Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dominica's Waitukubuli National Trail

Dominica has invested in a very interesting system of hiking trails, the Waitukubuli National Trail (  The island is very mountainous, and has outstanding natural beauty.  The Waitukubuli Trail allows people to access much more of this beauty than would otherwise be possible.

There are 14 trail segments, and they explore the coastal areas as well as the interior.  Each segment has a different mix of rainforest, active agricultural areas, villages and coastal pathways.  We hiked two segments in 2012, and just finished hiking a third segment (Segment 12) in 2013.

The trails are very well marked, but we have always hired a professional guide to go with us.  It is very helpful to have someone along who knows what kind of terrain is coming up, plus we get to learn something about local culture.  On this year's hike our guide was Clive.  He is a certified hiking guide, but makes his main living as a farmer and a forester.  This was a great background for our trek, since we passed through forests and farms.  We had lots of questions about exactly how things were grown, and Clive knew all the answers.

Segment 12 was the most physically challenging of those we have experienced.  The website says it is six miles long, and requires a total of 1,750 feet of climbing.  Based on how long it took us (5 hours), I suspect the actual distance was well over six miles.  We certainly averaged well over a mile per hour, despite taking a few rest stops.  The trail was quite challenging, with some places having difficult footing on steep inclines. Needless to say, we were very tired at the end of the walk!

Here are a few photos we took along the way:

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