The trailhead for the hike up the volcano of La Soufriere is around 1.5 hours from Kingstown, the capital of St Vincent.
Visitors have to take a guided tour to the crater rim, especially since the inundation of April 10th – 11th, 2011, which washed away cars, houses, and trees brought down by last year’s hurricane.
The trail wends through rainforest and crosses streams before reaching the treeline from where hikers can see the rim of the crater.
From this point, there is gravel and loose rock underfoot, so contain the excitement at seeing the final destination!
After 2 – 3 hours, depending on whom is on the guided tour, the view from the rim is stunning. Steam rises from the gradually enlarging magma dome in the crater’s centre; this volcano is still active and it’s entirely possible that the next explosion could fracture the northern part of St Vincent so badly that it could separate from the rest of the island.
This is not so fanciful as may be imagined; the 1902 eruption covered Barbados, 100 miles to the east, in ash. The power of nature should never be underestimated.
Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734