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Things are Not What They Appear: Bouldering to a Flat Rock

Long Man’s Point is a flat rock area that is next to Chicken Rock. From our porch on Guana Island, we can see Long Man’s Point, but not Chicken Rock. You can see that only by boat or by hiking. The hike is long and arduous, but there is a make-shift dock from which one can do a short hike to Long Man’s Point and then see the Chicken. (Image: Long Man's Point from our porch)

Our friend Bill arranged for the staff at Guana to drop three of us off at the dock and return a few hours later. This would give us time to explore the tide pools in the flat rock area and admire Chicken Rock. I assumed the short hike would be, well, a short hike. Because of the view from our porch, I guessed that the dock would be next to the flat rock. We'd hop out, and within 10 feet be at a tide pool. But I was wrong. The dock was not near the flat rock. It is almost impossible to see it from a distance because the dock looks like just another rock. (Image: Circle is the dock. The line shows the first part of the route.)

The approach to the dock is tricky because of an abundance of rocks in the water. When we arrived I was surprised to see a jumble of large, boulders that were mostly volcanic. While I have bouldered a few times in the past, I haven't done it recently. I am feeling a bit cautious these days because I broke my upper arm last year, and it is not fully healed. So when the boat pulled away, I had to steel myself for the challenge. (Image: Bill on the "trail")

The trick to surviving a boulder field is to use your hands and feet and work slowly, which I did. At the top of the field there was a set of home-made concrete steps that were so covered in dirt they were not quite flat. The rope-and-metal-stake railing was so loose that it was a danger rather than a help. At the top of the stairs there was a similar staircase that went down to a boulder and washed-up tree area. That obstacle course led to a ledge that required hanging onto sharp volcanic rocks. Fortunately Bill suggested we bring gloves. Glen forgot his, so we shared a pair. (Image: Glen happy that he survived.)

After all the scrambling we were rewarded with a series of tide pools and an awesome view of Chicken Rock. Long Man’s Point has a few rock slots through which water surges and one from which water shoots up. It was great fun to listen to roar of the ocean and watch the small fish that were trapped in the tide pools. (Image: The Chicken.)

The reverse scramble out to the dock went well. We ended the day mostly unharmed, except for a few scrapes from the rocks and a bit of wear and tear on our hiking pants. Had I known about the boulder field, I might have declined the trip. In retrospect I am happy I arrived to the dock blissfully ignorant. Long Man’s Point is a special place. It turned out to be a wonderful day.

Water shooting up from a slot.

This area continually fills and then empties from both sides.

Sadly, this crab appeared to roast in place.

The easy way to see Chicken Rock is to sail past.

The view looking back from Long Man's Point. The land-only hike to Chicken Rock has a path down from here. It is two hours roundtrip to the top of this rock. The trail guide says the way down is difficult and doesn't not give a time estimate. I think taking the boat to the dock worked well.

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