I hiked part of segment 3 this morning; the stretch from Giraudel to Wotten Waven via the River Clare Valley and Morne Prosper. After all the recent rains from Tropical Storm Raphael, the terrain was certainly on the muddy side but the river was fresh and clear.
To be honest, I’m starting to get a little worried about the Waitukubuli National Trail. The segments I’ve hiked recently have been quite overgrown with some in need of repair. And what’s with all the broken signs ? One of my companions suggested I must be the only person who ever walks these trails – they have such an air of abandonment. It does feel that way sometimes, and it really did this morning. If hiking is Dominica’s main tourism product, where is everyone ?
If you are planning on hiking this segment then take it easy on the descent into the River Clare Valley from Giraudel. When I first walked and marked out this stretch with the National Trail project team back in 2010, there was a long discussion over whether ropes would help hikers get down to the bottom safely. I think they should have installed them. The trail is eroding quite badly in places – and heavy rains certainly don’t help – so it has become a difficult scramble down a steep and muddy slope. This isn’t the kind of place to be stuck with a sprained or twisted ankle, so please be careful.
It’s always nice to get up to the heights of Morne Prosper. I especially enjoy walking through the farmlands beyond the village, just before the descent to Wotten Waven. Farmers always seem genuinely happy to see hikers. It’s a joyful and scenic place.
With Tia’s, Screw’s and Ti Kwen hot sulphur baths and plenty of places to get a bite to eat and a cold drink, Wotten Waven is a nice place to end your hike. We finished our morning with cold Kubulis at Tia’s bar – highly recommended !