wait.
The source of our info on The Source hiking trail was Reggie Douglas. Affable, young, and ultra-fit, Reggie is well-known throughout Nevis as the island’s top athlete. He even has two Nevis Sportsman of the Year (2008 and 2009) trophies and four OECS Triathlon Champion titles to prove it!
Reggie assured us that The Source hike would be a piece of cake. Problem was, I was enjoying a piece of cake and the latest in a long line of Carib Beers when he said it. Yeah, I won’t be confused with any island’s top athlete any time soon. At the same time, though, I wasn’t about to let anything stand in the way of fulfilling the wife’s hiking desires.
Lucky for us, Reggie had just taken a couple of friends up to The Source a few days prior to our arrival. He could vouch for the condition of the trail and was anxious to hike it again. We quickly made arrangements, and two mornings later we were off!
What is The Source
So, what is The Source? Essentially, it’s the spot high up in the clouds along the slopes of Mt. Nevis (elevation: 3,232 feet) where the island’s fresh spring water emerges from the ground. The trail appears on Nevis maps dating back to the 1600s. We can thank the British for constructing the iron pipeline. To this day, it continues to bring water from on high at The Source to the populace living below. The trail follows the pipe and is still used by local workers to access the pipe to make repairs today.
Traversing The Source Hiking Trail
The Source trail starts out quite wide at the bottom with the only challenges for us being the muddy ground and uneven footing on slick, moss-covered rocks of varying sizes. It’s shady for the most part, and not too steep. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some wild monkeys along the way. Nice and fairly easy.
Then, about halfway up, things change. The path narrows considerably. A steep drop makes every step precarious.
Slippery moss-covered concrete stairs, and other natural hurdles further test your balance and agility the rest of the way.
In a word, it’s thrilling, especially if you, like us, get to experience The Source while hiking in a small group. With just the three of us on the trail (there was NO ONE else up there) we were really able to listen to the sounds of the rainforest and feel the living, breathing natural wonder all around us. It’s truly amazing trekking through the bush with clouds passing all around you, the temperature dropping as you climb higher and higher.
If you don’t stop as often as we did to take pictures, admire the surroundings (or in my case catch your breath), you’ll reach the imposing sight pictured above in under two hours. This is where it gets really tricky. That goes double if you fear heights.
Reason: you have to climb this old, rickety metal ladder to finally reach The Source.
The photo doesn’t do it justice as the ladder is REALLY tall. We estimated it at over 100-feet! It’s not really an easy climb either as some of the rungs offer less than ideal footing.
Conquer the ladder, though, and the payoff is what you see pictured below. This is The Source, a short waterfall emptying into a small pool, no more than 6-8 feet in diameter, where the pipeline begins.
It’s pretty cool to think when standing here that for centuries a good portion of Nevis’ fresh water has emanated from this one, singular spot. What’s even better, though, is drinking the water itself. Completely fresh, natural, and absolutely the greatest reward after such a challenging trek.
The hike back is just as challenging as the way up. If you’re smart, though, you’ll have a full bottle of Nevis’ finest spring water to cool your thirst all the way down.
Savoring The Source Hiking Trail
So yeah, I survived The Source hiking trail just fine. No scrapes, falls, or fainting.
The wife did even better, emerging from the four-hour hike with nary a stain on her white shorts. (Not recommended.)
As she nibbled on a piece of fresh sour-sop picked along the trail, I noticed another fire in her eyes. This one clearly had nothing to do with hiking, though… I knew then that all was forgiven, thanks to Reggie and the wilds of the Nevis jungle.