Location: St. Vincent

We started off this morning with an earlier-than-normal wake-up, but with good reason – we needed to get to the northern part of the island to be able to hike to La Soufriere, an active volcano (last erupted in 1979) and the highest peak on the island of St. Vincent. Everyone was excited and got ready super quickly – we made it to shore just after seven and jumped into two large taxis to head north.I loved the drive, as we got to go through several small towns, past some fields of coconut trees (my favorite), and hugged the beautiful coast for most of the ride.

The hike was awesome; this is probably my favorite hike we do on the trip and one of my favorite hikes I have ever done. I love how, as we hike, we go through such different habitats and terrains. We started out hiking past clusters of huge bamboo, then through lush rainforest, listening to the sounds of birds along the way. Next was through the palm brake, with big umbrella-like palms and ferns along the way. We took a break on the rocks in a dry river bed to munch on some trail mix and drew some war paint (colored zinc sunscreen) on each other’s faces. Eventually, we hit the trail again and made it up through the tree line into the elfin woodland (yes, that is the official term), which also happened to coincide with coming up into the clouds that form at the peak. During the last 15 minutes of the climb, we felt like we were in another world, with beautiful flowered low-lying plants growing between the rocks and dirt, and a fog coming in and out so sometimes you would only see the outlines of your fellow hikers. We finally reached the top, and everyone was in awe at the view down into the crater, which is huge, green, and just plain amazing. We just hung out and enjoyed the scenery (and our sandwiches) for a while, then headed back down for the return hike down, picking up some litter on the way.

Back on board, we enjoyed cleaning up and cooling off with our traditional jump-in showers and did a bit of passage prep to get ourselves ready for our morning sail to St. Lucia tomorrow. Finishing up the night tonight will be a review for the oceanography midterm, in the style of the game catchphrase, then an early night for most after a long but awesome day.