On Sunday, the 29th we celebrated the January Birthdays of Sarah, Kaspar and Dr. Hastings, with cake and ice cream after dinner. We thought these were the only birthdays in the month, but later learned differently – read on!
On Monday, the 30th, we were up early leaving the hotel at 7:15 for a short drive to the Village of Laudat. This is the starting point of the 8 mile (in and out) of the hike to the Boiling Lake. Many consider this hike the most difficult in the Caribbean! According the the topo map in my guide book, you climb to 2000 feet, go down 500 feet, up 200, down 200, up 400, and, then, down 3000 feet to the Lake. In case you lost count, that is a lot of up and down feet – trust me. We did one stair climb of 105 steps (loosely defined) up – this was not the longest! The guide book say to allow 6 – 8 hours. We took 7.5 hours. Not a bad little work out for the first day of your 63 year!
Dan relates the day this way:
“Today was the hike we all had anticipated with fear since the beginning of the trip. The Boiling Lake hike, an 8 hour trip through the jungles and over mountains to the world’s second largest boiling lake; however, I think most would agree, climbing Morne Diablotin was much more challenging. We woke up at 6:30 am for breakfast at the hotel and, then, loaded into our vans and made our way to the trails start in Laudat. We had the same guide for this trip as we did on Morne Diablotin, Peter. This hike was very similar to many others we have taken over the past month.
Feeling "perky" at the beginning of the hike
The path winded up and down through jungle terrain and over rivers. My first memorable stop spot was on top of a mountain that had an area cleared where we all caught our breath and took several pictures.
On the trail!
As we continued along the path it became more narrow and along a cliff side; as we rounded a corner the Valley of Desolation came into view. The site was breath taking.
Valley of Desolation
The normally green valley sides turned to a reddish rock color almost like a meteoroid had crashed and at the bottom of the valley was sulfur deposits with huge gust of steam blowing up from them. As we made our way down a river bed into the valley we saw streams of boiling water with an over powering smell of rotten eggs. We took time to explore the area, and I remember finding streams that ran black. The guide said it was from volcanic deposits that were deep underground.
Once out of the valley, we followed the trail along a path that ran parallel to a sequence of natural hot tubs. We hiked for about another hour, climbing up river beds and crossing over more sulfur deposits before we finally arrived at the Boiling Lake.
The lake is hard to describe. It was nearly 30 feet below our vantage point and the water had a weird clear yet murky color to it. The cold air hitting the lake created large plumes of steam and made the lake hard to see in its entirety. Then suddenly a large gust of wind blew through and the lake became clear. What we could see was one huge boiling spot int the middle of the lake that was truly amazing to see. We ate lunch before starting back.
Boiling Lake (Photo by Haley C.)
Another UD success!
The trip to the lake took us nearly 3 hours total. The trip back was the same as the way to the lake; however, the rain started and we began to get the true experience of a rain forest. Soaking wet we walked for three hours stopping along the way for breaks. We also stopped at a fresh water spring where others and myself took the chance to guzzle down some cold fresh spring water. Once back at the begging of the trail, our guide pointed out the entrance to a gorge. This gorge was the Ti Tou Gorge and we swam through it.
Titou Gorge - you swim in!
The walls on each side were at least 30 feet high. This gorge alone may have been as interesting and as fun as the whole hike. We took several more pictures, with a water proof camera of course, and took the opportunity to jump off rock formations into the deep clear fresh water. We made it back to out hotel around 4:30 pm and had dinner around 8 pm.”
After dinner, the hotel staff surprised Dr. Seraphin and us with a birthday cake and a bottle of champagne compliments of his “wifey”. Dr. Seraphin had not let on to the group that January 30th was his birthday! We were born in the same year, one day apart! What are the chances?
Dr. Seraphin celebrates. (Photo by Mike B.)
I know everyone slept well last night!The last 3 days will include some last minute shopping, a filming session by a local TV crew and final exams on Wednesday!!