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Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Jumping rock....

Scratch that one off the bucket list....

Note: there are a lot of pictures with this post and three videos, might take a bit to load.

Wow..what a day. I've yet to figure out just how far Lorrie and I walked, but I believe it was somewhere between 8-10 miles. We got a late start having  slept in, not because we were up late partying or something, no not at all. I think we hit the sack around 9:30 last night.  Then, as has been the case for the last 4 nights, this psycho dog begins his non-stop howl/bark-a-thon till somewhere around 4am.  Don't dogs ever get sore throats or anything? We've yet to find a way to silence his bark. We've tried ear plugs (I brought some with me.. just in case something like this would happen). We've got a fan running in the room on HIGH. I've got the windows shut and the A.C. on  (something we eschew when we're in the Caribbean). None of it works. But enough of that....

It was 10:30 when we arrived at Playa Grande. We packed light (one drink each, couple granola bars each, first aid kit, camera, T-shirt in case of rain, knife) ,  knowing we had at least a 4 mile hike (one way) ahead of us. I had sketched out a map of the coastline to help guide us.

Oh...wait...I've  gotten ahead of myself. The way we found out about Jumping Rock was from our property manager Allen. He told me about how kewl it was and that you could jump off this huge bolder that cantilevered out over the ocean an then let the waves push back up underneath it. He described it as  a monstrously sized chunk of granite and that visiting it was one of those magic moments. He said that if his health wasn't so poor he would take us there himself.  He also said one could hike to it from Playa Grande but you would need some serious surf boots/diving boots and some real stamina.  Lorrie and I bought the boots from BlackBeards. Allen kinda pointed out the general area of the boulder on one of the handout Vieqeus maps. I did some searching on Google Earth and located this huge boulder on the far western coastline, out from Playa Grande. As large as this boulder looked from overhead, it just had to be it.


This next picture gives you and idea of just how far we traveled today. As the crow flies it's just under 3 miles across from the right X to the left X. Following the coastline I'm saying it's at least 30% further and that would put it at 4 miles one way, 8 round trip:


This was only our second visit to Playa Grande. Our first time  there had been  a gate at the very end of the beach and it was closed, this time it was open.  So we drove as far as we could until the road got a little hairy. We opted to turn around and pull in  at the last turnout to the beach. That put us about where the right X is.  From that point we started hiking. If you look close you can see my cabana sticks still strapped to the top of the car. :-) 


Below was our starting point:


Our first obstacle was the set of rocks in below picture. I knew this would be no problem as I had climbed over them on our first visit to Playa Grande. 



It was great to feel like we were actually on our way.  Exciting because we didn't really know what to expect. This was all just based on a short conversation with Allen.


These beaches are gorgeous. I had forgotten just how beautiful they are and there wasn't a soul around. As a matter of fact we never saw another person all day long.


Everything seemed to be going just fine until we ran into this spot.


 I tried everything to find a way to get around this. We couldn't climb over it, too steep. We couldn't walk around it at the water line, cause it was too deep. We couldn't swim because we had the camera and some other items that just couldn't get wet. I tried climbing up the side of the embankment. Impossible. When I got to the top it was some of the thickest, nastiest, thorny vegetation you've every seen. Impenetrable. So there we were. About 45 mins into our Jumping Rock trek, dead in the water. (no pun intended).

Rather than give up completely we opted to walk back to the car, drive as far as we dared on the road, then start hiking from there and just see where it would leads us. I had remembered from looking at the google maps that there was a two-track road that ran in the general direction of where we were heading, but I had no idea if we would be able to get to  the waterline.  

When we began again it was just before 12 noon. The road we walked on was gravel in some places, dirt in others. The more we walked, the more I realized I could have driven further but having only a 2x4 this time I didn't want to take a chance. It got really "jungley" looking as we made our way along the road.



 After about 45 minutes we came out on a beach. I was sure it was one of the 3 crescent shapes beaches I had marked on the map. I marked those beaches in orange on the one below:




Hot and a little sweaty we opted to take a break under a palm. I grabbed a coconut for us to drink. Here's a short video clip of it:


 Before we left this spot we blazed the trail, so to speak, with a bamboo stick and a big wad of green fishing net. Just a precaution because this might end up being hard to find.  Pushed on to the next point and saw nothing of the Jumping Rock, only more rocky beach edge.



 Once we left the beach areas I began watching the tideline. The waters were relatively calm now, but should the tide come in and the wave pick up I could see where this could be a little treacherous. We hit numerous black sand beaches, I can't tell you how many we saw.  That palm tree was inviting but I kept pushing on. I knew it was after 1pm and was already doing the math in my head on how long we could keep heading this direction without turning back.




Every time we would round another  point I would be disappointed (and a bit more worried) because there was no sign of the Jumping Rock.  We found this little pool of water to hang out in and cool down. There was the huge cactus hanging over the edge:


Although we were getting really tired it was at the same time exhilarating to see so much wild beach. I knew how far we were now getting from the truck and the sun was beginning to edge west of center.


I think it was at this point in the below picture,  that I ask Lorrie if she thought we were pushing the envelope and if she wanted to head back.  From the look of what was now in front of us  we were gonna have to take off our backpacks and hold them over our heads, plus there was still no sign of Jumping rock. She said that she trusted my judgment and would do whatever I thought best.



I turned around and looked at just how far we had come. I was weighing the investment we had in time and energy and if it was worth continuing.  The picture below is looking back. I knew that within an hour we would have to turn around if we were going to have enough daylight to make it back.  I decided to press on and didn't dare look at the time.


Another point, no jumping rock.


You reach a point in hikes like this where you get into this meditative gait. No talking, just pushing along the coast, taking it all in. My wife is an amazing woman, more than able to keep up with me.  Around another point and I finally saw it! But shit...it was still so far away. That's it in the far distance below.


This next picture was taken from the next point. Doesn't look like it's hardly got any closer at all. It's still way off in the distance.


At this point there was no turning back our goal was finally in site. Ended up being 2pm when we finally made it. We had begun our search for Jumping rock at 10:30am.



 Jumping Rock is mammoth and  the larger part of it is indeed hanging out over the water. I explained to Lorrie that we had, at most, 20 minutes to explore it, then we really needed to head back. It was great to get the backpacks off and just enjoy it all. I took some video of us playing in the waves as they would crash underneath the rock. There are numerous little causeways that run under it.  My video is not very good, I was more into enjoying the moment than filming. I didn't really capture the beauty of it all.  Didn't matter, we had made it.





Was it a life changing moment? Nah. Was it beautiful? You bet and it is a special memory that can't be measured. And no, I didn't jump off of Jumping Rock. I wanted to but given that it was just my wife and I, it didn't seem prudent. Lorrie also ask that I not do it.  Jumping off of Jumping Rock IS now on the bucket list though (just don't tell Lorrie.)

20 minutes went by in a flash and Lorrie wanted to explore more but I insisted that we really needed to start back. We scarfed down two Kashi bars and headed back. We were now out of water, so the trip back was going to depend on coconut water alone.



At the half way point, after we were past most of the rocks I stopped and took some video. It was good to see those three crescent beaches again.



Not much farther and we saw our green fishing net. All we had now was a 45 minute walk back on the road. We were all smiles:



If you decide to give jumping rock a try, they way we did, good surf shoes are a MUST. Give yourself 2.5 hours one way, 5 hours round trip. We made it back to the truck @ 4:30pm, a very full day.

:-)

6 comments:

  1. I'm guessing you will both sleep better tonight after that workout! The shot of Lorrie walking around the rock is beautiful, what an adventure. Thanks as always for sharing it with us :)

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    1. yeah, it was a really great time we spent together. Those beaches we saw are awesome. Blew us away. I want to snorkel out there. We're still digesting the trek today in our minds. Such a great time. I really couldn't capture the beauty of it all in pictures. At times it was really on the edge, makes you feel alive.

      :-)

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  2. I am curious, the first point you walked from, was that the new opened dirt road past playa grande? Or was that where you parked the second time? We drove past playa grande on the one car width dirt road, which ended at a beach. We then walked(away from play a grande) and walked on crescent beach after crescent beach separated by rocks and alike. We didn't go nearly that far as you did and had to turn back as is was getting dark. We want to explore there more in June. Maybe we will make it to jumping rock!
    Amalia

    oh yah, my partner really dislikes that dog!

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  3. Amalia,

    The very first place we tried was the first turnout on the new road. After that we drove that newly opened road until it "T's". We parked there and walked (realizing afterword we probably could have drove) down to those crescent beaches. From the beaches it's probably just under 2 hours to jumping rock, maybe hour and 1/2.

    We were blessed last night to not have to listen to the dog.

    Curt

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  4. Thanks for the info! We wanted to explore more there on the next trip and will most defiantly look to make it to jumping rock. An hour and 1/2 to 2 hours is a good trek but sounds like a fun adventure if prepared. We had a 4x4 jeep (not Allens) and are very adventurous where we take it. So I am guessing we drove all the way down the road you walked down. Although I am not sure how two cars would pass each other there.
    Somehow, I never heard the dog! My fiancé on the other hand, heard it almost every night.
    Amalia

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  5. Hi Curt! When we kayaked down from Green Beach, I am almost positive where we stopped was jumping rock. Try from the other side next time! :)
    Amalia

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