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Saint Kitts and Nevis: Nevis Peak hike

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Nevis Peak hike | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Americas

[Visited: September 2011]

We had stayed the night at the place of an interesting local character, one of the survivors of the horrible Christena boat accident in 1970 in which he lost dear family and friends. During the night, rain was rattling the roof of the building, and we wondered what that would mean for our hike. In the morning, however, we found dry weather on our way to Charlestown, and we were pleasantly surprised when our guide showed up at 7 sharp. A short drive east took us to the narrow road that took us to the starting point of the hike up 985m high Mount Nevis. After an easy start of the hike, we soon arrived at a small river, where our guide announced that the real climb started. Indeed, we soon found ourselves on a steep trail up, where we had to step on rocks, trying not to step in muddy pools, sometimes going up almost vertically. We had to work hard, but we also quickly gained altitude.

Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Instead of seeing the volcanic crater, we only saw clouds from the summit of Nevis Peak

The climb to Nevis Peak is a popular one, which means that provisions have been taken to help the climber. Shortly after commencing our way up, we found ropes that were there to assist us on our workout this morning. Initially, I stubbornly avoided using them, in a strong conviction that using them was not for real climbers. I used my legs and the roots instead to climb and hold my balance. But I found it increasingly difficult to stick to my idea, and when I saw our experienced guide using the ropes all the time, I decided to follow suit. It made the climb so much easier, especially on the slippery parts - and after the abundance of rain of the previous night, there were plenty of those. All the while, we were dreading the hike down. But this was more than an exercise for our body: the climb allowed us a thoroughly enjoyable peek into the marvellous nature of the rainforest covering Mount Nevis.

Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Root-covered stretch of the trail leading up to Nevis Peak

Apart from the amazingly thick leaves of some plants, that were now an extra vibrant shade of green because of the rain, we also saw interesting small animals. I was especially endeared by tiny snails, one of which I found exploring my arm in a slow pace, until I decided to put it back onto a leaf. It was clear all along that we would not have a great view from the top, and when our guide told us that we had reached it, we could actually not even see the crater below us. Like so many mountains in this region, Mount Nevis is a volcano; its almost perfect volcanic shape defines the appearance of the island of Nevis. As soon as we set our eyes on the mighty mountain during our boat ride from St Kitts, we felt we had to climb it - and now, we were here. A short hike through thick vegetation took us to the actual summit of the volcano, but not a better view. It was actually quite cold, and after a quick snack, we embarked on what we thought would be an unpleasant hike down. In fact, it turned out to be quite OK - even the wet and slippery parts were not as bad as we had imagined on the way up. Our hands and pants were full of mud when we reached our starting point. At this point, the sun was coming through, and the clouds surrounding Mount Nevis seemed to disappear. We walked in on beautiful butterflies, and found our feet and legs covered with aggressive ants a little further. A well-deserved drink on a nice balcony which by now offered good views of the southern part of Nevis marked the end of a hike that left us with a satisfied feeling.

Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Looking right into the rainforest growing on the slopes of Nevis Peak
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Narrow, muddy stretch of the hike up the Nevis Peak volcano
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Some of the roots useful for climbers of Mount Nevis
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): The rainforest has plants with very strong leaves like this one
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Some of the most beautiful leaves on our way up to Nevis Peak
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Ropes assist the climber on some stretches on the way to the summit of Nevis Peak
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Dense vegetation on the way to the summit, along the crater rim of Nevis Peak
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Fresh fern still curled up, waiting to come out
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): This is one of the many flowers we saw on our way up to Nevis Peak
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): This tiny yellow snail had been hitching on my arm for a while before I put it back on a leaf
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): One of the butterflies that we encountered during our hike up to Nevis Peak
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): After a night of rainfall, all leaves were bright green
Picture of Nevis Peak hike (Saint Kitts and Nevis): A ripe and open fruit of the rainforest - very sticky, not edible for humans

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