When Sean, Adam, and I reached the valley floor, we turned north onto Reef Bay Trail for a dozen yards until we came to the beginning of Petroglyph Trail, a spur trail leading westward through the forest until it crossed a gut, or semi-regular stream bed, which was currently dry. The trail dead-ended at the site of pre-Columbian petroglyphs carved by the Taino people (see map).
For the first time, we turned the Jeep left out of Concordia’s driveway, continuing down the hill and past the parking area for Salt Pond Bay. We continued west along the southern shore of St. John as the road turned from pavement to dirt and back again several times. After one of the steepest hills we’d encountered on the island, we passed the beach at Little Lameshur Bay, which appeared to be quite popular even on the remote side of the island. We continued a little further on and parked near the big National Park Service sign marking the Lameshur Bay Trailhead (see map).
Just south of the parking area were the ruins of a bay rum still and lime still that were still working in 1915. Sean, Adam, and I explored the ruins before setting off on the trail.
We tidied the eco-tent, finished packing up, and by 10:30am, had put everything into the Jeep to take it down to the registration desk to be held until we could move into the full-kitchen loft for the final two nights. But when Sean went in and asked, the staff said that they were cleaning the loft already, and that by the time we drove around and up the hill, they’d be done. We could move in immediately.
Sunday morning, March 10, dawned overcast. It was, looking back, the beginning of probably the single best day in and around a National Park I’ve had so far.
Like the day before, the clouds were localized, and by the time we crested the ridge hiking away from Brown Bay, it was sunny again. We were starving, and instead of driving back to Concordia, we decided to go to Vie’s Snack Shack on the sparsely populated East End of St. John (see map). As it was, at Brown Bay’s parking area, we were partway out onto the mountainous, narrow peninsula that formed the East End.
Adam and I had read in St. John Off the Beaten Track that Brown Bay (see map) was a secluded, often-empty north shore beach. It was also listed on the Park’s guide to snorkeling, which we were keen finally to do in earnest. So we decided that we would all spend Saturday morning at Brown Bay, enjoying the beach and the water. Friday afternoon, we’d reserved rental snorkels, masks, and fins from Concordia. We’d also packed our bags and lunches.
Saturday dawned clear, sunny, and warm. Soon we were underway on the 25-minute drive from Concordia to the parking area for Brown Bay Trail.
Friday, March 8 was overcast. It was the only morning of the trip I slept late, and I woke to find Adam making pancakes for breakfast. We discussed which adventures to have today and ultimately decided it was a great day for a hike because the sun wouldn’t be beating down on us. Bethany declined to join us both because she had sprained her ankle in January and it was acting up and also because she had some work to do on writing a grant. So she set herself up at a table by Concordia’s pool where there was access to wifi, and the rest of us assembled our gear.
Ram Head trail is one mile long. It begins at the far end of Salt Pond Bay beach and ends at the top of Ram Head point, 200 feet above the sea (see map). The first part of the trail skirts the rocky shore of the small peninsula immediately south of Salt Pond Bay.