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Mr. Unstoppable

Grenada’s Telfor Bedeau is the healthiest person we’ve ever tried to keep up with.

November 24, 2015
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Grenadians celebrate Thanksgiving on Oct. 25 — the day American troops quelled an uprising here in 1983. John Whittle

It’s 8 uphill miles from Grenada’s Port Louis ­Marina to the thick green hills of Windsor ­Forest. The winding route takes 20 minutes by car or 90 minutes by orange jelly shoes. Here, on the edge of a jungle trail ripe with nutmeg, tropical fruit and natural remedies, waits the man known islandwide for his footwear and the unfathomable distances he’s covered in it. We’re going for a walk with Telfor Bedeau.

We won’t go far. I don’t do the long walks anymore — maybe 15 miles a day. It used to be 30 miles a day or more. I walk because I enjoy it, and it just happens to be healthy. I sailed on schooners when I was in my 20s. Whenever we had time off the ship, I’d hike up mountains for the views of the Caribbean. So this all began out of curiosity. After a while, people started to recognize me as “the hiker.” You think I have a French accent? Most towns around here have French names, like me. But I’m not French. I don’t even speak French. On my birthdays I kayak around the island. [It’s 54 miles.] I rowed around it on my 50th and 60th birthdays in boats I built. Actually, I row or paddle more than I hike. It’s just that people see me and recognize me when I’m walking. Out on the water, I’m a dot in the distance. The sea cures everything. I don’t take pills, and I don’t use bush medicines. Some people believe in them, and we can find them on these trails if you want. But me? I eat a coconut every day. I drink water. If I’m feeling sick, I go for a swim and sniff seawater up my nose. All better. Next time you’re on Grenada, let me know. We can meet for another walk.

Grenada in 3 Steps Port Louis Marina Camper & Nicholsons operates this marina near Grenada’s popular spice markets and chandleries. Slips accommodate yachts up to 300 feet. Seven Sisters Waterfalls These tiered falls and natural pools are a 20-minute drive from the marina, followed by a mild (but sometimes slippery) hike. White-Sand Beaches Order a roti for lunch on Grand Anse Beach (above) and swim among stunning underwater sculptures in Molinere Bay. John Whittle
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