If you had to ask a random Trinbagonian where La Forêt Beach was, most likely they wouldn’t be able to tell you – unless they were from the Toco area. It is one of the many secret ‘gardens’ (beaches) that exist on our coastlines. La Forêt also known as Forest Point, sits in an undisturbed spot off a road that leads to Galera Point, Toco, where the famous Keshorn Walcott Lighthouse is situated. When my friends and I decided to go there, we had no idea of what to expect. We had never heard of it and we certainly couldn’t tell you if it was in the South, East, West or North – which was our driving factor to go on this hike with Hikers United.
The concealment of this beach is a result of the very limiting access to it. We were part of a convoy traveling along the Galera Road, until we took a right turn after crossing the bridge at Salybia Bay. We then continued down this deplorable, muddy road that was flanked by tall grasses and trees; which explained the word ‘Forest’ in the name of our destination.
Eventually, we got to a point where our vehicles couldn’t go any further and was forced to cover the remaining trail by foot for another twenty or thirty minutes. It was a relaxing walk with excellent weather and thankfully flat terrain. The road was severely eroded that it even resembled a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. There was evidence of logging and logging trucks along the trail, which may have contributed to the terrible condition of the road.
The trail led us down to the beach alas, where we got to behold the wonders of this secret place; hidden on the northernmost corner of our island (Trinidad).
The colour of the water was a cerulean-blue, slapping against our brown sands. A contrast to the expected turquoise waters found at beaches on other Caribbean islands. It was warm to the touch even under overcast skies and intermittent drizzles of rain.
The beach was shadowed by cliff walls, which tempted several hikers to climb to various high points along the shoreline. Tiffany, Theone (a former co-worker/friend who was coincidentally on the hike) and I found ourselves on one high point, overlooking the unique shoreline and the towering pyramid-like rock structures out in water. Some brave members of our group ventured out in the water to climb all the way to the top of the formation.
After taking in the scenic bird’s eye views and snapping numerous photos, we made our way to the opposite end of the beach where we saw others roaming with intense curiosity. There, instead of sand, we found a bed of dark-grey shale rocks, worn smooth by time and pitted to form a jigsaw pattern. It was a sight designed for budding geologists and photographers, but a stumbling maze for the unbalanced.
The dark coloration of these peculiar rocks gave them the ability to trap heat, and they felt great against the feet and skin. It was on this natural spa that Tiff and I both fell asleep – unknown to each other -, and I mean we knocked out completely. When we arrived we were already lacking sleep from starting the journey very early, and so the warmed rocks seemed like a suitable place to lay weary bodies. No one judged.
After waking from my nap, I remained sitting on the rocks watching the tiny crabs and other coastal marine life scurry in and out of small tide pools, while the other hikers settled down under the sunlight. Only a couple persons were still concerned with catching the best photos and exploring high places. The rest of us chose to sit back and soak in the landscape of this secluded beach before it was time to return to our respective homes. La Forêt was unique, stunning and rarely touched. A truly a well-kept secret of our north-eastern coast worth every minute of exploring.
Photo credits: Tiffany Look Loy
If there’s anyone out there who has been La Forêt before and can tell me the name of the formation on the shore to the far left of the pyramid-like rock, do let me know please. That’ll be greatly appreciated!
God-willing, after this covid-19 pandemic is over, you can check out Hikers United for more hikes to places like these. Thanks to groups like these we are discovering the best places nature has to offer.
Stay safe, stay strong. Persevere and prevail.