AD­VEN­TURES ASHORE

Hik­ing guide “Bush­man” Brent Good­ing has been learn­ing Be­quia’s forests since he was a child.

Yachting - - INSIGHTS - By Kel­ley San­ford

They say im­mer­sion is the best way to learn, and Be­quia’s Brent Good­ing would prob­a­bly agree. Through­out his child­hood, Good­ing of­ten grabbed a tent or ham­mock and spent week­ends traips­ing through the is­land’s forests, ob­serv­ing ev­ery as­pect of the en­vi­ron­ment that he could along the way. ¶ Hav­ing formed a men­tal map, Good­ing was able to res­cue a man lost in the bush about 15 years ago. That man re­paid Good­ing in two ways: giv­ing him the nick­name “The Bush­man” and help­ing him turn his ex­per­tise into a ca­reer as a hik­ing guide. ¶ Good­ing has a rep­u­ta­tion for lead­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, off-the-beaten-path hikes with great sights and facts about the veg­e­ta­tion and an­i­mals. Most of­ten, he guides a three-hour jaunt that starts with Mount Peggy (“Ma Peggy” to lo­cals) hangs a left through the for­est and ends at Lower Bay. “Usu­ally af­ter a hike, you like to take a swim,” he says. “And the wa­ter is right there.”

What are your fa­vorite spots on Be­quia? We call it “Ma Peggy.” It is a big rock, and it is 881 feet from sea level. You don’t even have to stand and you [see] the rest of the is­land. It is like a bird’s-eye view. And the other one is out to the very end of Be­quia, up to the north­east. When you go to that end, St. Vin­cent looks very close. What will some­one learn on your hikes? There are cer­tain plants on the is­land that you don’t want to have any­thing to do with, and then there’s medic­i­nal plants. I point out what is good and what is bad. I have clients who just want to go bird-watch­ing. There is a bird that we call the “yel­low breast,” but in the bird book it is known as the ba­nanaquit. Down here, hon­estly, usu­ally every­body has a nick­name. Why do you en­joy ex­plor­ing the for­est? You are go­ing to see a lot of amaz­ing things, you know, and you are not mov­ing like you have to get some­where. We are in no rush. We have time.

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