It’s ridiculous how much time it takes just to maintain and clean your boat just so you can sit down at the end of the day and say ‘ah, now that’s a home’ …. as you sip your own rum punch. After an ‘excursion day’, a ‘clean Gaia day’ always seems to follow except for the days we went to the NorthEast of Dominica and the very full day we hiked to the boiling lake.
We took a bus to Calibishie, which is wildly lush and untouched. The roads twist and wind around hairpin turns and the mountain ravines create a severely steep wilderness that’s jawdropping. So, good luck holding onto your lunch. We walked through town to the red rocks which just happened to be next to the chocolate factory! Score! As we walked along the street, there were wooden pegs with a red or blue flag. These are leftover “votes” from the recent election.
Unsure if we were anywhere near the red rocks, the red rocks ranger appeared out of the garden ready to help us, as if he had sensed our confusion. He talked and walked with us, pointing out several trees and the medicinal uses along the way. He even showed us a tree which grew thousands of carefully placed needle-like spikes. He told us this was the only tree we couldn’t climb… He then showed us the red rocks which were so beautiful! We leisurely made our way to the black sand beach which was my favorite part of our day. We finished the tour with smelling fragrant plants and munching on coffee beans then seeing where the chocolate was made.
The following day Mike, Lisa, and I met our guide, Martin, at 6:30 AM ! Poor poor Mike, he doesn’t fair well in the mornings (but he did well that day….). Martin drove us an hour South near Rosseau. We started the hike on a well maintained path, though, still an arduous climb up. All four of us were breathing hard as we climbed right into the clouds. Extreme drop offs were on either side of us and when there was a break in the trees and brush, jets of wind funneled over the cliffside. The force of which, nearly knocked your body back. I looked back several times unsure if Lisa would fly away. We suddenly found ourselves on the summit about 3,000 feet up but with zero view due to the clouds. I took a picture but it didn’t come out 😉 (sorry, that was Kirsten humor…) We then, began to decline over a ridge into what opened up to be the first of the two calderas! It was fantastically green and the rocks held so much iron. These calderas are thought to have been created 40,000 and 35,000 years ago.
We cautiously climbed over narrow muddy footholds that descended into the valley of desolation. This was super neat! As in, when I looked up to see the valley of desolation, I had truly NEVER seen anything like it in my life. I saw pictures online but it didn’t do it justice. The gaseous ground, did, reminded me of a scene in the cat/dog movie of Milo & Otis (kudos to anyone who remembers that childrens movie. I watched that movie on my Dads lap in 17 Rising Lane Long Island NY when I was a kid). The smell of sulfur was so strong you could taste it and when the wind changed and the steam rolled into your face you could feel and taste it. Joy… Mike and I wore our chaos sandals so our feet could feel the heat of the earth beneath us… which I found a little…. intimidating. The earth was cakey and almost sponge-like in some areas. In the stream some people have been known to cook a raw egg…. I didn’t see the appeal in that.
Again others painted their face with the warm grey mud. It smelled awful but was rich
in nutrients and is said to slow the aging process and cleanse the skin. I dashed a bit on my hand and found it just dried out my skin. I was also really glad I didn’t paste it on my face because within minutes of continuing the hike I was breathing deeply and sweating.
Anyway. Another great sight was the fact we saw a black stream… a lot of them in fact. Created out of basalt. The other streams of green, grey, and white… I’m less sure of but hot dang! they sure are cool looking.
and now for what you’ve all been waiting for… the second largest boiling lake in the world…. I give you…. Boiling Lake.
Yes, it boils, yes, you should not fall into it and no, it’s not always full. Apparently this decade it’s higher than usual (in 1988 it stopped boiling and dropped by 29 feet). I find it interesting to say “usual” because the scientists don’t actually know how deep the lake is. There are steep walls packed by loose rock. The edge of the lake is a mixture of pumice and clay. It’s said to be about 200 degrees F. and it only gets hotter towards that grey blue middle, bubbling like a witches cauldron. We ate lunch here then said our farewells to the boiling lake. Our return hike was far clearer and provided us with beautiful surrounding vistas. We also passed other hikers on our return. We were the first to arrive and enjoyed the lake all to ourselves.