The highlight of our stay in Dominica
last April was the hike to Boiling Lake. This hike is a must for any serious hiker visiting Dominica. Boiling Lake could arguably be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and getting there (and down) made for a gorgeous, adventuresome, arduous day filled with hot clay/pumice facials, hot spring soaks, freshly boiled eggs – in the hot spring river! – and waterfalls galore.
There’s so much more to explore on Dominica, we’ll definitely be back. For example, Dominica is home to the Caribbean’s first long distance trail, the Waitukubuli National Trail, which passes through the Carib (Kalinago) Territory (home to indigenous peoples and the UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Morne Trois Pitons National Park that encompasses Boiling Lake. Composed of 14 sections, the trail runs 115 miles south-north, bisecting the length of the island. Yes, please!!
We started out in a lush (an understatement) rainforest.
We felt small next to this buttress-root tree.
When in the jungle…
…play like a monkey!!
Breaking out of the rainforest, we began to see the shapes of the multiple craters. Look closely and you can see the trail zigzagging up the crater’s crest.
Wind and light rain at the top of the crest.
To get to Boiling Lake, one must summit several crater lips. Hey.. wait for me!!
Mark slipped and fell full force on one of the rocks. Luckily, he landed on his butt cheek and not his tail bone. Here, he is having a quiet conversation with the rock.
Looking down into one of the craters.
Sea Cat, our local guide (who does this hike about 100 times each year), is also the local aesthetician.
Mark got in on the action as well.
Up and over one more crater lip.
…and we arrive at Boiling Lake. The world’s largest boiling lake – visible below us if you look closely, it appears like a cauldron of bubbling grayish-blue water that is usually enveloped in a cloud of vapor. The Boiling Lake is actually a flooded fumarole, a crack through which gases escape from the molten lava below, rather than a volcanic crater. It is 200 ft across and its present depth is unknown. The sides of the lake are a mixture of clay, pumice and small stones. The natural basin of Boiling Lake collects the rainfall from the surrounding hills and from two small streams. The water seeps through the porous bottom to the hot lava below where it is trapped and heated to boiling point. This is probably the most spectacular trail in Dominica.
The trek down the backside is well maintained, but slippery because of all the steam and clouds.
Shauna and Jake find a natural hottub.
….complete with a waterfall.
Uh oh…..only one way to get to a 2nd hot spring pool.
Shauna embarks on a climb up the waterfall…..
….finds a foothold……
….on her way……
….and arrives at the top.
A view from the top of one of the peaks. Dominica is truly one of the most unique and beautiful places we’ve ever hiked.