Freshwater Lake Trail
|This has been one of the most dangerous areas of Dominica.
Length: 2.5 miles one-way. Time: Two hours round-trip. Difficulty: 1. The hike is a flat grade and runs along a hydropipeline. The trail goes west to east along the southern flank of Morne Macaque.
Warning: Robberies and hassles are occurring in increasing numbers in this area. Don't come here with fewer than 3 other people. Only singles and couples have been bothered.
Trailhead: A former carriage road from the Laudat shrine leads to Freshwater Lake . It is possible to drive this unpaved road to a parking lot at the northwest end of Freshwater Lake where you pick up the trail to Boeri Lake (the hike described after Freshwater Lake ).
Located 2 miles northeast of Laudat, this nine-acre lake is the largest of Dominica's 5 freshwater crater lakes. More importantly, several hiking trails into other parts of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park start from here.
The spring-fed lake is being used as part of a hydro-power project to provide more electricity island-wide. The lake has been dammed and the water level raised 20 feet.
A snaking trail of creosote-treated wood pipes transports water from the lake to the power station at Laudat, a sight as lovely as an appendix scar.
Situated at 2,500 feet, Freshwater Lake is surrounded mostly by montane forest, characterized by its short thin trees and open canopy. High winds and shallow soil prevent the type of thick growth characteristic of the rain forest.
However, the montane forest is loaded with epiphytes, plants that use others for their physical support. They are so thick in some places it's almost impossible to see the trees on which they grow.
A great place to view delicate, almost transparent ferns, large-leafed anthuriums and large, showy bromeliads.
At the highest level is the elfin woodland, also called mossy, cloud and dwarf forest on other islands. The dominant species here is the gnarled kaklen, whose spreading branches and roots make parts of the forest almost impenetrable.
Note how small and leathery the leaves are here, and how from a distance the forest looks like a well-trimmed hedge. The leaves are leathery to prevent being torn by the fierce winds.