Building Our Beach House
Life on Middle Caicos
Some of our Middle Caicos Friends
Snorkelling Around Middle Caicos
Swimming with Sharks
Exploring the Caves
Hiking the Crossing Place Trail
Remote Locations Worth the Effort
Tropical Flowers and Greenery
Birds and Wildlife
Other Islands in the Turks and Caicos
Island Inspired Poetry
Our Family on Vacation
Favorite Vacation Moments
What You Need to Know to Go
Places to Stay
Hiking the Crossing Place Trail
West from Blue Horizon, the Crossing Place Trail is a moderately challenging half day hike. I've made the trek three times, the last one with my oldest son, Rick. Each hike ventured a little further and presented new adventures. That is one of the attractions of Middle Caicos for us; after six trips, it still surprises us.
The first waypoint on the Crossing Place trail is Norbellis Cove. Rick and I posed for pictures here, then, a few hours later, were glad we had. We intended to follow a different route back but weren't sure where the trail head was. From the LCD on the back of the camera, we could tell that it was near the west end of the last beach.
Cardinal Arthur showed us the trail head by boat a few days later. Without a clear marker, though, we missed it on our hike. My GPS knew just where we were but was silent on where we should be. But I had previously marked the Ferry Landing, less than a mile away. Only a few tidal flats and mangrove swamps stood in the way.
Just over the hill from where the Crossing Place Trail forks is the Blowing Hole. A tunnel under the cliff opens into a pool inland. I try to plan my hikes to arrive there at high tide for more spectacular splashes.
The Juniper Hole Sea Cave is one of my favorites sites on the Crossing Place Trail. Take the time to view this fullsize photo (click on the thumbnail). The little speck on top of the cave is me, standing with arms spread. That's a big cave.
This is one of the three major 'holes' at Juniper Hole. I stumbled onto them when I heard the roar of the surf coming from behind me as I walked over the cave roof. The ocean is an impressive 50 foot drop straight down.
The coastline west of Blue Horizon Resort is a rugged string of cliffs and offshore rocks. The hike along here is a challenge. You have to pick your way along sharp eroded limestone between the cliffs and the thick brush a few feet away. An easier path lies inland.
The Nose is a rounded promontory, undercut by the surf, that lies at the northwest corner of the island. It's a good place to break for lunch after the hike along the coast. The entire north coast of Middle Caicos stretches to the horizon on one side; the reef, absent west of Conch Bar, reappears here as a barrier for the East Bay islands.
Mountain climbing on a coral island? The route from the Nose to Crossing Place crosses a high hill then drops to the beach. To avoid the brush that gets impenetrably thick not far inland, we headed for the beach and found this vertical rock face just at the bottom of the slope.
The long beach at Crossing Place as seen from a boat. The first Casuarina you come to marks the trail that leads inland back toward Blue Horizon and Conch Bar.
Crossing Place is where the residents of Middle Caicos used to begin the over-water leg of their trek to nearby North Caicos. Shallow channels separate the string of cays in East Bay. The trip took most of a day and the travellers spent several weeks visiting family before returning.
Rick and I headed south toward the ferry landing from here. We couldn't find the trailhead for the inland route back east and we didn't want to retrace the hike along the cliffs. I knew the ferry landing was just three quarters of a mile to the south. What I didn't know was what the terrain between was like. The initial wade was deceptively easy. Soon after we were chest deep holding our gear over our heads.
This wasn't a typical day at the beach. Instead, Rick and I found ourselves knee deep in mangrove swamps and tidal flats. We missed the turn for a easy walk back and accepted the challenge of making our own route. The GPS reciever pointed the way and counted down the distance remaining to my previously marked waypoint at the ferry landing. From a hilltop earlier on our hike, I had seen the ferry coming in so there was hope we might find someone still there. If not, at least the road was a sure thing.
After an unplanned trip across the swamps, the sun-baked limestone flats around the ferry landing were a welcome sight for Rick and I. And, even better, someone was there. Cardinal was about to leave in his fishing boat and Cap and Dwight were unloading the ferry. I'm sure they thought it funny to see us crazy tourists appear out of the swamp but kept their snickers to themselves. We rode back to Blue Horizon on top of boxes of supplies for the grocery stores in the back of Dwight's pickup truck.
Our first view as we fly to Middle Caicos is the ferry landing. This familiar outpost on the west end of the island is our access for day trips to North Caicos or tours to the iguanas of East Bay Cay.
|Ferry Landing from the Air|
Thu 05:03 PM Jul 13, 2000
When Rick and I made our adventurous trek around the northwest coastline, this is where we found a ride for the last few miles home. Our walk took us over the muddy flats in the top center of this aerial photo.