Our taxi picked us up at 7am sharp. We were equipped with sun cream, enough water to fill a small river, hats, bananas, energy bars and cameras! We had spoken to many of the locals about our hike and their advice was; “Go early before the sun gets too hot!”. Unfortunately, it took us 2.5 hours instead of 1 hour (due to an accident), during this time we scarily watched the car thermometer rise from 22°C to 30°C.
As soon as we arrived, we had to sign a disclaimer; letting us know severe injury (broken bones) or death may occur! One man even had a heart attack while he was climbing the mountain. Of course, I felt very safe at this point #not
We immediately started our hike but I was a bit confused why our taxi driver was following us. Oh yes, thats right, hes coming with us! Like it was just a casual walk in the park, he climbed with us in his formal trousers and a vest underneath his shirt (as it was cold for him!)
During our slow ascent through the layers of the mountain – forest floor, understory, canopy, emergent layer – our guide educated us on the plant, tree, and wildlife species native to St. Lucia. Some of the ones we spotted included heliconia and giant ferns.
It was an absolutely beautiful sunny afternoon, perfect for a day outdoors…
The mountain was so alive. We could hear the insects moving around in the trees, though there werent as many as we thought because they ‘smoke’ the mountain every so often to get rid of the pesky mosquitos.
There are 2 mountains in St Lucia; Gros Piton and Petit Piton. They are next to each other. We were climbing Gros Piton and was able to see Petit Piton from the halfway point.
We were glad most of the hike was shaded, the mountain is overwhelmed by trees and furna.
Although climbing up the mountain was hard, (we would liken it to doing constant lunges for about 4 hours) going up was definitely easier for me than coming down. Rajiv was the opposite and flew down like a bird! The views are well worth the climb and it literally feels like you are on top of the world – sitting with the clouds next to you. Enjoy it while it lasts, it’s such an exhilarating feeling and you’ll be back on flat land in a flash.
Julien (our coach) looked quite fit and having not run for
quite a while, we were afraid of being put through our paces! However, not one to shy away from a run opportunity – especially one around the stunning island of St Lucia – we swiftly signed up to the Cap Maison hiking & running club. He kindly tailored his pace to suit us and thankfully there were many photo opportunities of the beautiful beaches and lush green hills, so we stopped for lots of breathers. We were greeted by a pack of howling dogs (Julien’s friends) as we arrived and did wonder what we had let ourselves in for but after sniffing us out, they happily ran with us (looking for prey) and paddled in the sea. We ran around the north east of the island including donkey beach and secret beach. We saw plenty of cacti too.
If I am lucky enough to visit St Lucia again I would like to climb Petit Piton, do a rainforest walk, go jungle biking and snorkel for more shiny colourful fishes