“Harken to the voice of the Earth among the clouds; climbing higher and higher over volcanic rocks, through dense brush and across trickling rivulets. It appears!”
When Earth Meets Sky
As cold rain mixes with the hot rays of a tropical sun, powerful gusts of wind whirl about wildly, stirring together wispy clouds and hot volcanic steam. The sensation is truly unique!
Guadeloupe is a magnificent chain of tropical islands, and Basse-Terre is home to the magnificent 1467m volcano, La Soufrière, in Guadeloupe National Park. A thrilling destination for geologists and hikers alike!
The local fauna remain well hidden among Guadeloupe’s verdant jungle, and although a sighting is hard to come by, the flowers are exotic and the sounds of nature are plentiful.
The dome of La Soufrière was the result of a strong, explosive eruption that caused a large accumulation of volcanic materials. At its base, the volcano is approximately 800 m in diameter, and its slopes are 40º to 45º steep. Its rocky summit is bristling with fissures that sometimes reach more than 100m deep! Hot, acidic steam is emitted from such fissures as the sound of geothermic activity fills the air.
Prolonged exposure to these fumes is harmful to your eyes and lungs! Be sure to maintain a safe distance.
Before heading out, always be aware of the trail’s conditions and natural hazards. The terrain on La Soufrière is rocky and generally wet due to frequent rainfall and condensation. Tread carefully and wear capable hiking shoes or trail runners.
- A windbreaker or waterproof/breathable jacket. It gets windy up there!
- Trail running sneakers or hiking boots and two pairs of wool socks (Darn Tough and SmartWool are good brands).
- Hydration is imperative, so having at least 2 liters of purified water is necessary. Also, don’t forget to eat along the way. Guadeloupe has delicious candied fruits that can be mixed with nuts for extra energy.
- Bug spray or a pair of nylon hiking pants and shirt with a mosquito net.
- Guadeloupe is close to the equator, so be sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Most importantly, rain or shine, you will be wet at the end of this hike! Be sure to have a towel or a change of clothes waiting for you in the car.
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