Creque Dam Road
|An easy drive but kind of a long walk.|
Length: 3.2 miles. Time: 3 hours round trip. Difficulty: 2. Trailhead: Also known as Route 58 and Spratt Hall Road, it junctions with Route 63 near Frederiksted.
Pronounced ?Creaky? Dam Road, it first passes through Spratt Hall Plantation which also accepts overnight guests. It enters another section of moist forest and ends at the Western Scenic Drive .
Badly washed out by several hurricanes, the road was paved and widened in 1997. The road, which parallels a watercourse, was famous for its tall trees, some over 100 feet high.
But as part of the paving process, the thick tree canopy was pruned for the power lines and many of the bush medicine plants were removed. Today, there is much more open sky over the road but the surrounding forest remains just as thick.
At 1.3 miles is Creque Dam, a 45-foot high arch dam built in 1926 to store water for Frederiksted. The dam sometimes runs low because it has a leak.
It's possible to walk across the spillway to the opposite bank. If you do, you'll certainly notice how the dam is silting up.
Designed to hold 9 million gallons of water, it may be storing nothing but silt in another quarter century. The large tree here with trunk spines is the native sandbox tree.
Flowering winter through summer, the sand box tree receives its name comes from its fruit, which locals once hollowed out while still green to hold sand that would be sprinkled over letters and documents to blot the ink. A bird commonly heard here is the pearly-eyed thrasher.
Continuing, you will pass another kapok tree that is buttressed, one way of telling it apart from the sandbox tree.
Kapok thorns also tend to be less densely packed and its leaves are shaped like a fan while the sandbox has a simple two-inch long leaf.
At 1.95 miles are the ruins of the estate Mount Victory great house, which was turned into a school in the 1840s. Shortly you will pass kapok, sandbox and spreading raintrees introduced from Brazil and Mexico.
At 2.95 miles Creque Dam Road junctions with Route 765 which joins Mahogany Road (Route 76) 1.2 miles later, headed south.
At 3.2 miles Creque Dam Road ends at the junction with the Western Scenic Drive (Route 78). Going west (left) from here, it's 3.4 miles to Ham Bay,a hike described elsewhere.