Martinique, Grand Anse D’Arlet to Dufours & Cap Salomon
Ever since I followed the delightful trail from Grand Anse D’Arlet to Anse D’Arlet Cap SalomonI have wanted to try the continuation of this hike from Grand Anse D’Arlet to Anse Dufour. So it was with high expectations and hopes I set out, with my friend Paul at 0730 one morning to find the trail. When you come ashore at the dock, turn left on the small road just behind the beach. Continue all the way to the end of the beach and then follow the road up the hill and round to the left overlooking the bay. Just past the Apex of the road, the trail leads off uphill to the right in an old river gully; it is signposted. To get here takes about 12 minutes from the dock.
All the way up the mountain we followed along a path of boulders and stones in thick bush with trees on either side some 10-15 feet tall. They gave plenty of shade in the early morning and would at least filter the sun much of the day. It is not hard going, but not easy either, and there are places where the rocks are slippery. Unless you are a naturalist the bush is rather monotonous all the way to the top. About five minutes later (20 minutes from the dock) we came across a trail map and cross path, indicating a trail that goes out to Capo Salomon and back along the coast among the mangroves, I knew nothing about this, and decided to check it out later (see below) We climbed and climbed right up the steep hill till we reached the summit. We were of course hoping for a view, especially back over the bay. In this we were disappointed. As my friend Paul said “if I am just going to walk along between trees, why not do it on the level” But that is how this trail goes at least till after the summit. I think also hiking in a cut through dry scrub suffers by comparison when you have just completed a series of beautiful hikes in rain-forested Dominica. Our approach to the top was marked by a sign which we reached in about 40 minutes from the dock. The path became a little more interesting at this juncture with slightly more varied vegetation and after 50-minutes from the dock we saw a lushly vegetated, but dried up pond on our left. By this time we were following along what seemed like a ridge line, which was just gently sloping. There were no clear views but you could catch glimpses of the sea in the distance through the trees. An hour from the dock produced another dry pool, on the right side this time, and shortly after this the path lightened and brightened and, wonder of wonders, we emerged to a really lovely view for the first and only time. It spanned from the hills in the interior over to the sea and Fort-de-France beyond. The trail then shut back into the bush and headed fairly steeply downhill. We reached Anse Dufours in an hour and half from the dock. It was quite delightful to step into the little road of bougainvillea, and fetch up in a café for well-earned coffee and juice. We returned by the road, which took about an hour and a quarter. The views along the road were more interesting than those on most of the hike, and we found a little artist’s gallery to visit. However, you do have to put up with quite fast traffic.
You can continue this hike on to Anse a L’Ane. If the maps are correctly drawn this goes up the riverine valley behind Anse Noir. I have not done this since it was a marked trail, but I have done it in earlier years and it was quite delightful with a river in the wet season and little pools in the dry season, and lots of tall trees