Dominica: The Valley Of Desolation And The Boiling Lake

Submitted by Andrew Evans on the 2019 winter session program in Dominica sponsored by the Department of Geography…

On Tuesday of this past week, the hike that everyone had feared became a reality. It was time to conquer the Boiling Lake hike, a hike that we were told would take us  a minimum of six hours to complete. We were told that the hike would be harder than usual because the trail still had not been fully restored after Hurricane Maria. I personally was more excited than I was scared for this hike, as I had done some challenging hikes before in Yosemite, but this hike would surely test my abilities.

The trail started out pretty mild and immediately it started raining, but honestly it would not be a hike in Dominica without a little rain. As we continued, everyone started to feel comfortable with the hike until we reached what our guide called phase two. This was basically an hour straight of climbing a steep incline until we got to the mountain peak outside of what they call the Valley of Desolation. We took a nice long break before we began the descent into the valley. The descent was not too bad, but all I could think about was the fact that whatever parts we go down we, have to climb back up. Once, we first got a glimpse of the valley, it was absolutely breath-taking as you could see steam erupting from the ground.

Now it was time to start phase three of the hike, the final stretch to get to the Boiling Lake. Walking through the valley was amazing as you could feel the heat from the steam all around you, and the different colors of the rocks from the sulfur and other mineral deposits was beautiful. We cleared the valley and the last feat was about 30 minutes of incline until we arrived at the Boiling Lake. It was unimpressive at first as you could only see a wall of steam, but minutes later a gust of wind cleared the steam and you could see the roaring bubbling of the lake down below. Just seeing the raw power of the lake made up for the whole hike in an instant. There was only one challenge left now, getting back knowing how far we had come.

The Valley of Desolation
The Boiling Lake