Sunday, November 24 - Gros Piton and New Jerusalem Hot Springs
Another splendid day in Saint Lucia!
We woke up to an alarm at 6:30 AST, and began throwing our belongings together so that we’d be ready to bounce out when we returned in the evening.
After a quick breakfast, we headed up north again. This time our eyes were set on hiking Gros Piton.
We arrived at the Village of the Free People, and paid our $250 EC entry. The government requires this of any foreign hiker, along with a guide. Our guide’s name was Quincy. He didn’t talk much. Sometimes he’d let us go ahead for a bit and we wouldn’t see him for a while. That was all fine for us!
The hike was pretty difficult. The path was very rocky. You rarely stepped on dirt, just rocks or steps constructed of sticks supporting the earth.
The hike is done in four quarters, by distance. At the first stop, you have a nice view of Anse L’Ivrogne and Choiseul. At the second stop, you have a view back at Petit Piton, and you can even see the stretch of land by Anse Chastanet where La Batterie and the Treehouses are (our third and final AirBnB).
Between the second and third stops, the terrain gets harder. The path doesn’t make wide zig zags like most trails I’ve done, but just kinda goes straight up the mountain while going around trees.
The third stop is called the point of no return. If you’ve made it this far, you may as well go all the way. Of course, we were ready to reach the summit! There was really no view here.
It was a tough climb, but after some odd 2 hours and 15 minutes, we made it to the top! This was by far the most comprehensive view we had so far. You could see Vieux Fort in its entirety, Martinique (the country north of Saint Lucia) in the distance to our north, Mount Gimie (whose summit always appears to be in the clouds), the bald side of the collapsed volcano, and Saint Vincent in the distance to our south. I was drenched in sweat, and I took off my shirt and rung it out and there was SO much sweat in it!
A few dogs were hanging out at the peak. Stray dogs are all over the island. All of them have been friendly so far.
After enjoying some miniature bananas from Asa and some peanut butter, we began our descent. It seemed like it took forever, even longer than the ascent. Since it’s not a loop trail, we had seen it all before, too.
Finally, we arrived back at the Village of the Free People, where we picked up some mango and avocado homemade ice cream. How could we not?
We hopped in the Jimny (after taking pictures of a Toyota Altezza) and headed through Soufriere, heading east into the rainforest to the New Jerusalem hot springs. Ruby recorded some of the journey, just to get a feel for what the roads are like.
Upon reaching the hot springs, we parked behind an older 4WD Kia Sportage. We began our way in and some tubby kid approached us from the adjacent house and said he’d be our tour guide.
I could tell pretty quickly that I didn’t like this, but wasn’t totally sure whether having a guide or not was standard. He led us down the path and pointed out what was already obvious to us, like where to pay our $4 USD admission, or where the baths were. He pointed to bamboo. “Do you know what this is?” “It’s…bamboo…” “Yes.”
We paid our admission, got changed, and went into the pools. He kinda followed us around on and off, and asked us if we were enjoying ourselves and such, and made me nervous when he would sit next to our belongings. I ignored many of the things he said or asked, trying to give him the hint. Eventually, he asked for a tip for being our guide, and I had to break it to him that we really didn’t need or want a guide. Eventually he went away. I felt a little bad for that, but we really didn’t want to financially support someone to annoy tourists.
This all made us think back to our conversation with Asa about the rising tourism industry’s effect on Saint Lucia. Some young people are lazily trying to profit off if it without providing any real service.
The “tour guide” kid (I never even got his name) told us he likes making stuff, presumably out of wood. Why not follow that passion? Why not demonstrate to tourists how creative and rich your country’s culture is instead of being a leech? At any rate…
The pools were great! The upper pool was fed with hot water from the springs, the middle pool was fed with water from the upper pool and some supplementary hot water, and the lower pool was fed with the middle pool’s water and some cold water. Ruby and I both agreed that all of them felt pretty good! The hottest pool was slightly cooler than your typical hot tub, which meant it was much cooler than the sulfur springs from the day before (which is good).
We left and headed south to the Balenbouche Estate to pick up everything we left in the room and our laundry. Verena gave us hugs as we departed from Balenbouche to go north to our final AirBnB, the Treehouse Hideaway I.
I put another $20 USD in the tank in Soufriere. While I was inside to pay, that same moron that offered to protect our car on day 2 made smalltalk with Ruby.
We arrived at the Treehouse, just across the street from La Batterie. Wow! This one is perfect. Definitively the best one yet. It’s small, but the perfect size for two people. It’s very open, but felt much cleaner than the Waterlilly cottage, and since we had already stayed up here, we were much less bothered by the possibility of giant spiders eating us alive.
The entryway leads into an open room with a ceiling fan, that serves as a hub for the house. The bedroom features a large 4 post bed with a mosquito net, great storage, a TV, and even a mini split HVAC unit! The doors that keep us in are handcarved by Mr. Uptight (a local woodworker on the island).
The bathroom has a neat mirror on it with lights in it. It’s actually pretty great at night. It also turns out a big 1 ft. x 1 ft. shower head is pretty sweet.
The kitchen is well featured with an oven with a stove top, a toaster, a microwave, a Bluetooth speaker, and even a filtered water cooler! The window to the kitchen opens up to give a view of the water. As the sun was setting, Ruby said “there’s nothing better than watching a sunset from my kitchen”. I took this as a challenge, and took off my shirt, picked up a kitten that was roaming around our house, and stood on the balcony outside the kitchen in front of the sunset. Beat that.
Outside, we have a little private “plunge pool”.
Both Terry and BK have greeted us from La Batterie, which was right across the street from our balcony. Terry brought us more grapefruit. What a guy!
While I wrote, Ruby prepared our delicious sausage and pasta dinner while listening to her admittedly great Christian music playlist. It was delicious, and the rat we saw climbing the tree didn’t change that.
Afterwards, we snuggled up and watched the rest of Stranger Things season 1 on Netflix, safe in our bedroom with the AC set to 21°C.
- Day 1: Monday, November 18 - Traveling to Saint Lucia
- Day 2: Tuesday, November 19 - Enjoying La Batterie and Some Light Exploration
- Day 3: Wednesday, November 20 - Rainforest Hike with Terry
- Day 4: Thursday, November 21 - Choiseul, Font Deux Plantation, and the Balenbouche Estate
- Day 5: Friday, November 22 - Grocery Shopping, Tet Paul Trail, Volcano Sulfur Baths, Diamond Botanical Garden
- Day 6: Saturday, November 23 - Anse Ivrogne and Asa’s Nature Trail & Parrot Watching
- Day 7: Sunday, November 24 - Gros Piton and New Jerusalem Hot Springs
- Day 8: Monday, November 25 - Castries & Sandals Adventure
- Day 9: Tuesday, November 26 - Snorkeling and Board Games
- Day 10: Wednesday, November 27 - La Maison Creole and Flying Home