Location: Roseau, Dominica
Our half-awake crew piled into a taxi van at eight this misty Sunday morning. The yawning soon stopped once everyone got a glimpse of the hills the driver started taking upon leaving town. Whistling island tunes against the noise of his chugging engine, and beeping his horn to the beat to warn other drivers around blind corners, we eventually reached the misty trail head. Pancho, our guide, lead the way into Dominica’s dense jungle-like forest along water systems that sustain the entirety of this island. Blazing through mucky trails and steep rocky steps, our crew finally reached a gorge carved away from the side of a mountain from which sulfuric gasses escape from beneath the earth. We could see as they bubbled in little streams and vented through porous rocks. Pancho produced from his tiny backpack enough eggs to boil in the scalding water for everyone to enjoy. As we, now covered in sulfur-mud face paint, descended further into a valley, our guide led us to a warm river. Though not technically a Jacuzzi, it was close enough to revive the sore and tired hikers. Little pools and deep waterfall pits made it quite a memorable part of the trip, and for some it was far too short. However, once back on the trail we soon came to our destination. Covered by a thick cloud of steam, the giant bubbling blue lake could only be seen when a gust of wind curled through from atop a nearby hill. Pancho explained that the boiling lake was over one hundred degrees Celsius, and warned us not to sit too close while we unpacked our goldfish and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The hike was certainly my favorite day of the trip so far. Such a rich and colorful day can’t be matched by pictures or words alone, but it will be a part that will be unforgettable for the entire crew.