Has Anyone Done the St Kitts Volcano
Hike? "I did it" says Michael
from the UK

"I did it."

So for anyone contemplating this excursion, here are a few details.

About 15 of us went on the Princess excursion on Dec 21, 2004. We were all wearing trainers on our feet and we all felt with hindsight that hiking boots would have been better. The terrain was pretty tricky, slippy in parts. The 4 wheel drive jeeps took nearly one hour to get from the ship to the start point for the climb which is well off the road through sugar cane fields. The climb up took a little over 2 hours. It starts relatively gently but gets harder after each of the 5 small clearings at which we took a brief rest. We definitely needed the walking sticks provided and occasional help from the guide. The weather was hot but we were not in the sun, being shaded by a canopy of rainforest. When we eventually reached the top, we could see down into the bowl - although on this day it was pretty cloudy and we could not see much. We stopped up there for about 40 minutes eating a few snacks (boiled eggs, granola bars) and hoping the clouds would clear. The descent took almost as long as the climb because the tricky parts seemed even harder going down. Again the sticks were invaluable. The guide was essential as there were several places where the way was far from clear or where there were two paths from which to choose. I certainly would not want to get lost in that dense rainforest. I can also see that it would be pretty easy to twist an ankle or even break something and I can’t imagine that a rescue would be easy!

I was surprised we had only one guide as he had to keep darting back and forth between the front and back of our group which got quite strung out into several small groups on the descent.

We were apparently slower than the guide anticipated since we were late back and kept the ship waiting nearly 30 minutes (good job it was a Princess excursion with the implied promise to wait for us).

On reflection, I certainly did enjoy the day, experiencing a real sense of achievement. My co-climbers were very friendly and we all bonded well and helped each other consistently throughout the ascent and descent. It was also about the only real exercise all cruise - very necessary given all the calories in those dinners!

As to tips: hiking boots if possible; long or ¾ length lightweight trousers as the bush can be sharp; travel light as it is strenuous enough without a load to carry – no need for sun cream or a sun hat, for example; your camera on your belt so you don’t need to carry it (you often need two hands to climb); they provide one bottle of water, you may want a second; your own snack if you don’t like boiled eggs and granola bars; Princess said bring a sweater for the summit but that certainly wasn’t necessary on this day.

Michael, United Kingdom, January 1, 2005

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