First Carbet Waterfall
|It actually consists of 2 falls. One large, one tiny.|
Time: 4 hours, one way. Difficulty: 4-5. A blazed trail, take water and snacks. Trailhead: Depart from the waterfall picnic area. Arrive at Savane a Mulets, altitude 1142m.
To reach the first waterfall, start from the Carbet Falls picnic area. At the end of Habituee Road, a break in the brush lets you see the first two Carbet falls.
The farthest away is also the highest: it plummets more than 125 meters in two stages. Its summit is 1,005 meters. The other waterfall, actually closer, measures around 110 meters. The Third Carbet Falls hike (described elsewhere) will take you to it.
Immediately on your left is the Zigzag Track that goes around the flanks of l'Echelle (also described elsewhere). After going into the forest about 200 meters, another maintained trail leads to the left: the Karukera Trail, which leads directly to l'Echelle (also described elsewhere).
Following the trail to the first falls, you'll snake downwards toward the river. Along the way you'll spot the white gum, a very tall tree easily identified by its straight and slender trunk, the source of an amber-colored resin.
The trunk of this tree, hollow and wide, was once used to build long, narrow unstable boats, called gommiers. Gum-tree boats are longer used in Guadeloupe, but can frequently be seen on neighboring islands.
You'll cross the Carbet by a footbridge. Several meters farther is your first crossroads; the left path leads to the second waterfall (see hike described elsewhere). Instead, follow the trail climbing regularly in a westerly direction, through a luxuriantly forested hillside.
About a kilometer after the crossroads, veer left and walk the steep incline into the Longueteau Ravine, tributary of the Carbet. After crossing to the other side, on the spur formed by the 2 valleys, is another fork. The right trail continues toward La Soufriere.
You want to stay left and in about 15 minutes reach the Carbet River bed and the first waterfall. There are really two successive falls here: the first, from a height of 115 meters, falls onto a little platform, then becomes a second fall about 10 meters high.
Returning to the crossroads, you have the option of walking toward l'Echelle to reach the north cliff, where the waterfall originates, and eventually come out at Savane a Mulets. Most people simply retrace their steps.