Have you ever hiked a volcano? I conquered my first (still active!) volcano last week at St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Saint Vincent lies to the west of Barbados and south of Saint Lucia. The island is volcanic and includes little level ground. One side of the island is very rocky and steep, while the other side has more sandy beaches and bays. The country`s highest peak is La Soufrière volcano at 1234m (4049 ft) and I climbed that!
La Soufriere volcano along with the other volcanoes in the Caribbean “Volcanic Island Arch” all originate on hot spots where the Caribbean and Atlantic Plates meet. Thus all these islands of the Caribbean were formed by volcanic eruptions over many years. The earliest eruption was in 1718 with activity lasting for three days. Another one eruption took place at 1812 which destroyed the conical dome within the old crater.
The next recorded eruption was in 1902. The eruption produced hot mudflows and the glowing avalanche produced by this eruption killed 1565 people. The most recent eruption was in 1979 and luckily didn`t claim any lives.
When climbing the tropical mountains, our guide pointed out the difference in vegetation of the forest as you go higher. The changes are due to changes in the microclimate with increasing altitude i.e. temperature, moisture and winds. –Which you were aware of while climbing the volcano – It started out warm and humid, but the higher you went up, the nicer it became with a breeze to cool you down and a strong wind at the top.
I have to admit that it wasn`t a walk in the park for me, as the climbing is quite steep at some stages. The last part is a lot of rocks, but the end result, having climbed a volcano and the view you get up there, is definitely worth it.
*Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes
*Bring mosquito spray
*Bring plenty of water
*Bring an energy bar or a cookie for some much-needed strength
It took the group about 2 – 2, 5 hours to climb to the top and 1,5 hour to descend. You can of course do this climb at your own pace.