We knew it was going to be interesting. We heard that it was beautiful. But we were still not prepared for what we found. Hole in the Wall is a jaw dropping beautiful slice of wild, raw nature.
Our trip to Hole in the Wall started when six of us were picked up at 8:30 in the morning by Abaco Nature Tours. Ricky Johnson, our tour guide, had previously taken us on a kayaking tour and now we were headed out with him for an all day excursion of a part of South Abaco that is largely inaccessible without a jeep or other off-road vehicle.
Four of us had never been to Hole in the Wall. Two had visited there many times over the past 30 years. We were all excited to be going.
It was a beautiful sunny day, actually a great day for swimming and fishing, but we had other plans. We were picked up right on time, we piled into the car with our packed lunches, sunscreen, bug repellant, walking shoes and long pants, which is unusual down here. We are more likely to be found in t-shirts and shorts or swim suits, but this was going to be a hike and we were all dressed for the occasion.
We started our trip by taking a paved road going south until we hit the big fork in the road. To the right, one headed to Sandy Point continuing on the paved road. To the left, we headed off the highway onto a two track dirt road for the next 14 miles. It took us almost an hour and a half to traverse those 14 miles as the car turned right and left, bouncing and bumping while missing big ditches, potholes, scrub brush and some muddy waters. Then, finally, we arrived. We hiked the last half-mile as it was too difficult for the car to go any further. We were all happy to start walking. It felt good after all those bumps.
|Mahogany Tree (Swietenia Mahagoni)|
|Ricky shows us the browned mahogany tree fruit with seeds ready to scatter.|
|Hairy Wild Coffee (Psychotria Pubescens)|
We also found some wild coffee bushes sitting along the edge of the road.
|Looking toward the Hole in the Wall|
|Photo by Beth Stevens|
|Hiking down to the Hole in the Wall|
"Where is the Hole in the Wall?" I asked. Ricky suggested that we hike down to see it, so four of us took off with him down toward the ocean. Two stayed behind and rested in the shade of the massive lighthouse. For those of you who are interested, additional information about historical maps of Hole in the Wall, look here .
|Arriving at the beach|
At first the hike was easy as we followed a cement path through a maze of sea grapes and then hiked further down until we reached the beach. We took a left at the beach and started hiking across limestone that was full of potholes and sharp edges. We walked carefully through the maze until we reached a point where we could finally see the Hole in the Wall.
|Hole in the Wall|
|Tough walking, but the view is worth it|
One suggestion I have to any beach comber who takes this hike. Wear your walking shoes!
|Returning to the lighthouse|
The lesson that I learned from this tour is that the Hole in the Wall is a place where one could spend many a day, just appreciating the sense of nature's power and enormity. I can't wait to return.