Location: Dominica

Early this morning, after a 6 am breakfast, the crew met Poncho, our guide, ashore to set out to the trail. We made a quick stop in town, where Poncho bought us all fresh mangoes and homemade bread for our long trek. All squeezed into the taxi, packed and excited. We started the hour-long journey through the hills of Dominica. At one point, the hill was so steep that the taxi driver asked us all to jump out so that he could get the van up the hill. The hike is through a plush rainforest, including the rain! The start of the hike was fairly easy, but once we hit the hill, it was really steep. Winded, we stopped for some fresh fruit at the peak called Shark’s Tooth. It was a beautiful view and really windy. After everyone had a rest, Poncho led our descent into the Valley of Desolation. There were tons of red rocks, and the stream running through smelled strongly of sulfur. Poncho found some mud, which we all put on our faces like a spa mask. We continued our path to the Boiling Lake but made a small detour at the hot sulfur springs. The springs were gorgeous, looking like the set of a movie. We spent a while soaking in the warm water and relaxing a bit. When we got out, we ate some of the codfish and cucumber salad that Poncho had brought us with our fresh bread. It was so delicious! After another 15-20 minutes of hiking, we finally reached our destination, the only boiling lake in the world. It was so cool seeing the water boil and the stream rolling off. Our return back seemed much quicker but much muddier. By the time we reached the end of the trail, we were muddy, sweaty, and a little shaky, but a surprise waited for us: a nice, cold, refreshing swim in freshwater. The swim was through a small canyon with a waterfall at the end. This waterfall was the location of one of the scenes in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ The day was long and tiring but my favorite so far. Dominica is so beautiful, and the hike was very rewarding. andlt;br /andgt;andlt;br/andgt;andlt;