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Published: August 1st 2018
Saturday July 29 - I got up at 7am and finished packing for the hike today. Breakfast was late, so we left 15 minutes late to get into town to meet Rob. He met us at Le Petit Paris around 9:15 and we got on our way by 9:30am. At 10:00 we arrived at the trail, swapped our water shoes for boots and started the hike.
It was far more challenging than I'd expected. It started out with really slippery stones, and progressed through never-ending uphill portions, downhill portions and flat parts that were a combination of roots, stones and logs to walk on. I moved much slower than Meagan at the uphill portions, but was slightly quicker going downhill, though I could feel both in my knees. There was a river to cross, and the other two skipped across it on rocks, but I couldn't, so I had to take my boots off and walk across. It was not deep, but I do not trust my balance or the slippery-ness of the rocks, and I did not want my boots to fill up with water. Next we got to the Valley of Desolation, which has fumaroles and small areas
with boiling mud or water. We had to cross the hot water several times, and it was usually hard for me. Eventually Meagan gave me a hand across, and it helped. There were also narrow ledges and portions you had to use a rope to climb down, as the footing was precarious.
It took us 3.5 hours to reach the Boiling Lake, and by then I was hot and tired, sweaty and exhausted. We had our lunches there at the lake, watching the mist blow in and out. Sometimes we had a really clear view, and sometimes we couldn't see anything. There was a small waterfall letting water in, and a small natural outlet where water would flow out. The sulfur smell that had started near the fumaroles was stronger, and the mist was often enough to make my hair wet. The only boiling lake larger than this one is in New Zealand.
After 30 minutes, we started the hike back. It was exactly the same hike in reverse, so I knew what was coming. After a short while, it felt like I'd only ever been on that trail. Nothing before, and nothing would come after. It took
us almost 3 hours to get back, and it was fairly hard going most of the way. It was such a relief when it was over, and it made me reconsider doing such hikes in the future, if I'm not enjoying them. Because it took us so long, it did feel a bit rushed to get back before dark as well. We were going to get in the hot water and relax, but we didn't feel there was enough time.
On the way back, we stopped at the Beach Bar for Rob to get a drink and Meagan to use the wifi. I think I have just enough money left to pay my exit fee for the ferry (in USD) so I did not order a smoothie. We got back to camp just as it got dark, but I had my headlamp. We hurried across to make sure we wouldn't be late for quiz night at 7:30pm, but it did not start until 8:30pm. We had dinner - fried chicken!! - and some birthday cake for one of the students. We didn't each get a piece, but rather had to just reach into the container of what they gave
us and grab some. But it was chocolate with coconut. So good. After the quiz, one of the teachers with the group said how much they appreciated their time here and with us, which was very kind. Thye even gave us $50 to get snacks for our staff goodbye party tomorrow night. I said goodbye to Clive, who is leaving early in the morning. I would like to stay in contact with him. I also said goodbye to Rob, who may leave before I get up in the morning. He is camping here tonight.
Tomorrow is packing day.
Tot: 2.33s; Tpl: 0.066s; cc: 18; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0337s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb