Saturday, September 18, 2010

Waitukubuli National Trail, Segment 5, Dominica

Walking, I think, is one of the best ways to get a real feel for Dominica, giving a more “up-close” experience and encouraging a personal connection not easily obtained from a car or bus.
Dominica already has several great hiking trails but the Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) is well on the way to becoming the ultimate island hike. Broken up into 14 segments and totalling around 95-115 miles, the trail will traverse the island from top to bottom. It is estimated, that once finished, average hikers can complete the whole trail in around 2 weeks.
The success of the trail to bring tangible economic benefits, relies on community participation and support to provide auxiliary services such as accommodation, transportation, food, beverages, guides etc (that is assuming of course we resolve the issue of actually getting hikers in large enough numbers to come to Dominica in the first place). A full understanding of what the WNT is all about, what is planned and what is required from the communities it passes, is therefore crucial.
On 29th August the WNT project team organised a public awareness activity day with various competitions and challenges for all ages; Kiddies Baton Relay event, Negre Mawon Iron Team Hike, Heritage Photography and Literature Challenge etc.
The photography challenge took place along part of segment 5, Emerald Pool to Pont Casse, not the most dramatic segment but a really pretty hike nonetheless; scenic rainforest paths and river crossings too. I am so thankful that my past, my history is rooted on this island and walking along the trail I was happy to recall childhood stories from my Mum and her siblings. They had walked these very same paths before roads from Castle Bruce to Roseau, lighting their way with flambeaus and scaring themselves with folklore tales of soucouyants and lajabless.
I love hiking; it is one of my passions. I love the physical exertion, the onslaught on all the senses, the primal awe it inspires and everything that goes with hiking in Dominica, including sometimes getting very dirty and wet. As with other hikes around the island, I emerged from this rain forest hike, with a renewed respect for nature and a deepening of my possessive love for Waitukubuli.
The WNT is a great idea and I wish everyone involved the very best of luck with it, from those who came up with the initial concepts, to the teams who have to make it all happen. It is a huge amount of work with some serious challenges to overcome but having walked a few segments already I am really looking forward to its completion.
You never know, it may just make the National Geographic Top Trails list one day.

Click on the following links to find out more about the WNT.
Waitukubuli National Trail Website
Waitukubuli National Trail Feasibility Study
Waitukubuli National Trail Segment 5 Photo Slideshow

1 comment:

Tropical Ties said...