23 March 2012 | Dominica
We left Portsmouth at 6:00am for Loudat for the start of one of our most amazing hikes ever. This hike is touted as the most beautiful and hardest in Dominica and I can certainly believe it. We met up with our guide Alain (Ali) and started the first of many climbs with our friends Danielle and Michel from Quebec.
The first part of the hike took us up through rainforest into the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. The views were amazing with light streaming through the rainforest giving it a mystical appearance. There were gigantic trees, especially the Bloodwater trees with their huge buttress roots. This part of the hike ascended over a crest and then down to Breakfast River. Next we had a steep climb up into a cloud forest to over 3,000 feet. The views were becoming even more spectacular as we could see sharp mountain peaks and lush jungle ridges. The trail was mostly a series of fairly steep steps that we had to scramble over as we continued.
The next phase of the hike took us down into a place called "The Valley of Desolation." Here we saw steam rising as dramatic backdrop to the lush valley and the start of river tributaries formed by hot bubbling springs. We stopped where two tributaries met, one was intensely hot the other was cold from a waterfall; the cool water allowed us to actually put our hand into the mixture which would be too hot otherwise. After about three hours into the hike the tributaries were more frequent and forming gorgeous pools with more and more steam.
We then continued our final ascent to reach Boiling Lake. This is the second largest boiling lake in the world, a 180 foot crater belching clouds of steam in the air. The whole crater is filled with cloudy water boiling and bubbling at a furious pace. It was just surreal - something out of National Geographic.
On the way back we swam in one of the hot pools (see photo) and stood under a hot waterfall. In many places the water is extremely hot however this pool had a mix of cool and hot water making it about 105 degrees. The temperature was perfect and the falls massaged our sore muscles. We couldn't stay long however as we still had several hours of hiking to get back to our car.
Before we reached the very end of our hike our guide showed us the Titou Gorge where some of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie was filmed. The walls of the gorge are very dark and dramatic, and 70 - 80 feet below were powerful falls and a small wild river. When were reached the end of the gorge we had a special treat. We were able to dive into a cool water pool and swim up into the gorge to the head of the falls. We swam through areas of the gorge that were only a few yards wide and 80 feet high with low magical light streaming though. What an amazing day!!!!