Friday, February 13, 2015

Dominica's Wai'tukubuli National Trail

Just a couple of years ago, Dominica opened it's unique national trail, The Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT), which meanders for 115 miles across the island's length. The trail features Dominica's contrasting terrains, waterfalls, lakes, geothermal areas, etc.  Completeing the entire trail is estimated to take 2 - 21/2 weeks. Thankfully, it's divided into 14 segments, the start and end points of which are accessible by local bus. Gil & I, along with new friends Jaro & Vivian, completed segment 1, from Scott's Head (the trail's 'most southerly point) to Soufriere.

photo taken from summit of Scott's Head

Jaro descending Scott's Head

down there .... that's the summit of Scott's Head!
(... and the trail still went UP from here...)

Did our legs and lungs get a workout! The trail went up, up, up...

Gil getting younger 

Jaro crafting a tool (forked branch) for harvesting grapefruits and guava

Just when we felt we had enough, we reached....

no short cuts on this trail

land saved by the mango tree

...obstacles #$@%&*! .... a trail detour.... as if the trail wasn't already arduous and long enough....

trail detour,  assisted by ropes

We reached the summit of Morne Crabier, which is a plateau; where back in the 18th century there were coffee plantations, some ruins of which still stand today.

On the descent, we came across something smoldering....

making charcoal

Charcoal was being made from the hardwood found in these mountains.

the finished product

Still further down, we came across signs of the Canadian winter - poinsettas!

poinsetta tree

When we reached Soufriere at the finish of 'segment 1' of the WNT trail, we could not pass by the Soufriere Sulphur Springs. Our aching calfs needed the therapy they beckoned. They were just what we needed... a series of pools, progressively warmer/cooler... to soothe away the aches. 

I did not know this, but Dominica has the highest concentration of live volcanoes anywhere on earth. There are nine live volcanic centres within an area of less than 300 square miles. Dominica sits on the edge of a subduction zone....

more UP to get to the sulphur springs

We felt quite rejuvenated after our long soak in these spring pools. We chose then to walk into the town of Soufriere and explore a little. They have a beautiful little church situated on "Bubble Beach."

Bubble Beach is aptly named as here hot water bubbles to the surface. The locals have created their own  natural hot tub on this beach. It was far too hot for any of us, and it is just too weird to walk on its' hot sand!

a natural hot tub enclosed by rocks

We stayed in Soufriere and enjoyed some local BBQ'd chicken and Kubuli beer, before catching a bus back to Rosseau and our boats. Though we'd had a full day, it wasn't over yet....

Back at the dinghy dock, the swells were creating havoc. The dinghies were bouncing against each other and the dock. It was a challenge getting in without going overboard. We were just clear of the dock, when we heard Jaro calling us. As he was clearing the dock, a line caught in his outboard's prop, and he needed a tow! I seem to enjoy these moments of drama. Jaro and Vivian seemed to enjoy it too...

free riders

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