Beyond Grenada’s pristine beaches, the Caribbean nation is a nature lover’s paradise, made up of lush rainforests, collapsed waterfalls and soaring mountain ranges. For the past 60 years, those who have ventured deep into the wilderness of the Grand Etang Nature Reserve in the interior of Grenada have likely spotted Telfor Bedeau as he roamed its many trails and trails.
50 reasons to love the world – 2021
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“Because when I was a child, the scouts introduced me to my first hike at Fedon camp in Grenada, [and] Since then, I have spent my life walking and mapping my native island. I take a walk that I call the ‘No Rivers’ walk, which takes me along the top of the island’s spine. I don’t think anyone has done it before. ” – Telfor Bedeau, explorer and cartographer
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Known as the “Indiana Jones of Grenada”, Bedeau is something of a national celebrity. He walked, rowed and mapped almost every nook and cranny of Grenada’s rugged terrain, covering 16,093 km and climbing its highest peak, Mount St. Catherine, a staggering 217 times. His love and knowledge of the island’s unique natural habitat is perhaps second only to his thirst for adventure, which has led him to tour the country’s eponymous main island non-stop in kayak, as well as to navigate around it twice in its self-built. sloop (a single mast sailboat).
Bedeau only lived away from the island once, in 1958, when he traveled to England on an ocean liner after being inspired by Dickens and Shakespeare, his grandmother encouraged him to read in his childhood. Working for British Rail in London, he found the weather too cold and returned home a year later to pursue what he loved: sailing the coast of Grenada; dive to explore its underwater worlds; and above all, hiking through its rarely explored tropical forests.
Bedeau began keeping track of his travels in 1962, creating maps and diaries of previously unexplored territories. His reputation as a great explorer spread throughout the island and beyond, and in 1989 he was invited to work as a guide by the Grenada Tourism Authority.
Over the past decades, Bedeau’s expertise as a guide has become legendary, and people have traveled from all over the world to walk with him through the dense, mountainous landscape of the Grand Etang, relishing the opportunity to see Grenada. through his eyes. Bedeau knows all plants, animals and waterfalls and is able to point out ancestral paths forged by runaway Maroon slaves who escaped into the forests of Grenada to hide from their British colonial oppressors in the end of the 18th century.
Now 80 years old, Bedeau maintains his spirit of adventure, but his knees are not what they used to be. In the coming months, he plans to stop his guided tours and will retire to the Grenadian island of Carriacou where he has built a small house. However, he has no plans to slow down and will continue hiking and kayaking as much as possible.
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“I plan to spend the rest of my little bit at Carriacou in my little hut,” Bedeau said. “I’m 81 and you never know what’s going to happen to your body, [but] I am very happy to hike, kayak and maintain my garden. This is what I will continue to do for as long as my body allows.
Bedeau put his vast knowledge in the trusted hands of his protégé, Simon Green. A devoted student and friend, Green now guides people along Bedeau’s original trails, while painstakingly scanning freehand topographic maps, diaries and logbooks that Bedeau has created over the decades.
“When Telfor started walking, much of the interior was still unpopulated, and the locals saw no point in walking it, thinking it was raw, a forbidden place. He was a pioneer and through his dedication his attitudes altered. “Said Green.” In the 1990s the authorities realized the importance of Telfor’s work and a new era of eco-conscious tourism began in Granada. “
He was a pioneer and thanks to his dedication attitudes changed
Bedeau never owned a computer and always produced his newspapers – and even advertisements for his services – by hand. By digitizing his mentor’s work, Green hopes that Bedeau’s findings and observations can be shared with future generations.
When asked what makes him happiest, Bedeau says he lived off the wisdom his beloved grandmother gave him as a little boy. Be a good human being, love nature and appreciate the world and environment around you.
BBC Travel celebrates 50 reasons to love the world in 2021, thanks to inspiration from well-known voices as well as unsung heroes in local communities around the world.
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