St. Lucia, Marigot Ridge
The two short Marigot Ridge Hikes in Marigot St. Lucia, that I described in Compass 4-years ago, have now been linked to make a really super hike with great views.?
For a preview look to the north as you sail into Marigot Bay. The Marigot Ridge Hike extends from a high point above and a bit west of Doolittles to the really high part above Rainforest Hideaway. The hike is part of a national park and the highest point is about 600 feet. It takes about an hour to an hour and half and is very steep in places (fixed rope hand-holds help). It can be a bit of a scramble, so, while not really hard, you need some agility and shoes with a good grip are almost essential.
While you can do the trail either way round, I suggest starting at the Rainforest Hideaway end as this is the steepest part and is probably easier in some ways to climb than descend. It also gets the hardest part of the trail over with first. Dock at Rainforest Hideaway walk up the trail to Marigot Inn right above. If someone is around they can direct you to Ladies Gate, Judith Verity and her team have been really nice and kind about this. If not, walk round the east side of the building, head uphill and find it yourself.
From Ladies Gate the path is very clear and looks like it was designed by an engineer as it goes directly and almost in a straight line to the top of the ridge. It can be slippery and is very steep in places. At Stairway to Heaven, where the going gets tough, ropes have been tied in place to provide you with a good handhold.
Watch out also for hermit crabs. This is typical habitat for them and footsteps can make them retreat into their shell upon which they often lose traction and start rolling downhill, which has led some hikers to believe that the trail is littered with aggressive little rocks determined to attack them.
When you reach the summit, turn left and follow the ridge for a short while; you will find a wooden meditation platform with a panoramic view. When you are rested, carry on down the wooded ridge. The only steep part is Jo Jo?s Steps. The rope handholds help, but when Anne and I did this hike one bit of rope was serving as boat rope somewhere and we had to do a bit of backside sliding ? the rope should be in place by the time you get there. It does not take long to get to Fork Thomas. At this junction, follow the signpost to Pelchat Point Lookout. This offers wonderful views back over Marigot Bay and you can rest on the bench. From here return to Fork Thomas and take the Oasis trail which brings you down to the Billy Goat Trail Head. Here you enter the Oasis Development, and unless you make special arrangements they generally shut the gate around sunset. In case you get stuck the Doolittle?s phone numbers are 458-3323/451-4974. Once through the gate head down and east till you come to the lovely little tramway ? go down to the bottom and come out into Doolittles. This is a perfect spot to stop for a drink, looking over the bay to assuage the thirst you have worked up (happy hour is 1700-1900).
Walk out onto the spit and in the northeastern corner look for the lovely wooden walkway that runs behind the mangroves back to Rainforest Hideaway. This is a perfect place for celebratory dinner, but they get full so you must book in advance (286-0511/451-4485).