Driving to the South by the West shore of the Basse-Terre to the Baille-Argent. Here starts our hike to – Piton de Belle Hôtesse (777m), gîte Belle Hôtesse, Piton Gand Fond, Piton Baille Argent. This is a part of the track going by the hills across the Basse-Terre. The track is not a full loop but ends not too far from where it starts and we hope we will manage to get back to the start as well. The track starts with a rather steep but not very tough uphill segment. It is shady in the rain forest.
Then the track changes from uphill to downhill – very steep and muddy. We take it rather boldly but a few moments after Ilze founds her laying in the dirt. The mud is mainly of clay and is very slippery. So we proceed with care.
We go by ridges, sometimes uncomfortably narrow. After passing a mountain shelter the path splits into two – ours is rather overgrown. Three more uphills and three more downhills. We are getting covered with dirt. When closer to the track end we have to cross the river Baille-Argent. Somebody tries to wash shorts in the river to try to return to a decent appearance.
The last activity is to return from the track end to the start – some 3 km, narrow streets and roads in two villages, all the way uphill. Turned out to be rather long and tough walk – sort of an introduction to rain forest tracks.
Today we learned a lot. Why one needs 9 hours to walk 12 km? Because walk turns out to be wading up to ankles in a mud of clay. Perhaps one can try to go by side and find one sitting in the same dirt. When the muddy part changes then the path is overgrown with thick green cover of grass hiding beneath it the maze of slippery roots. From both sides of the path some plants all the time threaten to cut your legs, arms or any other exposed body part, or at least to glue themselves to your clouds (we spent some part of the evening tearing them of from the socks and legs). It turns out as well that a height difference 680m promised in the track description may accumulate in 1600m of cumulative height difference.
We learned as well that it may be cool and shady in a rain forest while above it the tropic sun has heated everything to the 30C. And rain does not fall on your head instantly but everything gets wet gradually 🙂
And the last (but not least) lesson – toddy is good for desinfection.