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Hiking Guadeloupe: Deshaies River

June 9, 2015

by Paula
At anchor, Sainte Anne, Martinique

Our patience was rewarded. Back in Guadeloupe along with friends from four other boats, we hiked the Deshaies River in search of its hidden waterfall. On the northwest side of the island the river empties to sea at a spot just a short walk from the center of the tiny town of Deshaies (pronounced Day-ay).

The river is a short walk from town.

Hiking the river means rock-hopping - the entire way. A tumble of smooth boulders forms the riverbed, and the low water level in this season (May) makes it an exposed path above the surface. Not an easy path, exactly, but just enough to make it a fun scramble. Hours of scrambling,  actually
We came upon this assemblage.
Perhaps an offering to
the river gods?

The guidebook did not indicate the distance to the waterfall, just a number of hours of hiking required (two to three). Are we there yet? We pressed on. Did we take the wrong fork? Hard to say; we pressed on. It's the dry season, so the water is low.  But the book couldn’t mean this little fall of water, could it? Likely not; we pressed on.

Cash does a little

The riverbed remained a tumble of smooth rocks, large and small, the entire way.  Fern-covered rocks, tall grasses, tropical flowers, and large-leaf vines lined the banks. A fresh breeze blew and the shady cover kept us cool and comfortable.

Victorious whoops from the members of our group in the lead – we have arrived! The river
comes to a small pool at a seemingly dead-end cave formed by sheer rock walls and huge stacked boulders. But where’s our waterfall? A bit more effort is necessary here.

Some of the guys waded through the pool to the opposite side, where a large boulder sat next to one even more massive, both wedged between the sheer rock cliffs. They could hear it, but a huge mass of stone was in the way. Undaunted, Greg lead the way. Pressing his back against one rock and his feet against the other, he was able to shimmy up to the top of the smallest boulder. Once on the other side, he found the calm pool at the base of the falls. We all followed, with Cash and Greg assisting those who needed help getting up and over the entry-way.

A cool, fresh-water pool and a beautiful waterfall in a hidden cave. This spot was worth the trek.