Saturday, January 26

A hike to remember

When one thinks of a hike, or at least when I think of a hike, I think of a mountain with a defined dirt trail meandering through tall trees and valleys of wild flowers leading to a lake or a fort or something.  Usually one would encounter a small stream or two and be able to view the world from high atop a beautiful vista. 
On January 1st, once we had a nap and did a little housekeeping after our passage to Guadeloupe, we decided to take a hike that was recommended in our “Top 10 best hikes in the Caribbean”.  It said it was a great hike up the Deshaies (Day-ay) River to a waterfall.  Sounds great, right?  And we didn't have to speak french to anyone!  We set out after lunch first walking along a dirt road next to the river.  

The dinghy dock is just beyond the bridge

The start of the hike is across the street

Greeted by a curious cow 

Soon, the trail disappeared and we were wading in the river.  No problem, that's how the guidebook described it, so we kept going.  The kids really enjoyed climbing over the boulders and walking in the ankle deep, cold running water.  The lush green, low lying vegetation was broken up by dense tall native trees with vines dangling down.  As we crawled over boulders, we traversed back and forth across the river depending on which side was easier to negotiate.

The kids happy to be blazing a trail up the river of boulders

Very tall palm trees

Reese getting help over a tree across the river

Some interesting fungi on a fallen tree

More lush forest

Figuring out which rock to step on was half the fun

We came upon an entire colony of (large) ants carrying leaves up the mountain to their home 

Up the river we continued, as the boulders began to get larger and slick with green moss, we began to wonder if this was a good idea.  Reese said somewhere along the way that her mom, Erica, wasn't allowed to pick out the hikes anymore.  I couldn't let Erica take all the blame, so I confessed that it was my idea too.  Reese promptly responded that I wasn't allowed to pick out the future hikes either!   If it weren't for the landmarks pictured in the guidebook, we might have thought we weren't going in the right direction.  How hard could it be to follow the river?  About the time that we were questioning if we should keep going because kids and adults alike were slipping, sliding, getting multiple cuts, scratches and bruises all around, the river and boulders mellowed out.  Making it only slightly easier to convince the youngest crew members to keep going.

Ginger Lilly's everywhere

Cascading water

The whole time we were climbing, wading, balancing and traversing we kept the waterfall at the end of the trail as our goal and dangling carrot for the kids.  However, there was a chain across the river with a sign of no admittance once we got close to where the waterfall might be.  We were a little defeated but secretly happy to walk the short path to the road that would lead us down the mountain.  Although we missed the waterfall, we were pleased with our accomplishment just the same.  We were high atop the mountain and never realized how much climbing we actually did until we saw the view!  

Looking west at the Caribbean Sea

The walk down (on a paved road) was just as amazing as the hike up the river.  We came upon fields of cows and these beautiful trees with buttressed roots.

And a cemetery 

Back at the boat enjoying the cool breeze from a squall as the sun goes down

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