Our very own explorer is one of the first visitors to tread a walking new trail which runs the length of Dominica, through virgin rainforest, over mountainous ridges and to a boiling volcanic lake...
Friendly jungle. Isn't that an oxymoron? But as we stand beside the vast buttressed trees, each festooned with entire ecosystems of bromeliads, creepers, orchids and vines, Eric is adamant. "No poisonous snakes, no nasty spiders, no creature more dangerous than a guinea pig."
"They do bite."
He grins. "But rarely kill."
Columns of sunlight come stepping down from above, and each leaf that they touch becomes a brilliant glorious emerald. A yellow land crab scuttles off through the forest litter. Underfoot everything is either bursting with vitality, or busy with decay.
I reach up and take hold of a liana. Putting my weight on it, I find it gives a few inches then holds firm. I have a small experimental swing, then a bigger one, and bigger. When I come back to earth, I scramble back on the path and catch up with Eric. "You like the path?" he asks. A hummingbird thrums past, heading for a patch of yellow and red heliconia flowers.
"It's an old trail that was used by runaway slaves – the maroons – who came up here in the mountains to escape the coastal plantations. Some old people in the village told me about it." cont./
Courtesy of: Guardian
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