Hiking Team:  Rosie Miller, Dave Miller

Hiking Date:  June 2012

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we spent a week at a Sandals resort near Fort Rodney, St. Lucia in the south Caribbean. Hiking the famous world heritage site Pitons was our #1 goal.

THE PITONS: The Pitons are two pyramid shaped volcanic plugs or large lava domes located by the small town of Soufriere on the western coast. The Gros Piton is 2,530 feet high (90 feet higher than the Petit Piton). Scientists have recorded 148 plant species, 27 bird species and 8 rare tree species on Gros Piton.

THE HIKE: The van ride through the winding St. Lucia roads took 1 hour 45 minutes to travel 32 miles. Rosie got car sick.  The driver stopped the van, took his machete and cut a green coconut from a tree in the rain forest. He made Rosie drink the “island recipe” juice (Photo#3) and she immediately got better.  Good native medicine. The small town of Soufriere was quaint and hundreds of grade school children were cute wearing their Catholic uniforms. A small village was at the base of the Pitons. We waved and spoke to several families with cute small children (Photo#4) with big smiles. Our group consisted of two native guides and 12 hikers.

The strenuous trail up Gros Piton began at sea level and climbed all 2,600 feet. Hiking up the mountain side was very tough, steep and rocky going up. Half way up the large rocks (Photo#6) turned to a dirt trail. Hiking through the trail we were surrounded by rain forest conditions and 90 degree temperature. At 2,100 feet we saw a 300 year old mango tree. I carried a backpack with water and cliff bars. Rosie kept sharing our water and snacks with other hikers.  When we reached the top I didn’t have any water to drink as she had given mine away.  A large tarantula scampered across the trail in front of us. At the summit (Photo#7) the visibility was breathtaking. You could look east and see the island of Barbados. The two mile hike up took 2 hours and 10 minutes.  The descent was very treacherous and challenging decent along the trail but worth every ache and pain. It took 2 hours and 20 minutes to make it back down to the village. The whirlpool, the swimming pool and a few drinks back at the resort restored us.

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