13 May 2016

A Gros Piton Climb

Petite Piton with Milly. The white sand on this beach was brought in by a very sophisticated hotel development.  Lovely but it should be black.
Gros Piton.  Milly is moored between the two.  Really amazing bow and stern views to wake up to!
We are ending our St Lucian visit with a bang!  We have picked up a mooring ball that sits between the deservedly famous Pitons - Gros and Petite.  Petite is higher but smaller circumference at the bottom which means it is a sharper pinnacle. Gros is also spectacular with a slightly larger circumference.  We opted to climb the “easier” Gros which our guide promises is “not steep”.
At 6:30 a.m. the villagers were at work, readying their boats and nets to fish.

We started at 6:30 a.m. to beat the heat.  Very smart move!  If it had been any hotter, I would have ended as a puddle.  It was the most gruelling, consistently steep hike we have been on.  Two and a half hours, mostly straight up.  Boulders, roots and the occasional log step in scant shade until the top rainforest.  We were so gros with sweat that it looked like we had been for a swim - which would’ve been great.  We huffed and we puffed.
One quarter of the way up.  Already feeling it.
One half mark.  A home made bench provided a rest and a view.

Hot and gros but enjoying the exertion.

It was also one of the best hikes yet.  The view at the top was to the south over the island and the sea with St Vincent in the backgroud.  We ate mangos that our guide, Claude, had picked off the ground.  Because we had hiked so fast Claude, who climbed the whole trail BAREFOOT, took us on an additional ascent! to view the Petite Piton.  Sensational!  It appeared, majestically, through the clouds.
The southern view through the clouds.  The trees were dwarfed and grew at a windswept slant, reminiscent of the Group of Seven.

On the edge of the world - the bottom was 2,700 precipitous feet below.

Petite Piton - not so high

Down was just as hard on the legs as up but with a little less sweat and a lot less heart pounding.  By this time there were multiple groups going up, all panting and sweaty, some turning around before they reached the top.

Claude climbed a mango tree, shoeless, to fill our backpack with fresh mangos. After the four hours over rock, root, gravel, course sand, leaves, prickles, Claude had a small abrasion on one toe.  His feet must be soled in leather.  And he does the climb three times a day during the height of the season.

Our man Claude, taking us home.  A great climb!  But we're not going to do Petite.  It's decided!

We are now feeling exceptionally lazy back on Milly.  Maybe a snorkel this afternoon?  Or just a good read.

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