The group was formed in 2002 when a number of hikers, while waiting for the bus to take them back to town at the end of an NDC sponsored national hike, decided it was not enough to await the occasional big event to hit the trail. Those present agreed that they should make it a regular practice, away from the pomp and publicity. At that very moment, they made arrangements for their first group outing the following month.
That first hike took place on 8th June 2002 to Middleham Falls. Since then, the group has had at least one outing every month. After more than a year in existence and much debate, the members finally settled on a name that aptly describes the spirit of the group – Dwivayèz. They also adopted a motto: “Where there’s a trail, we follow…”
On the first Saturday of every month members of Dwivayèz and invited guests gather at the Cruise Ship Berth on the Roseau bay front in the early morning from where they travel by car pool or bus to the starting point of the appointed hike. In 2011, in response to growing demand, the group embarked on a series of mid-month Sunday hikes – on a trial basis – during the dry season. The experiment proved successful as it satisfied the wishes of those who for reasons of work or worship are not able to participate in the regular Saturday outings.
The size of a hiking party is typically around 15 to 20; but there have been as few as 3 and as many as 42 on the trail at a time. Ages range from as young as 7 to the sixties. In the past, Dwivayèz has hosted individual hikers from England, Botswana, Germany, Sweden, Japan, St Croix, St Thomas, Antigua, Ireland, Canada and the USA. There have also been many local guests willing to take up the challenge and some of them eventually join the group and become regular hikers. Group members correspond mainly by email.
Dwivayèz has been to nearly all the well and not-so-well known places of interest around the island. Some sites, like the Boiling Lake, have been visited by the group every two to three years.
As one would imagine, new places of interest are constantly being discovered thanks in large measure to assistance and information from personnel of the Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Division. For instance in May 2006 Dwivayèz was specially invited by the Division to participate in one activity of the Caribbean Endemic Birds Festival, a ‘birding’ walk across the forest from Syndicate to Picard. This has since become an annual feature in Dwivayèz’ calendar of acivities. Over the years, group members have participated in hikes organised by the NDC, South-Eastern Tourism Development Committee, DHTA’s “Hike Fest” and the annual Neg Mawon walk by WEF. Occasionally, Dwivayèz organises non-hiking activities like a riverside cook-up, a whale-watching trip and a ride on the Rainforest Aerial Tram.
There is growing interest in hiking among the local population, no doubt bolstered by the excitement created with the recent addition of the Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) http://agriculture.gov.dm/trail/. This has triggered a boost in membership for the group as well as for other organized hiking clubs on the island. Despite the high degree of turnover among members of Dwivayèz over the years – more than 30 persons have left since its formation, mainly to study or work abroad – new members keep coming on board, attracted by the love for the outdoors, hiking and the reputation that Dwivayèz has earned for fun, and informality. The group’s continuity and enthusiasm revolve around a core of less than a dozen zealous hikers, some of whom have been with it from the inception.
A few members of Dwivayèz also belong to another local hiking group, DABEX. This makes it easy for the two groups to co-operate and organise joint expeditions, such as annual overseas tours to neighbouring islands.