*Disclaimer: Most of these photos could be better enhanced in Photoshop–but I haven’t put anything up on WordPress in a couple weeks and am adequately upset about that :) So I just pulled everything from my iPhoto library and did basic color/contrast adjustments. Be kind.
About 20 minutes into my hike, pretty much has been STRAIGHT UP since we got on the “trail” (trail used verrrrryyyyy loosely in this entire post). Petit is just under 750meters high and you’re pretty much using all limbs two minutes in.
Located on the southwest corner of St. Lucia. Soufriere Bay is camera-right, the Caribbean Sea is camera-left. Shot on my Canon T3i, 18-55mm kit lens. Taken by my guide, Demascus (contact info upon request…HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, HE WAS AWESOME!). First lookout point about an hour into the hike. Guides are available at the base of GROS PITON (taller but easier (again, a term used loosely) of the two Pitons) and are employed by the government. Guides are NOT available at the base of Petit Piton, since there is no real, marked start of the trail. Most hotels can arrange for a guided hike of Petit. I HIGHLY recommend going with someone who has experience on the trail (Demascus has taken courses in first aid, nature survival, etc) and knows the terrain extremely well. You MUST be in excellent physical condition to hike Petit. IT IS HARD. Ha to quote (On my hike up GROS): Demascus: If you can keep up with me on this hike, mayyyybe we can do Petit. Maybe.
About a two hour trek to the top. STRAIGHT UP (ha, have I mentioned that.) His outfit of choice: khakis and a collared shirt, because he, “likes to look professional.” Whereas I was gym shorts and a T, because I’m going yo be sweating like a melting popsicle in a sauna. We began around 9am–much later=much hotter. Spent about an hour at the top (maybe about 20 meters in circumference). Rocky and full of foliage with a couple clearings. Guess the daring Demascus has camped overnight a couple times (i.e. slept on the ground). While the stars and sky would be breathtaking, sleepwalking and rolling down the cliff of a mountain would be less appealing.
My mantra during the climb: Solo travel means I’m adventurous, not an idiot. Reality: Hmmm, I’m using ropes tied to tree roots to climb STRAIGHT UP a 12 foot rock ledge. Wouldn’t this just suck in the rain. p.s. don’t look down, there is nothing behind you.
So the post-prod could use ALOT of work…Cost of hike, negotiated to $140 (US). Included transportation to and from La Haut resort. La Haut offered to organize for me, but for $170–so I went straight to Demascus and organized on my own. Tipped an extra $30 at the end, since it was so frickin’ spectacularly awesome–seemed fitting for someone that worked so hard. Most times Demascus said he does the hike at $70 per person, with a minimum of two people. FYI. Again, I can get you contact info upon request.
From the summit. Canon T3i, Canon 18-55mm
A tad bit of fun with the in-camera Tilt-Shift filter on my T3i. Next post teaser: Look for pics of the “trail.” Figure some photos will give a much more accurate view of what you’re walking up (or not walking up!) than my semi-poor descriptions.
Rocking the Ohio shirt! Fully sweated through about 15 minutes in. Carried up my Manfrotto, one-shouldered camera bag, thankfully with chest strap. Trust me you’ll need all four limbs free to assist with the ROCK CLIMBING PARTS. In terms of gear, I hiked light (especially after the rain I encountered while hiking Gros Piton). Just the T3i body and Cannon kit lens. Topped it off with three bottles of water (all drank with no need to pee after 5 hours! Hooray extreme exertion!) and a couple cliff bar snacks. Sunscreen=necessary. Bug Spray (in October)=not so much.