Refresh the spirit; Exercise the body: Enjoy nature…
smack in the middle of an urban eco-environment.
I cringed as I overheard the comments that my 6-acre property was a Wasteland, a Piece of Bush as we say locally. The gossip was, “Who but a foreigner or a lunatic would be using all this time, energy and money to develop it?” I am no foreigner, however, prior to modern medicine, persons who loved the moon were labeled lunatics. I earned the moon-lover stripe by hosting several Moonlight Hikes & Cookouts at Eden’s Door.
My local Trinidad & Tobago roots spring from a Tobago father and a Trinidadian mother. In fact, my grandfather, John Gibbs Bailey bought this property some 100 years ago and left it to his children as “Joint Tenants.” No one developed the land. When the last Joint Tenant died, her descendants (My 1st cousins) inherited the land and decided to sell. I knew the lower valley as a child but not until 1999, did I come to know the hilltop 300 feet above sea level. The view was magical. The vast Caribbean Sea lay to the west and the hills of Les Couteau crowned the top like Matisse cutouts. Scarborough Harbor and French Fort Light House to the East with deep forests on my north and south sides.
I presented my bid to purchase on the spot.
From 2002, frequent trips to Tobago allowed me to hike the perimeter of the land through the deep forest. I experienced the spectacular workouts, the superb cardiovascular stimulation, the unforgettable views the eco environment with fantastic oxygenated air and endless breezes from the northeast trade winds. I descended from my hike, or ‘the bush’, drenched and deliriously happy. I knew I had to share this with others. “This is the essential 30-minute exercise for the healthy human heart”, I said.
By 2012, in numerous excursions through the forest, I led excavators and made trails on the perimeter of the property, saving the “Forest Cathedral” in the center. I had given birth to the coolest nature trails I knew. Eden’s Door would be a nature haven, and wellness destination for others. In 2020, I launched the Heart Smart Campaign at Eden’s Door to highlight the value of cardiovascular fitness.
The Trails: Trail #1 starts at the pond with its babbling fountain and the 3-foot wide paved path built by Nizam ‘Boogie’ Hosein…and that’s where the comfort stops. Climbers ascend a 75 degree paved footpath with handrails. They climb past the mango tree, a historic merger of Little Pa and Long mango trees; they continue on a breezeway below the water tanks and proceed to descend 100 steps to the bottom.
A sturdy rope handrail and strategically placed landing platforms provide safety and breathing space. At the bottom of the steps, a left turn takes you to a gentle gradient path that brings you back to the pond. KAZZAM--You now turn around and reverse the trek along the 200-foot path, up the 100 steps, down the 75 degree slope and back to the pond. Bravehearts may attempt the trek a 3rd time in an oxygen-filled cardiovascular pump that could hardly be re-created in a gym or on a machine.