One Thursday evening (04/08/16), I received a call from my good friend Idriss about hiking Le Morne mountain for Saturday morning. One week after achieving Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire mountain, and now that the access to Le Morne mountain has been opened to the public… yes, previously it was a private access and one could only get to the top by paying a certain exorbitant amount to a certain person because the access was through his land, and to say, the price asked was rather a luxury for most.
Luckily, the public authorities found a way through certain negotiation and the access to Le Morne Mountain was declared public and free as from the 28th of June 2016, even though the amenities wasn’t yet prepared for that.
So why wait? We left towards Le Morne at 6h20 in the morning and at 7h20 we started the trail. The air was cool, the weather appeared great and the sun was just showing its early rays in the sky. Before starting the climb, the view at low tide (yes it was low tide as well) was so scenic that a few snaps were a must.
The amenities were rather good for a mountain hike; parking area, picnic area, picnic benches, sign posts, direction posts, …looks like everything was prepared to encourage people to visit this mountain.
The trail started rather easily with a wide-enough path for a pick-up to drive to a certain point, and with mild slopes for an hour’s walk. The track offered rather spectacular views at most parts and we reached the ‘South West’ view point at 8h18.
This area is rather known to be a picnic area with a nice view and quite some benches, and of course, before attempting the most serious part of climbing to the top. Everything achieved before this point can be considered to be leisure time. We had some rest, and took some more pictures before moving forward to what a sign post mentioned ‘only experienced climbers’ beyond this point.
After 20 minutes of meandering through a narrow path meant for one person at a time and with steeper climbs we reached a spot where ropes were installed in order to continue further… yes, this meant that as from this point, some advanced hiking skills will be required.
Slowly but surely we managed to progress to four more spots where ropes were placed to help in the ascent. For sure, a good hiker can manage without these ropes but since the access is now open to the public, lots of people of all ages would be expected attempting the climb. And it will help.
At 9h15 we reached the top where a metal cross was fixed as a symbol for the history behind this mountain related to slaves of a former time. And quite unexpected, there were so many people up there at this spot that there wasn’t a place to stand, figuratively speaking.
I have to mention somehow that the time taken to reach this point and later to reach down again was seriously stretched due to other people causing obstructions ahead, specially if there are other groups at the same time. We had to move at their pace, slowly, because we could not overtake since the path allowed only one people at a time to progress. Patience is highly required if you face such situations.
We rested for another 15 minutes on the top, taking pictures and catching up with the effort before starting to climb down. Unfortunately on that day I was on a strict timing since a had to attend a wedding hours later, otherwise we would have spent more time up there.
Again, climbing down was a hassle, not because there was some kind of difficulty but because the batch of people coinciding with us had some slow-pacers and we had to wait at each step. We started climbing down at 9h26 and reached the entrance gate at 10h55 due to the delays we had to face.
At the end of the day it was a very interesting climb, with lots of beautiful sceneries and lots of fun too. According to me I would rate this hike as ‘moderate-high’ considering only the serious hiking part only. Most images are taken from a chest-mounted GoPro Hero4 and DSLRs for the rest, edited in Lightroom (sorry for the unnatural processing, …trying some artistic effects!)
Next attempt: La Tourelle du Tamarin