Months ago when my parents visited us in Martinique we spent one day “just driving”. Seriously we rented a 9 passenger van and just pointed it north and decided to drive until the road ran out. Since we were on an “adventure” we continued driving WAY too long and should have turned around multiple times. However, as happens, sometimes you just get so invested that you think “We have come this far, lets just keep going”. Most of the times that really doesn’t work out well. However, in this instance we struck gold. We ended up on this insane switchback mountain road that a passenger van had no business trying to traverse. No bullshit, we had that van climbing a %20 grade while the vegetation was dragging along the roof and we had backup multiple times to let other traffic pass. At the end of this crazy winding, pot hole mountain road was a….. small parking lot… LOL, yup a parking lot.. It wasn’t just any parking lot though. It was probably the most amazing parking lot I have ever seen. A parking lot at the base of a mountain, surrounded by jungle, with a small stream running next to it. Upon getting out of the van I discovered that this parking lot was the last stop for vehicles and beyond this point was purely hiking. Actually a 601M vertical hike to a waterfall. Of course a quick discussion was tabled around the van as to continuing on foot. Multiple factors shot that down and we decided to turn the van around (it wasn’t a boat, and we run a democracy on land. The consensus was we were on a driving tour and completely unprepared for a hike.) .
Dammit, if that didn’t leave an itch under my skin. I silently swore that if I got the chance I would come back to Martinique and see what is at the end of that hike. I don’t always get to follow through on my itches, but today I just couldn’t leave this one un-scratched. Early in the morning I called ROAM and invited them to follow our itch scratching plans. After some contemplation they thought it was a good idea and agreed to follow us north. So after a late start and a MUCH LONGER drive than I remembered we arrive at said “parking lot” and set out on a hiking adventure.
Here we stand at the start of the trail. Sigh, the sign clearly said we should have gone right… but somehow we headed left across the river. We walked for 10 minutes before realizing our mistake and turning back.
Alright.. We are now on the right track. A few meters in we came across this giant tree that Quincy stood next to. I want you to remember this tree as I will reference it later.
As we continued though the jungle there were small waterfalls everywhere.
A very typical jungle hike. Some climbing around roots, rocks and rivers.
About 1/3 into the hike we came across this MASSIVE landslide. The camera really struggles to show the scale of this slide. Now here is where you should scroll back to the tree picture. That tree at the left of the picture is about 1/2 the size of the one Quincy is standing next to. The “skinny” tree on the right side of the image is MUCH bigger than you think. 2 grown people could not put their hands around it. That skinny tree stands on this side of the river and the other tree is on the other side of the river.
Oh we made it.. Pretty crappy waterfall, but whatever the kids are enjoying it.. NOPE, some hikers appeared out of the trees and told us we were only half way. At least the kids cooled down before we continued UP.
35 minutes more of hiking and we get our first glimpse of the real falls. This picture also does no justice to the scale. This fall was about 10 stories high. Every hiker that rounded the corner and caught this glimpse fell speechless or had a hitched breath. This was a stunning sight in real life.
The scale and beauty begins to take shape in this image. Here we capture about %10 of the height.
Just over the rise was a stunning wading pool that the falls spilled into. The kids wasted NO TIME getting the first pelting. My chubby ass was right behind. (gross fact, my shirt is not wet from the falls yet.. Ahh cruising is so sexy).
Back in St. Lucia, our friend Stephan talked about standing under the falls and feeling the spirit of the mountain. I’m not a very spiritual person.. but I can say, this was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Another, “I found what I came looking for moments”.
I wasn’t the only one to have a moment under the falls. I tried REALLY hard to show the scale of the falls. Unfortunately I just could get it all into one shot.
Here is a shot all the way to the top. Unfortunately without something for scale, its impossible to really appreciate how high that was.
Maybe this rock will help with scale. These 2 climbed on this boulder that fell from above.
So, what did the kids think.. Well Quincy said “Thank you for taking us here. This is one of the coolest things we have seen!”.
Jonah didn’t have much to say, but climbed all the rocks with his friends on ROAM. However, as is Jonah style he was the first one in the waters and under the pelting falls.
Daphanie felt that this was a moment to write. After her time under the falls she found this spot atop a rock (about 15ft in the air) and pulled her journal out. I have no idea what she wrote, but she only lifted her head in 10 minutes for this picture.