Last week I wrote about the customs issues me and several other boats had by picking up moorings between the Pitons here in St Lucia. I also told you that I hiked up the Petite Piton and would write about that hike today, so here we go. 🙂
The Pitons are two volcanic plugs, or magma cores, left after the volcanoes eroded away. Together with the nearby drive in volcano and the mud baths, they form one of only four World Heritage Site within the Eastern Caribbean. Both of them are right on the waters edge (in fact, continue the steep descent even underwater), which add to their dramaticness (I might have just made that word up, haha) and sit about a mile from each other. Gros Piton is 2619 feet tall and Petite Piton is 2438 feet tall, but when you look at them most people think the Petite Piton is the taller of the two, because it is so much steeper.
In fact it was this steepness that made me want to climb Petite Piton instead of Gros Piton, because as I looked at it I was not sure it was even possible. A lot of the cruising boats I had talked to also said it was not possible to climb the small one and only the tall one. I can now tell you this is not true and Petite Piton is very possible, but extremely strenuous!
You are required to have a local guide for either Piton, but I think this is more to give business to locals and make sure the mountains are not trashed because the trail was very easy to follow. It cost me about $75 US, but if I had others join me I think this would have fallen to around $50 US each. I met Elise at 6:30am on the beach at the base of Petite Piton and we started walking to the trail head. As soon as we got there the trail headed up…..and up, and up. I would like to tell you it was mixed in with flat areas and was not too bad, but that is not the case. The trail is a mix of steep with the rocks and tree roots forming natural stairs, steeper where you had to use a rope to help you up, and really steep where you use the rope to climb. It was not until we were on the very top that there was a flat area……and even then it was not much bigger than my boat.
All in all, it took me two and a half hours to reach the summit and I made us take lots of rest breaks and water breaks along the way since my thighs were burning and I was dripping with sweat. The return trip was only two hours, but it was working the knees and I still took breaks. By the time I reached the dinghy I was absolutely wiped out and do not know if I could have gone another 100 feet. With all that said, would you believe Elise did the entire hike barefoot and said he prefers it that way? AMAZING!
If you would like to hear more stories about the hike, or any of St Lucia for that matter, I hope you will consider joining me on a YouTube Live video in two days on Wednesday June 3rd at 11am EDT. I will even have a Zoom call set up so people can call in and ask questions. See you then.