Friday, December 12, 2008
We Survived the Sorceress.
Surviving the Sorceress Mountain....
There is an old myth that whoever attempts to climb the "Sorceress mountain" aka La Sorciere, in Patois, would never come back. Their spirits would be taken by the sorceress, who lives at the top of the mountain, and their bodies would never been seen again. Apparently, there are men who have climbed the mountain and were never heard from again. We were told this only while hiking the fourth tallest peak on St. Lucia and never once before the hike. Luckily, I am not superstitious when it comes to myths like this one. Hiking in broad daylight up a mountain that is smaller than most trails we have in Washington is not exactly the most mortifying experience. However, I did see flashes of Blair Witch repeating in my mind at times during the hike.
We began hiking through the rainforest on the backside of Babonneau. We were dropped off by the van near a water container with a set of steep stairs. As we climbed the stairs, we were second guessing our decision, as many of us were tired from the longevity of the week. Regardless, we knew we were going to have a great day ahead of us and pushed on strongly. The rainforest trail was plush and green, nowhere near bare or unsightful. I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh smell of the forestry that we passed through and embraced every moment of the scenery. Though there were only few openings to a view, the scenery was refreshingly beautiful. Green, green, everywhere and not a spot of city life.
As the trail we went on disapated into greenery, we slowly began to make our own pathway. We continued through the rainforest until we reached the path to Louvert beach. We decided a little late to hike the La Sorciere, as we had passed it more than a mile back. However, we decided to reverse our steps and hike up the mountain before heading to Louvert. As we climbed up the steep mountain, we were in charge of creating our own way. There was no trail and we found ourselves bushwhacking most of the way upwards. We relied on marking the trees for rememberance of our path back and, fortunately, we actually used them upon the return. We bushwhacked through vines and razor grass as we climbed up boulders and slippery slopes.
Razor grass was all through out the hike; however, when you are climbing upward it tends to get you more most often. This is one thing I will never understand. Razor grass, for those unaware of what it is exactly, is a type of grass that grabs you and slices you just like a bad paper cut. At first there is slim to no pain. The next moment that you know it, you are in irritating, stinging pain with a slight, long red mark in evidence that you are freshly a victim.
As we reached the top of the mountain a few hours later, we became aware that we will not surrender to the sorceress. In fact, not only would we not surrender, but we were going to make it back down; indefinitely. Perhaps the sorceress sleeps during the day and we were lucky. I guess we will never know where she was that day that she let us slip through her fingers. The way down proved to be harder than the way up due to the enormous boulders that stood in our way. I was fortunate enough to be carrying a walking stick with me that allowed me to move from boulder to boulder faster than usual. Though, I wouldn't say this was an easy task for a short person like me. The more challenging the better when it comes to hikes though!
After returning to the base of La Sorciere, we moved on to Louvert beach. Louvert is on the backside of Babboneau. The Atlantic ocean is in control of the water at this point. It was a rather clear day when we reached Louvert, yet the waves were rough and out of control. I can understand why it is that no one swims in this water, as the current is much too fierce. The sight of the waves crashing down on each other was an amazing sight!
Along the way, we stopped in at a little abandoned park office nearby. There were pictures and objects that made it appear that someone was living there but we saw no one. Perhaps this is where the sorceress remains when we do not see her. Lenin tried to bobby pin his way into every room, and he actually succeeded. I was waiting for someone to pop out every time the door swung open but, alas, it did not happen.
After spending a few hours at Louvert, sightseeing, meditating and drinking and eating fresh coconuts, we moved on our way.
After about 2 hours of hiking back we still had another 2+ hours to go and it was getting dark. We continued hurriedly along our way back to Babbonneau centre and we eventually made it after dark nearing 830 pm! We were all dirty and tired, but we were feeling good. There is nothing quite like spending the day tiring ourselves out from a long hike in the rainforest!
We found a beautiful crab along the way that had colors that enveloped us for at least 10 minutes. The crab was shy for the first five, but finally allowed me to take the portrait.
On the way back home, I managed to snap a few of my favorite photos. One of two butterflies mating for a long time. I expected them to move away from each other when I came closer and closer to them to take a picture. However, they were so involved that they did not move away from each other at all. Rather, they continued to mate and I continued to stare in awe. There is something so beautiful about the process of butterflies mating that I just cannot describe in words. They are distinct and focused. They have one partner for their lives and live to mate with that partner. I can only admire this mating ritual and hope that humanity can one day mirror this lifestyle. Apparently, St. Lucians have a long way to go in the faithfulness department.