The low sun is still dripping from its morning swim in the Atlantic, but it won’t be long before the stones underfoot begin to bake. When the road elbows left, a pace of wild donkeys plodding their way to shade pauses to stare knowingly, then vanishes into the grove.
The uneven path to Devil’s Bridge sees its fair share of tourist-stuffed van traffic, but to truly appreciate the significance of the historic site, it’s best to make the journey by foot.
Long before the sugar mills and boiling houses crumbled, weary men and women walked this very route, past the edge of Antigua’s pointy finger to escape enslavement.
After scaling a steep hill, a pause for breath allows the bittersweet beauty of Devil’s Bridge National Park to flood in. Giant cacti, tropical flowers, and a few small white cranes lead the way to Devil’s Bridge. Distant brays from a lone jack are a reminder to keep moving forward.
The road shrugs suddenly to reveal a hidden cove, no, two – three! Wide, powerful waves sweep their way to exquisitely beautiful shores. Devil’s Bridge itself looms only a few heartbeats away.
When you see it with your own eyes, the mighty, unforgiving tide evokes the same chilling awe you feel standing next to the tumbling point of Niagara Falls. Ask an Antiguan what Devil’s Bridge means, and you’ll get one of two stories in reply: either the rough Atlantic seemed like an uncertain escape to a far away home or a certain escape from a life of bondage – it doesn’t matter which is true. They both are.