Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 2nd 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Sunday, April 2, 2017
There are not many people who
do not know about the natural
wonder that is the La Brea Pitch
Lake. For decades, it has been a
major tourist attraction known
for having the largest commercial
deposits in the world. But did you
know there is another pitch lake
Nestled in the Marac forest in
Moruga, there is another deposit of
asphalt, much smaller than the one
at La Brea. Hunters in the area know
about the pitch lake but they usually
avoid it as it has 'swallowed' up many
an unsuspecting hunting dog.
In this third part of the Sunday
Guardian's series on local tourism
sites that you and your family can
visit over the Easter holiday weekend
or any time for that matter, the team
visited the Marac Pitch Lake and the
Moruga Buff, a site where there is a
cluster of bubbling mud volcanoes
spanning over an acre of land.
To get to the Moruga Buff, you
have to drive along the main road in
Moruga from Poui Junction and turn
off at Edward Trace. After about 20
minutes of driving, you will come to
a Petrotrin field road that will lead
into the forested area.
Please note that these two sites are
recommended for adventure lovers
and people who can walk long dis-
tances. It will be too difficult for
young children. Also, be sure to
take along bottled water and insect
repellent and wear a sturdy pair of
boots or sneakers.
With the assistance of councillor
Joseph Lorant of the Princes Town
Regional Corporation, our team was
able to make contact with three well
seasoned hunters who acted as our
guides into the forest to find the vol-
Leo Morgan, one of his sons Mau-
rice and his nephew Randy are sea-
soned 'bush men' from Maitland
With Leo leading the team, we set
off from a hunters' camp at the end of
the fields road. The walk leads swiftly
downhill and you will need to walk
with your bravery to cross the first
river using a fallen tree trunk.
After about half an hour (more if
you stop to admire the scenery as we
did), you will come to the clearing
that is the volcanic site.
I counted 52 bubbling cones...but
there's more. The sheer size of the
volcanic field is breathtaking and
the heat after leaving the shelter of
the forest floor is dazzling. The vol-
canic mud has left no room for trees
to grow around the largest cluster of
volcanoes but there are dozens more
hidden within the deep forest.
The tallest cone is some 15 feet
high and most of the smaller cones
In fact, if you're not careful you
can suffer the fate of poor Maurice
who fell into a cone and, according to
his father, shot back out like a 'gouti.'
The Marac Pitch Lake
Although tired and almost halfway
covered in mud, we took off to find
the Marac Pitch Lake next.
Sadly, we had to leave the company
of Leo, Maurice and Randy behind
as we were promised another guide
To find Marac, you need to follow
the main road until you get to a four-
way junction just before the Moruga
Turn right and drive for about
30 minutes before you find anoth-
er hunters' camp at the end of the
Although the road is not in the best
shape, cars can be used to access the
From there, it's a 20-minute walk
to the pitch lake.
Our guide, John Fredrick, lead the
way. At the start of the trail, there is
a rapid descent downhill and it's only
when you get to the bottom, you'll
see how steep the hills are. You then
take a walk uphill---there were four
tree trunks piled in the middle of the
track which you have to climb like a
ladder and then jump about four feet
to the ground.
If you're barely five feet tall like
me, it may seem like quite a task,
but don't lose hope, the walk is well
worth the sight at the end.
When you can see teak trees ahead,
you are almost at the site. The sticky
pitch has made a home for itself and
like the volcanic mud, it prevents any
trees from growing in it.
If you don't have rubber boots,
be prepared to scrape pitch off your
sneakers, especially if it's hot and
sunny. You also have to be careful to
not get stuck in the pitch as you may
have to leave your sneakers behind.
There are many bubbling little
pockets of pitch that belched occa-
sionally while we were there, throw-
ing quite a scare.
Visiting both sites in one day is
very tiring, but luckily on your way
out of Marac you'll find the La Lune
beach, where you can stop and rinse
off some of the sweat and cool down
before the drive home.
If there's a nature site in your
community that you want us to
visit, send an email to sharlene.
email@example.com or give
me a call at 225-4465 ext 6104.
Jevan Ramsook sits at the mouth of
the volcano in the Moruga forest.
PHOTOS: RISHI RAGOONATH
Leading the way...GML's Sharlene
Rampersad makes her way through a
marshy area of the Moruga forest in
search of the pitch lake.
If you are interested in visiting the volcanic site, you can contact Leo at
387-4568 or 292-8921. Just tell him Sharlene with the toy feet referred you.
And Fredrick will take you to the pitch lake and provide fun facts along
the way. He can be reached at 289-7156. Roland Huggins is another Marac
resident who can provide tour guide services to the pitch lake, and he can
be reached at 378-1046.
John Fredrick, centre, gives Moruga councillor Joseph Lorant and Kavinash Ali a tour of the pitch lake in the Moruga
forest off Marac Village last week.
Go to Moruga Buff and Marac Pitch Lake
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