Location: Roseau, Dominica

Today, we woke up bright and early to prepare for our hike to the world’s largest boiling lake. We were warned that the hike would be challenging but well worth it. We got to climb through the Dominican jungle and see the remnants of volcanic activity. The hike was 10 miles total, there and back. It started sunny with a nice breeze to cool us off from the steep sets of stairs winding through the lush green trees. The overviews of the island were spectacular and served as good motivation to push us along. Once we got to the halfway-up point, the weather took a bit of a turn. It started to rain quite a bit (liquid sunshine!! And the wind kicked up. However, we still kept going, hoping the rain would stop. We stopped by one of the boiling rivers in the valley for a snack, provided by our guide, Pancho. He first gave us cod salad sandwiches, followed by boiled eggs that were boiled right there in the boiling stream water. It was the perfect pick-me-up, and it also warmed us up a little.

At this point, it was mostly downhill towards the boiling lake. The path turned from stairs to a rocky, muddy descent. The rain still hadn’t let up, but that didn’t stop us from having tons of fun, making jokes, and occasionally slipping in the mud. After a few hours, we finally arrived at the lake. It was magnificent, despite the smell of sulfur. You don’t normally look at large bodies of water and see massive bubbles emerging from the center. The lake gave off a lovely, much-needed, warm breeze. We stayed and looked around a bit before turning around to do the whole thing in reverse. Since it had rained so much on our way up, the path looked almost completely different. Often we turned and asked each other if we were on the right path or if anyone remembered one part of the trail or another.

Eventually, we made it back to where we started. Sore calves, shaking legs, but overall happy with ourselves for proving we can do anything and have fun. Plus, we saw an amazing environment that we may never get to see again. By the time we reached the bottom, the sun had come out, and the rain stopped, giving us a moment to catch our breath and warm up. When we were sitting down thinking our adventure was over, Amy told us about a beautiful gorge with a waterfall that we could swim in. A scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed in Titou Gorge, so the die-hard fans were very excited. Even though the water was cold and the current was strong, I think we all agreed it was one of the most beautiful things we had seen all day. The narrow river cut through the mountain, leading to a huge waterfall. Overhead was a canopy of bright green trees with the sun shining through. All in all, the hike was long and challenging, but it was one of the best hikes most of us have ever done, and we’ll forever have these special memories and never forget the day we saw a boiling lake.