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Dominica: Segment 13

December 22, 2015

by Nicole 
at sea
[We visited Dominica back in May 2015.]

Nothing sounds better than spending time in Dominica, "The Nature Island."  Because Dominica is the second-poorest country in the Caribbean, there isn’t much development, so most of the country is undisturbed nature. A network of trails form a web throughout the island, leading to waterfalls, up and down mountains, and along the coast. Called the Waitukubuli Trail, it is broken into 14 segments, each of which is full of nature and beauty. While we were in Dominica, all the moms and kids from Daystar, Proud Mary, Day Dreamer, and Traveller hiked all of Segment 13.

Segment 13, also called the Capuchin trail, is the northernmost segment. It starts in northwestern tip of the island and runs parallel along the coast, then turns south to Penville. We were dropped off at the trailhead, which is at the end of a dirt road with nothing around for miles. A guidebook said it would take six hours, and the sign said it would take about two hours. Both book and sign were wrong, and we did it in four.

Narrow and slippery trails, at times right at the edge of a cliff.

Hiking Capuchin trail was very tiring, as any four hour long mountainous trail would be. It was extra challenging because of the steep slopes covered in leaves and gravel. There were a few different spots during the hike where we reached the top of a tall cliff overlooking the ocean. It was like someone had turned on air conditioning. It felt wonderful, but as soon as we climbed back down and the ocean breeze was blocked again, it felt hotter than ever.

This trail made us feel like we were the last people on earth, alone in the lush greenery. We saw signs of
The only guard-rail on the entire trail was made with a big log.
human life only once when we passed a small farm with a few crops, a couple goats, and a run-down shack. When we finally finished the hike, we had no water left. Luckily, there was a freshwater spigot at the end of the trail, as there are installed all over the island to provide locals with drinkable water. The hike ended 30 minutes away from the nearby town of Penville, so we would've had to walk along the road to catch a bus there. Luckily, we managed to snag a taxi, one of three cars we had seen drive by in the 20 minutes we took to rest after finishing the hike.

Grueling and exhilarating, beautiful and isolated, the Segment 13 hike has been a favorite of mine since I first set foot on the trail.