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#1 Jun 02, 2017 2:51 pm

New Historian
Active

Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

Scaling the peak

At 7,405 feet Blue Mountain Peak is Jamaica’s highest mountain, and a bunch of us were going to climb it – on motorbikes.  The plan was to ride up the narrow track to a mountain lodge at around 4,000 feet, called Whitfield Hall. We planned to ride all through the night, to reach Whitfield Hall by around 3:00am, leave the bikes there and set out on foot for the slog up to the peak. We were told that it was insanity to try and take our big street bikes up to Whitfield Hall, as they would never make it; it had never been done before. All the more reason for trying!

IF all went according to plan, we’d get to the summit at around dawn, in time for a spectacular sunrise overlooking virtually the whole of Jamaica. After a short rest we’d head back down to Whitfield Hall, before the high altitude sun starts to scorch your backside. It was me and Millie Wong on my Triumph 650, Maurice on his brute of a Honda 750 and a whole bunch of other bikers on an assortment of bikes. After spending the night getting oiled up for the challenge, at Epiphany nightclub, we rode off at around midnight, which left us plenty of time to reach Whitfield Hall by 3am. Or so we thought.

However, there was one “slight” thing we hadn’t factored into our plans: rain. What we city boys didn’t realize was that up there in the mountains during the rainy season, it didn’t just rain some of the time, it rains all the friggin’ time. Unbeknownst to us, a continuous drizzle had been falling up the mountains for weeks, and the track up to Whitfield Hall, barely passable at the best of times with a four-wheel drive, had become a quagmire of slippery, slimy, clinging mud.

With low clouds, there was no moonlight whatsoever; zero visibility. We had to wrestle our bikes up the steep muddy track in the black, rainy, cold night. It was murder. It didn’t take long for us to get soaked to the bone, and of course we were completely underdressed for the weather. And we weren’t even halfway up yet. We revved our poor overworked bikes beyond their limits, struggling through the clingy mud.

There were times when you just couldn’t stop, couldn’t turn back, daren’t look down. Up and up, wrestling bikes through the pitch black night, with only a thin headlight to guide you. It was scary; the higher the climb, the deeper the drop. If you fell, you’d be lucky to survive without broken bones, and forget about rescuing your bike. There were a few close calls, but mercifully no disasters.

That night, up against the might and muscle of Japan’s biggest, fastest finest motorbikes, my “ole British bike” finally came into its own. Out of all of us, I was the only bike to make it up to Whitfield Hall, on two wheels. Starting with Maurice, all the Japanese behemoths huffed and puffed and died along the wayside, overheated and bogged down. My engine got so hot the sparkplug covers melted onto the engine block; but we made it! Millie and I got to Whitfield Hall a full hour before the rest, enjoyed a welcoming mug of hot chocolate and rum, dried our clothes in front of a raging fire and grinned as the procession of bedraggled bikers came slogging in through the door – on foot. That night my old Triumph Trophy earned itself a new name: Perseverance!

D1000017.jpg

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#2 Jun 02, 2017 3:09 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

Awesome.  I'd like to hang out with you.

On the other hand, I am getting a little old for that shit. smile

Last edited by Real Distwalker (Jun 02, 2017 3:37 pm)

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#3 Jun 02, 2017 3:58 pm

gripe
Active

Re: Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

First, great writing! At times I felt that I was reading an excerpt from a masterpiece on island life. Really, our home experiences can create such wonderful, colourful accounts of our adventures. (Suggestion: Try a novel . . .)

Second, "Perseverance"! Is that the true Grenadian oozzing out of you uncontrollably -- in fact, you won't have it any other way -- as you relish the shared misery of your fellow Whitfield Hall graduates? Life truly has its pleasant moments!

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#4 Jun 02, 2017 4:33 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

Real Distwalker wrote:

Awesome.  I'd like to hang out with you.

On the other hand, I am getting a little old for that shit. smile

Thanks, but that was "a while ago" - I too old for them dramas now lol!

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#5 Jun 02, 2017 4:37 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

gripe wrote:

First, great writing! At times I felt that I was reading an excerpt from a masterpiece on island life. Really, our home experiences can create such wonderful, colourful accounts of our adventures. (Suggestion: Try a novel . . .)

Second, "Perseverance"! Is that the true Grenadian oozzing out of you uncontrollably -- in fact, you won't have it any other way -- as you relish the shared misery of your fellow Whitfield Hall graduates? Life truly has its pleasant moments!

Thanks as well! Book "soon come"...

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#6 Jun 02, 2017 5:32 pm

gripe
Active

Re: Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

Alright, New Historian!

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#7 Jun 02, 2017 7:06 pm

houston
Active

Re: Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

Historian, you write some great stuff. Always very genuine.

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#8 Jun 03, 2017 8:36 am

Calypso
Active

Re: Climbing Blue Mountain peak - on motorbikes

New Historian wrote:

Scaling the peak
http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awa … amboo.html

I'd like climb the blue mountains again. I give myself two years to do so.





At 7,405 feet Blue Mountain Peak is Jamaica’s highest mountain, and a bunch of us were going to climb it – on motorbikes.  The plan was to ride up the narrow track to a mountain lodge at around 4,000 feet, called Whitfield Hall. We planned to ride all through the night, to reach Whitfield Hall by around 3:00am, leave the bikes there and set out on foot for the slog up to the peak. We were told that it was insanity to try and take our big street bikes up to Whitfield Hall, as they would never make it; it had never been done before. All the more reason for trying!

IF all went according to plan, we’d get to the summit at around dawn, in time for a spectacular sunrise overlooking virtually the whole of Jamaica. After a short rest we’d head back down to Whitfield Hall, before the high altitude sun starts to scorch your backside. It was me and Millie Wong on my Triumph 650, Maurice on his brute of a Honda 750 and a whole bunch of other bikers on an assortment of bikes. After spending the night getting oiled up for the challenge, at Epiphany nightclub, we rode off at around midnight, which left us plenty of time to reach Whitfield Hall by 3am. Or so we thought.

However, there was one “slight” thing we hadn’t factored into our plans: rain. What we city boys didn’t realize was that up there in the mountains during the rainy season, it didn’t just rain some of the time, it rains all the friggin’ time. Unbeknownst to us, a continuous drizzle had been falling up the mountains for weeks, and the track up to Whitfield Hall, barely passable at the best of times with a four-wheel drive, had become a quagmire of slippery, slimy, clinging mud.

With low clouds, there was no moonlight whatsoever; zero visibility. We had to wrestle our bikes up the steep muddy track in the black, rainy, cold night. It was murder. It didn’t take long for us to get soaked to the bone, and of course we were completely underdressed for the weather. And we weren’t even halfway up yet. We revved our poor overworked bikes beyond their limits, struggling through the clingy mud.

There were times when you just couldn’t stop, couldn’t turn back, daren’t look down. Up and up, wrestling bikes through the pitch black night, with only a thin headlight to guide you. It was scary; the higher the climb, the deeper the drop. If you fell, you’d be lucky to survive without broken bones, and forget about rescuing your bike. There were a few close calls, but mercifully no disasters.

That night, up against the might and muscle of Japan’s biggest, fastest finest motorbikes, my “ole British bike” finally came into its own. Out of all of us, I was the only bike to make it up to Whitfield Hall, on two wheels. Starting with Maurice, all the Japanese behemoths huffed and puffed and died along the wayside, overheated and bogged down. My engine got so hot the sparkplug covers melted onto the engine block; but we made it! Millie and I got to Whitfield Hall a full hour before the rest, enjoyed a welcoming mug of hot chocolate and rum, dried our clothes in front of a raging fire and grinned as the procession of bedraggled bikers came slogging in through the door – on foot. That night my old Triumph Trophy earned itself a new name: Perseverance!

https://s24.postimg.org/p4twx3qu9/D1000017.jpg

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