Out of our group of 3 only one of us made it all the way to the top of Gros Piton. However, none of us regret going on the hike. We started the hike at the village and were assigned Mervin as our guide. He gave a brief explanation of what to expect and the different resting spots and then we took off on the hike. Mervin set a very vigorous pace. I think he was trying to get us to set a record on how quickly he could get us to the top.
The first quarter of the trail is the "easy" part. It is very rough terrain that is covered with rocks and roots. So you have to pay close attention to your footing, and Mervin was basically jogging along the trail and the rest of us were struggling desperately to keep up. So it is only "easy" in comparison to the rest of the trail. Once we reached the quarter mark we were allowed to rest only long enough to take a few pictures of the view of the beach below.
The next quarter of the trail gets a little rockier and a little steeper. Still it wouldn't have been that bad except for the pace Mervin was setting. He would walk really far ahead and then wait on us to become visible and then run ahead. At the half way mark there is a bench to rest at and a great view of Petit Piton. Again we were only allowed to rest about a minute, just long enough to snap a few photos before Mervin took off again.
The last half of the hike gets even more challenging. The rocks sort of make very tall stairs that you climb up. Yes at times you are more or less crawling on all fours to climb up the rocks. It was during this stretch that two of the three decided to stop. The one person that made it to top took some photos of the amazing views and was allowed to rest a few minutes before climbing down. And no surprise Mervin basically ran down the mountain with the one person who made it to the top struggling to keep up.
The two of us that quit at the. Rested for about 5 minutes and then slowly hiked down. The hike down was really enjoyable going at our own pace. We actually started to notice the scenery and the wildlife. There were a few spots that we stopped to take pictures at that offered fantastic views that we failed to notice on the way up. There is even a small waterfall that is visible from the trail (somewhere between the start of the trail and the 1/4 mark) that we all missed on the way up. I really think all three of us could have easily made it to the top if we would have went at a little slower pace. We spent so much energy trying to keep up with Mervin's ridiculously fast pace at the beginning that there was no energy left for the end.
1. Spray yourself with insect replant and bring it along to the reapply. The mosquitoes were bad. We were glad we did this. We met one girl on the trail who probably had over 20 bites on her arms alone.
2. Set your own pace. Don't try to keep up with the guide. The guides say it is 3-4 hour hike round trip. I think for the person who is in good shape it should be more like a 4-6 hour hike.
3. Bring a snack. The hike is very physically demanding and a power bar or two helps keep your body fueled.
3. Bring lots of water. We each had 1.5 liters and ended up buying another smaller bottle from a guy that sells them at the quarter mark.
4. Bring a change of clothes. You will be soaked in sweat when you are done.
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