Hiking with a difference
It was the 1st February and our hiking trip was just about to start on the national trail Waitukubuli. I was thinking, that it is going to be a normal hiking tour of three days, where we hike with a guide trough the rainforest. At the end it was so much more than just a normal hiking tour.
At our first day, we went ashore early with the dinghies to a bus that then drove us to our starting point for the hike. The final point for the day was an accommodation in Pont Cassé. The hike was planned to take six hours with a visit to the biggest waterfall on the island, the Middleham East Waterfall. What made our hike difficult was that since the visit of the waterfall there was a sudden downpour. The earthy trails became muddy slides. After only a few minutes everything, inclusive us, was completely soaked and the weather gave no sign of changing. But the most were happy about the rain. The warm weather was very hard for some people. So the rain was seen as a kind of cooling and refreshing. However, we did not only get wet, but also very muddy. Not everybody stopped on the slippery path. Over the whole day, even in the depths of the rainforest you could see the effects of the hurricane Maria. After arriving at the accommodation at 9:30 pm we had a delicious dinner and a warm shower. Everybody was exhausted and at the same time excited about the next day and the new adventure.
The next day after a typical Caribbean breakfast, we set of with our guide on a hike towards the beach. We learned a lot about the plants and animals from the guide, who is a native of the island. On the way, we saw tree crabs and parrots, among many other things. A highlight of our tour was a natural pool with a waterfall. Arriving there at lunchtime, we all went for a swim. It didn’t matter if we wore hiking gear or swimwear. Everyone went for a swim. After cooling down, we had lunch with our lunch boxes. After that we went on to the next highlight. In front of us was a wide river that had to be crossed. Those who were hoping for a bridge were disappointed. So, it was a case of: don’t complain and just go through. After this hard day, everyone sat exhausted at the dinner table and could hardly wait to shower and go to sleep. There was no hike planned for the last day. The destination was another natural pool, but this time next to the sea. Despite the short hike, the relief was great. In addition to the many sea urchins there were also many shells, which one student noticed unfortunately in a painful way. However, she didn’t have to worry about the rest of the hike, because we were picked up by a bus from there to return to Portsmouth.
As I said at the beginning it was so much more than just a hike. It was an adventure in which we got to know Dominica and ourselves as a group in a completely new way. We saw animals and plants that we either didn’t know or only saw on TV. I also think we came together as a group very strongly. Everyone helped each other on the slippy or hard parts of the paths. If you fell down or slipped, everyone asked you how you were and whether you had hurt yourself. After that you had a fit of laughter. If someone was no longer able to walk, they were not left behind but cheered up and re-motivated by the others. If someone got hurt, they would be carefully patched up and their bags taken away to other group member.
Personally, I think this hike was one of the best I have ever done. This incredible group feeling and this breath-taking landscape made this hike very beautiful and unique.