Virgin Islands: The Baths at Virgin Gorda

January 15, 2009 at 8:00 am 3 comments

Nearly 8000 years ago in what would one day be Oregon, a 12,000 foot mountain collapsed on itself after a large eruption. Determined and patient, the Colorado river and its minions have been eroding away northwest Arizona for an unforgiving six million years. Twelve thousand years ago, glaciers ravaged the landscape of Minnesota, tearing up everything in their path.

These destructive forces left wounds on the land, as destruction tends to do. Nature carried on and healed, as nature tends to do. Today, the ancient traumas have left us with some of the most stunning sights around – Crater Lake, the Grand Canyon and the beautiful lakes of Minnesota (11,842 strong!).

Beauty from Destruction – Crater Lake (Photo by Jersey JJ), Grand Canyon (Photo by cobalt123), Minnesota Lake (Photo by Steve took it)

When we pause to take in a dazzling view, more often than not, we’re looking at a scar.

Such is the case at Virgin Gorda. Sailing around the island, the shoreline is suddenly littered with giant boulders, some piled on top of others. They are as surprising and as seemingly out of place as the boulders at Devil’s Marbleyard.

Sudden boulders on Virgin Gorda

This is an area known as “The Baths“. The boulders were created long ago and were once part of the sea floor. Then 15-25 million years ago, a fault occurred, reaping havoc. Suddenly, what was once under water, the sea floor and the boulders, was…well, land.

Enter erosion. Sea, sand, wind and rain slowly but surely weathered the rocks, rounded them out and sculpted grooves and patterns. Meanwhile, natural cracks and weaknesses caused what had to be superdupermegaboulders to split apart into mere house-size boulders.

The result– stunning. Caves and tunnels to explore. Covered tidal pools to wade through. Textures to absorb on the walls. All surrounded by white-sand beaches and blue waters.

Two kids on the beach by the boulders

Alex, Lee and Kevin explore the caves and tunnels

Ladders assist your exploration (Photo by strass)

Patterns carved in the rocks over time

Glimpse of the outside world between crevaces

Vegetation with boulder

Vegetation has made itself at home between boulders. Is it just me or does this look reminiscent of a rhododendron? : )

Sunbather found a place to lay

Sometimes destruction is beautiful right away

More pictures of The Baths can be found on my Flickr site.

Entry filed under: Hiking, The Baths, Travel, Virgin Gorda, Virgin Islands.

Virgin Islands: Guana Island Virgin Islands: Gorda Peak National Park

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. geekhiker  |  January 15, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Now I feel all bit by the explorer bug…

  • 2. tgaw  |  January 16, 2009 at 11:32 am

    @geekhiker – Oh you are going to hate me. Right now, I’m bit by the “staying put bug.” I’ve been out and about so much lately, I long to just stay still for a little bit.

    Not going to happen this month though– this weekend I head to Raleigh, North Carolina and then to Richmond, Virginia for an American Chestnut Foundation event. On Sunday, I head to DC area. Tuesday, back to North Carolina and then that following Sunday over to Blacksburg for some meetings January 26, 27 and 28.

    But on the upside, I should find plenty of blogging material while I’m out and about. 🙂

  • 3. Sinking Creek Mountain and Fire Recovery « TGAW  |  March 31, 2009 at 7:16 am

    […] 31, 2009 Virgin Gorda’s The Baths is a great example of how today’s places of beauty are often the sites of past traumas. As […]


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