I’m sweating at a standstill, slinking into the shady corners of Detour, still determining which combination of open hatches and portholes will create the best downdraft to suck inside any hint of a breeze. “You don’t have any fans!?!” our friend, Bill, frequently observes, “How do you stand it?” At Antigua, we’ve had no other choice but to adapt to the dry heat. I wake early for morning hikes, Brian dives during the mid-day sun; certainly it’s not worth griping. As a bonus, I’ve much less laundry as our wardrobe dwindles because it’s just too hot for wearing clothes (I’ve switched to hand washing, by the way, it’s WAY too expensive to pay for laundry in Antigua).
For a moment of respite from stifling Antigua, my mind wanders back into the canopied rain forests of Dominica where any trail offered a refreshing dip through a cool stream. At Dominica we went in search of a very popular hot spot, the Boiling Lake at the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
Dominica’s Boiling Lake is the second largest in the world; the largest is located in New Zealand (thanks, Wikipedia!). The Boiling Lake is a flooded fumarole; water temperature has been measured to range from 180F to 197F (82C to 92C). We had to see this for ourselves, a lake that actually boils simply didn’t seem possible. The 8-mile (13km) trail to the lake was not for the faint of heart! This trail was a demanding, fascinating venture; stepping up, up, up to hike across the ridge only to descend via a ravine into the Valley of Desolation.
The trail continues directly overtop a volcanic area of steaming sulfur springs, the Valley of Desolation. Water in these streams is HOT! The earth throughout the valley is gurgling, bubbling, steaming as heat escapes from below.
We traversed a warm, grey stream several times, then up another ridge to leave the valley. Finally, we’d located the Boiling Lake, rolling tumultuously beneath a cloud of steam. It was truly a sight that needs to be seen to be believed!
Back down the trail with throbbing muscles and expectations met, the day’s end couldn’t have been more perfect! A local vendor had ice, cold Caribs awaiting us in his cooler. Brian, Patti, and Bill took a refreshing swim in the Titou Gorge. Ahhhh, Dominica!