Exploring the Rainforest

Technically, it’s not a rainforest. Technically, it is considered highlands. This is what I remember from my natural geography class in college. Whatever the botanists call it, it still looks and feels a lot like a rainforest! There are even rumors of monkeys high in hills. We didn’t see any on our hike, but we did see a lot of butterflies and many points of interest! Come join us on our hike to Pic Paradise at Loterie Farm on the isle of Saint-Martin.

IMG_0405
You can see three countries from here: Netherlands (Sint Maarten) on the left, France (Saint-Martin) in the middle, and England (Anguilla), the long island on the right.

Loterie Farm is east of Marigot on the French side of Saint Marten. It is definitely a place you should go when visiting the island. It has a pool, a crazy zipline, dining, and (of course) hiking trails. The cost of hiking is five dollars or five euros. The money is more than worth it, I promise.

The entrance to Loterie Farm
The entrance to Loterie Farm
harnasses for ziplineing loterie farm saint martin
Harnesses for the zip-lines

I and my friends decided to take the long hike with the scenic view at the top. It took a couple hours to complete, but we were glad we did it! This hike is now on my list of favorite hikes, up there with the glacial lake in Red River Valley, Badlands, and Kenya’s Great African Rift.

We grabbed hiking sticks, consulted our map, and hit the trail.

IMG_0623

IMG_0653

The first thing that we noticed were the obstacle courses and zip-lines in the trees above us. I felt like I was walking in Tarzan’s tree house!

IMG_2996

There are several points of interest on the map. The first one we came to was the natural spring.

IMG_3006

Once we arrived at the spring, the trail began to climb steeply uphill. It was a little slippery on the mossy rocks, but the climb was worth it once we made it to Chewbacca View Point.

IMG_0643

We could see for miles from the viewpoint! Of course, most of that was just ocean water. The view gave us perspective to see how small Saint Martin really is. But what a beautiful watery wilderness the Caribbean Sea is! We could see three different territories from our lookout point. We could also see the ruins of an old fort.

IMG_0408

The next stop on our trek was the old well.

IMG_0435

IMG_0431

By this time, we were all getting a little nervous about the ant armies that covered the trails. Stacey kept us safe by spraying our shoes with OFF.

IMG_0438

Fortunately, the bugs are our biggest problem. There are no snakes on Saint Martin. European colonists imported mongooses to catch and kill the snake population.

Now we just have a mongoose problem.

Beyond the well are ruins of the old sucrerie. Ruins are my favorite hiking gems, so I was pretty thrilled to see them.

IMG_0480

IMG_0463

We pressed on as the trail continued uphill. We discovered such things as curious creepy crawlies,

IMG_0655

IMG_2989

What Aquila called the Sexy Tree (I guess it is just that gorgeous),

IMG_0449

Interesting plants,

IMG_0536

IMG_0656

And this odd statue of a double-jointed man in distress. Naturally, Kayla decided to empathize with him. Social workers are very good at that.

IMG_0657

We finally reached the lookout point at the top of the mountain!

IMG_0489

You can even see some ghostly islands in the distance. I believe they belong to Saint Bart’s. I expected to see a pirate ship sail out of the mist at any second, but all we saw was a cheerful little sailboat.

IMG_0485

To get to the lookout, we had to walk down a narrow path through tall grass. It made some of us itchy, but it was nice to have a break from the tree cover and feel the ocean breeze. It was also a great place for taking photos.

IMG_0654

Kalie was kind enough to pose for me.

IMG_0494

The trail seemed to go out into the middle of nowhere, so we eventually turned around and headed back to the mapped trail.

IMG_0534

On our way back, we found something attention-grabbing that was not on the map–graves! Or at least gravestones. Some of them were broken, so we weren’t sure if they were even in the right place. They were about 150 years old.

IMG_0529

The entire hike, we were surrounded by clouds of butterflies. They’re hard to catch on camera, but I did my best! There were hundreds of white butterflies and the occasional yellow one or orange monarch.

IMG_0519

IMG_0588

We arrived back at the base camp tired, sweaty, and dirty, but happy and refreshed! What a wonderful way to spend a sunny morning in the Caribbean. We will be back.

IMG_3004

Photo credit: Breana Johnson, Stacey C, and Kalie L

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Exploring the Rainforest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s