Monday, August 1, 2011

Mt. Mount Liamuiga Crater Hike

Oy, our aching legs. Ibuprofen is our friend. The first time we came to St. Kitts via Jacumba still heading down the island chain, we hiked the volcano crater with a guide (and some very ill-prepared Marriott guests). It was raining, cold, and very cloudy at the top, so we needed a re-do. Our hashing pal, Thorne, is trying to lose some weight so invited fellow hashers, Steve and Heather (her hashing pooches Moxy and Drew), and Michael & me to go with him for company. We rarely turn down a hike, so headed out at a reasonable 8am.

We had great weather this time, with a little rain that never made it through the rain-forest canopy and only slightly muddy trails. It really couldn't have been more perfect. A couple of trail shots.

About 20 minutes in is a water pipe with a little hole, plugged by a little twig. Pull the twig and take a drink. Michael went to take his turn and almost got an added ingredient of dog drool when Moxy came and and demanded her share.

I love the cool trees along the way. Can you see Michael inside the one? If you beat on these trees with a stick, it sounds very tribal (Injuns!). I just know I appreciated the roots, which are perfect for handholds and stopping free-falls.

The trees are also good for Michael's tarzan act. Or was it George of the Jungle - "Watch out for that......"

It got a bit steep at the end, but we were allllllmoooost there.

And then we were there! It probably took us an hour to get to the top. Once there, you can hike a bit more to the right and climb up some ropes (!) to get over the boulders so you can check out the sea.

The lake.

or more mountains.

It was really beautiful. We could definitely smell sulfur, but didn't actually see any steam vents this time around. We then scrambled back down and around to the left where we got a different angle. The mist kept moving, creeping, and doing spooky fog-like stuff so it was ever-changing up there. A bit chilly too.

A pop of color.

Group shot!

I was up there too!

And then it was back down.

There are a ton of mango trees near the bottom (and millions of fruit flies to go with them), so that meant monkeys. Moxy tried to get them, but they ran up in the tree and threw mangoes at her. Take that! The entire trip took us about 3 hours as we goofed around at the top for a good while. We then went to a rum shop we never would have stopped at if Heather hadn't known the proprietors. There are times a beer tastes really good, and these almost frozen ones most definitely fit that bill. Check out the house next door taking advantage of the free bottles available from the shop.

Yep, that was an awesome hike. Believe it or not Thorne is thinking about doing the trek several times/week. Have fun!

You'll remember that we did the other side of the volcano last year to "The Peak." That one was much harder (and scarier), so it was cool to have an easier way to get the views. If you want to read about the peak hike, here you go.

As far as the still metamorphosing soon-to-be Tropical Storm Emily, we're watching but not overly worried about it. The storm seems to be heading south of us (boo for them).Those of you tracking the Invest can go to and get a good synopsis of the system. Up until now, our vortex has been holding and we've just been enjoying the occasional misting and the rainbows that come with them.

We'll keep one eye on the storm so we're not caught off-guard should it suddenly turn north, but hope to hit the beach and soothe our sore legs in the sea (remember it's a holiday). So far predictions are for winds to go up to 26mph and seas by 10-feet tomorrow. Glad we're not on a boat! Oh yeah, an update: The guys got their excavator out - yahoo!

Ok - scratch that. Despite the fact that the radar was (and still is) devoid of storms, it's pouring. We tried to ignore it and went to Sandy Bank and were rewarded with sunny skies. For twenty minutes. And then it started raining again and didn't stop. Hard, thick rain drops that were cold and painful when hitting us in the face at 25mph. It is definitely gusty out there. The seas aren't actually that big yet, last weekend's were higher, but I'm guessing that'll change. There's lots of bright orange seaweed on all the beaches here - both sides (sea and ocean).

A small cliff of seaweed (cushy to walk on).

Of course, there was lots of plastic brought in, from buckets to bottles, and I couldn't help but pick them up. There was even an entire garbage bag full of Styrofoam containers washed up. Here was something interesting though. We, and I'm sure you, read eons ago, that you should cut up plastic soda/beer holders so that turtles didn't eat them or get tangled in them. I"m not sure we actually believed they were ending up in the ocean though. Of course, we did and still do cut them up regularly, it's not like it really takes any effort and today we were proven right. They do get dumped in the ocean and they do end up on beaches. We know that turtles of all sizes frequent this beach, so we picked up this thing and will continue cutting our soda things (when we have them).

So I guess today will be a wash. It looks like our shield is faltering. The air is clearly unsettled, so we're not even going to try to fight it. Maybe we'll take a few trips out to see if anything new is happening out there though.