THE word “forbidden” kept ringing in my ears as I frantically grabbed footholds and handholds among the sharp, jutting rocks. It was getting dark and I was trying to stop the uncontrollable shaking of my knees and the rising fear that one false step could send me hurtling down the steep cliffs resulting in serious injury, or even my end.
We were on Forbidden Island on the east coast of Saipan, shoes, and jeans dripping from the knee-high water we had to wade through to reach it.
I had thought about visiting the area for the past two years and so there I was, finally. Our group split into two, the more daring ones going up to follow the eagle trail while the others followed the almost equally hard turtle trail set by hashers Dan and Eric.
After an eternity of hardship, the leader who was ahead of us shouted “dead end” and we started the more agonizing trek back.
Forbidden Island provides the daring with a stunning view, great snorkeling nooks, pristine hidden pools, and a cave.
But in the falling darkness, it looked eerie, devoid of any form of life save for the bird and a few plants that were able to tough it out.
I looked at Forbidden Island with a new perspective. It’s different when you just look at it from the view deck above than when you explore it and come back with blue, red, and violet bruises on your hands, arms and legs, and knowing panic when you see your buddies fall on the sharp rocks and get up with huge bloody gashes on their legs.
The trek to Forbidden Island is quite challenging and is not for everyone, especially those who are afraid to fall or who have fear of heights.
Going down, you have to hold on to pieces of ropes tied on tree branches or stumps or grab stones for footholds and handholds which could roll down any minute. You have to find the trail amid tall tangan-tangan and thick bushes.
The dying embers from our bonfire cast an eerie glow as we gathered our things to leave the area at past 9 p.m.
We still had to survive the upward trail, with only flashlights to guide us back to the parking lot. We left the site with the waves in their seemingly endless race against each other, crashing into the rocky shores.
It’s been six days since then and I still feel the muscle pains, but it was worth it. If you haven’t been to Forbidden Island yet, you’re missing a lot.