In the shadow of Morne Trois Pitons, Waitukubuli National Trail Segment 5 follows an old Maroon trace (a route used by escaped slaves) from the Pond Casse area all the way to the village of Castle Bruce on the east coast. Today I hiked just a short portion of it for only the second time – from Pond Casse to the Emerald Pool – with a couple of friends.
First problem – where on earth was the trailhead ? Eventually I found it buried beneath long grass and fallen trees. The sign was nowhere to be seen, in fact only a blue and yellow blaze painted on a nearby wooden power pole gave away its location. This added to my recent concerns about the state of the National Trail and was compounded almost immediately by a bench that was broken and a track that was very overgrown and covered in fallen debris.
After the first twenty minutes or so, however, it was much clearer and easier to follow. A relief.
The dry spell had certainly affected what I remember as a fairly wet rainforest walk. Save for a few soggy patches, the ground was dry and only slight trickles of water flowed along most of the streams. There are not many views on this part of the trail but, what it lacks in that regard, it makes up for in a peaceful rainforest habitat where there seemed to be far more bird life than on many of the trails I have walked recently.
When we reached the Emerald Pool we bumped into a deluge of cruise ship visitors just arriving. “Wow, it sure is a lot further to the Emerald Pool than we thought,” one of us said. “And that rope climb was really scary,” said another, “Just look at how much I’m sweating”. Giggling like naughty children, we made our way to the visitor center car park, a little more than two hours after we set off. It was a nice walk.