Ever since arriving on the island of Dominica, I've gazed at the tall, rugged mountain behind our village. I've wondered what it would be like to hike to the top. I knew that if I ever got the chance to achieve this goal, I would always gaze up at that mountain with a new perspective of having conquered it.
Being from West Virginia, I had done some hiking up and down our hills over the course of my lifetime. During my pre-service training on the island of St. Lucia last summer, my class of Peace Corps Volunteers spent a Sunday hiking up Gros Piton, a huge mountain on that island (click here to read that story).
Gros Piton was a very challenging climb, but it is a major St. Lucia tourist attraction, with a well-maintained trail to the top. There is no well-defined trail to the top of our mountain. I knew I could not do it alone, but during a conversation with one of the men in the village, he said he would take me up there. He also told me about how there used to be a television transmitter tower on top of the mountain, which I thought would be interesting to see (the picture below shows me at the pinnacle, standing next to the small concrete block building that had been built at the base of the tower).
Most of the hike was under the canopy of the forest, limiting the ability to take good pictures of the amazing scenery we were seeing. However, at one point there was a clearing where I snapped this photo, looking down the coastline. This altitude lets one see much further down the coast than normal. Some of you may recognize (near the lower right center of the picture) the gray rocky point jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean that we call “Lion's Back” because it looks similar to the back end of a sitting lion, with the green trees filling in the lion's mane.