Location: Roseau, Dominica

Today was probably one of the most amazing days so far. In two different groups, we explored the amazing island of Dominica. Wake up this morning was at 6:45, so we could eat breakfast and be ready on the dock at 8 to start the day. One group piled in a van with Pancho and headed up the mountain into the rainforest. After traveling up steep hills and winding roads, we arrived at a trail that would take us to the largest boiling lake in the world. Our fearless leader Pancho, who hiked barefoot, guided us! From our shore time yesterday morning, the general consensus from the locals is that Pancho is crazy, and I completely understand what they mean. We reached the highest peak and got the most amazing 360-degree view of the island. Words cannot even describe the green peaks and valleys with no sign of civilization in sight. We trekked down through the Valley of Desolation and were greeted with waves of steam and a strong sulfur smell.

Pancho stopped, ruffled through his bag, and pulled out a dozen raw eggs. Who brings raw eggs hiking? Well, within 10 minutes, we were snacking on hard-boiled eggs that he cooked in the little boiling stream running next to the path. After our snack, he was on the move again and started making a concoction of clay and hot spring water. The next thing we knew, we were all covered in mud (or war paint, as we called it). Though the mud is really good for your skin, and they sell it in bottles to use as facial masks in town. We continued hiking and swam in some sulfur springs. There were small pools separated by waterfalls. We continued on toward the boiling lake, only making a pit stop to fill up our water bottles with fresh water that poured off of a leaf on the path. It was the best water I have ever had in my life! Finally, we made it to the boiling lake and had lunch looking out over the steam and at the mountains surrounding us. After lunch, we turned around and hiked all the way back. At the very end, we stopped and did some cliff jumping. We were at a gorge that was actually part of the set for one of the “Pirates of the Caribbean movies”! While we were hiking, the other group was touring the island with SeaCat. They took vans all over the island, stopping quite often to sample any and every kind of food and fruit that they could. They climbed trees to pick grapefruit, learned how to make cassava bread, sampled freshly made milk chocolate, and many more Island delicacies. They ended their day swimming in some sulfur springs and visiting two waterfalls. We were happy when they arrived back at Argo with several giant bags full of fruit. After getting cleaned up, we all made the long trek of approximately 10 feet to the dock and had a boat dinner at Drop Anchor, followed by some amazing brownies made by Britt. What a perfect end to an amazing day. I would like to make a shout-out to all my family and friends, I miss you, and I can’t wait to share all my photos and stories with you! And to all my fellow Clemson tigers, the tiger rag made the trek to the lake and successfully photobombed several pictures. Go Tigers!