Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Working on those Buns of Steel

one of several switch backs on the trail
(Fresh Water Lake is below us in the background)

Yesterday, we completed the hike we abandoned a couple of days ago, both because of a late start and a memorable bus trip (story on the last blog post).

Jaro & Vivian

Along with Jaro & Vivian, a very fit French Canadian couple, we chose to go to Fresh Water Lake. The guide books described it as an easy 1 hour hike, and as Gil’s back was only recently feeling better, we did not want to push our luck with anything too strenuous. Though this lake is high, most of the climbing would be accomplished by the city bus.

The bus experience deserves mention. On our way to the bus stop, we were taken aside by the driver of another bus/route. After greeting him and chatting with him for a short while, we explained that we were walking up to the bus stop for Laudat. He then informed us that bus wasn’t leaving until 1pm (it was 10:30am), but he could take us near enough that we could hitch hike the remainder of the distance, or he could take us directly there for a taxi fare (triple the charge). Politely, we told him we’d walk the two blocks further to the Laudat bus stop; but that he might shortly see us back to take up one of his offers. That was when he presented a convincing argument about how as Canadians we knew our country; and how as a Dominican born and raised, he knew his town and country…. yada yada yada. We still chose to walk two more blocks, and guess what? There was a bus there ready to go to Laudat! We jumped aboard and were driven almost directly there, with perhaps only a couple of other stops during the 1/2hr. ride, for 5EC ($2 US) each.  Jeez.

Though Laudat is Dominica’s highest town, Fresh Water Lake was still higher. The walk there was entirely on road. We hadn’t expected that. The views were great – of the mountain peaks, the valleys, and both the Atlantic and Caribbean waters.

we climbed this far mainly by bus, but partially on foot

Fresh Water Lake, the largest of Dominica’s lakes, is over 2800’ above sea level, and lies at the center of an old volcano. It is the source of Rosseau’s water. We stopped for a look at it and a short rest.

Ahhh.... a bench!

...and a view of Fresh Water Lake

There was a trailhead near for Boeri Lake, Dominica’s highest lake. This trail was what we had expected and looked forward to – trekking through the forest on dirt and rock paths; and so we chose to continue on….

the trek UP to Boeri Lake
(this was no stairway to heaven!)

Both Fresh Water Lake and Boeri Lake are volcanic crater lakes within the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, which is a world UNESCO heritage site. The trek (it wasn’t a walk anymore) UP to Boeri Lake took us through Elfin Woodland, where the trees are stunted and the ground is often covered with moss. 

We passed by  some bamboo water pipes which channeled water from a hot source. 

bamboo water pipes channeling warm water

warm water stream

We walked along an unseen (underground? or buried below vegetation?) stream that could only be heard; and we crossed over several streams....

one of several stream crossings

 ....until finally we reached the lake. It felt so good to stop and lunch!  I was thankful for the extra food the guys gathered on the walk up – several grapefruits picked up from the side of the road J

Vivian, Jaro & Gil 

 Boeri Lake, Dominica's highest

The trek back down seemed quicker....

 I couldn't resist the temptation

Gil's back was tested, as we'd hiked farther and longer than originally planned, but it passed! We are trying to work ourselves up to doing the Boiling Lake hike, which is arduous and long. We want to see it, but are wavering about attempting it. Time will tell.

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