The Delgres Trail

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Time: 1 hour. Difficulty: 2-3. The trail, not marked, is relatively easy except for one steep rise. Trailhead: Depart on the Soufriere Road at the Beausoleil picnic area, altitude 750m. Arrive at Plateau Papaye, altitude 860m.

Two departure points are possible, both situated on the road which joins Saint-Claude to Soufriere. The first, in the Beausoleil picnic area, goes along the right bank of a canal but you abandon

it about 30 meters before the basin, to go left on another well-cleared trail.

The second departure is located to the left on the same road, 2 curves above the picnic area. This second trail arrives at the basin after going along the canal. Take the trail that descends on the right bank.

This hike climbs through dense rain forest, where you'll see large trees, heliconias, epiphytes, and perhaps a few birds. Near the trailhead is a tree with large drooping leaves and blooms of little yellow or pink bells.

Some 10 minutes later, after crossing several ravines, you'll reach a group of three spectacular vine-covered trees with powerful and slender aerial roots.

The trail bends slightly left for the first 10 minutes, then sharply veers to the left, passes over tree roots and descends along the escarped flanks of the Black River Valley.

Arriving at the river itself, you're halfway along the trail to Plateau Papaye. Catch your breath now, because a steep climb awaits you: a good 15 minutes of continuous effort.

Eventually the slope becomes gentler and some ravines are even terraced. In this forested zone, you may hear the hammering or the raucous, crow-like cry of birds living in the tall tree tops.

The forest cover lightens gradually and opens onto fields from which you can see the leeward coast. This is the Plateau de Papaye with its prairies and its cattle.

Soon the trail enters the road near the Clinique des Eaux-Vives (Clinic of the Living Waters), 200 meters off to your right. To the left, the road descends toward Matouba. About 100 meters down is a magnificent view of the Caraibes mountains.

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