Cinchona View

One of the stops on the mini Jamaican Safari that Cecil Beharry took my cousin Alex and myself on was the Cinchona Gardens.  As captivating as the old Gardens itself was, the first thing, and the last thing, that we looked out upon was the view from the mountainside, down into the St Andrew parish.

Although I can try with every possible photographic tool at my disposal to convey to others the emotion that I felt standing there, I don’t think I can ever truly do it justice.

As we stepped out of the vehicle, we were greeted with a clean, cool mountain air that revived the senses and the spirit, after that long arduous drive, I’m sure that Cecil was the most grateful of us for that.

The view was breath-taking, the clouds and mists had claimed the tops of the mountains leaving just the valley for the viewer.  From the flowers dotting the edge of the road where the steep descent began, the valley spread out and rose and fell to the distant mountain peaks, from our vantage point, the mountain-sides that envelope and nestle the Cinchona Gardens framed the scene beautifully.

This is a view of an Island Paradise… from 5,200 feet up.

This is a Panoramic Photograph from thirteen images (each taken in portrait orientation) stitched together.  Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

Big Bamboo

While traipsing around Cinchona Gardens (Jamaica) snapping photographs like a giddy schoolboy, we came a cross what looked to me like a Bamboo Grove, and although there seemed to be many pathways to explore, we were hoping to get to many more places that day, so we stuck to the main areas.  In the Bamboo Grove I decided to take a few exposures to use as bracketed shots later.  Standing under the boughs, it was more like standing in a rainforest, than on a mountain 5000 feet up.  🙂

As I stood there in the gloom created by the thick stands of Bamboo all around me I couldn’t help but remember an old Calypso (much older than myself) called the Big Bamboo.  Although I know that it was covered by many Jamaican singers and bands, my recollection is usually of either the Mighty Sparrow or the Merrymen.  It is a song that was typical of the Calypso songs of its time, with its marked double-entendre, giving the song a light but naughty air.

Ironically, the song could be traced back to a calypsonian who called himself The Duke of Iron  🙂

If you’ve never heard the song, Google it, I doubt you’ll want to be staring at this photo while listening, but here’s the photo anyway  🙂

Into the Mountains – Part 2

After lunch on my second day in Jamaica, we drove up to Cinchona Gardens, what was once a beautiful Botanical Gardens, a destination for families and tourists, an old Colonial house and out buildings, gardens and ponds, and bamboo copses.  The road up to it is impassable by regular cars, so Cecil’s Safari enthusiasm came out as he tackled the mountain with gusto.

Before even going towards the Cinchona Gardens proper, the view to the right of us as we drove up was very compelling, so I just had to take a few photos in the hope that one would help express what I saw,the tops of the range were obscured by low-hanging clouds:

The Gardens stand in a spot of the mountains that is five thousand two hundred feet above sea level (5200ft), and there is usually a constant “misting” from the clouds, so most everything is wet.  The first steps into the garden proper brings you to some tree stumps of tree cuttings, makes great seats for the weary 🙂

From an upper vantage point, you can see the seating area in the walled section of the garden with a small man-made pond, the sky had begun to clear a bit so that I could get more than just a blanket of gray clouds in the photos  🙂

Alexis stood for quite a while admiring the view of the valley below and the mountains in the distance, he even went as far as shouting out to hear the echo… which he got  🙂

The main building was cordoned off with a “Danger” tape,warning visitors not to go in, I was tempted to venture in, but Cecil wisely told me not to try it, so I satisfied myself with a few photos from the outside.

As the skies were clearing a bit, I took another set of photos of the view into the valley and across at the Blue Mountains, this time I could actually see the tops of the range in some areas.

From the Cinchona Gardens we were to make our way towards the Blue Mountain to visit Whitfield Hall, where people desirous of climbing the peak would start their trek, on the way there as we neared Hagley Gap, we stopped to take photos of and near an old bridge that appears to be out of use.

We stopped along the road to get a few photographs of a beautiful view down another valley, this was probably about 15 minutes outside of Whitfield Hall.

Whitfield Hall is an old House and Coffee farm, it is snuggled beneath some very very tall trees and is such a tranquil spot, we sat and ate the rest of our food before heading back home.

On the way back I couldn’t resist a passing shot of the hills/mountain showing the barbed demarcation of the end of the road, where the cliff drops down to the valley below.