On-Site Dominica: My Surprise Hike to Denier Falls – Part 2
What’s that noise?
Less than 20 paces from the trail entrance to Denier Falls, a menacing, guttural growl threatened to end the whole adventure right then and there. Considering I originally had zero desire to be hiking in the first place that day, you might think I’d see this as a positive development. If so, you’d be wrong. After all, it was the urgings of two lovely ladies that had spurred me this far. Plus, I had those butterflies you get in your stomach when you’re about to discover something new; something unknown. It was too late to turn back.
I could not let those urgings go unfulfilled!
It wasn’t even 9:30 in the morning, but the sun was lashing us in the marginally shaded area at the head of the trail. From where we stood, Laura and I could hear the growling loud and clear, but no animal of any kind was in sight. Just some rustling bushes amid the dense undergrowth. We waited several breaths – our feet still, our necks preening around slim trees and vines to catch a glimpse of our supposed assailant.
We pressed on… quietly… over the undulating crest of a mountain, a thin and not very well-worn path our only indication that we might be heading in the right direction. If your left foot slipped, you could tumble quite a ways, so for the most part my eyes were trained straight down on the path. Stopping and looking up at varying intervals, though, did have its rewards…
This is the view looking east toward the Atlantic. Our resort, Rosalie Bay, sits along the shoreline well off in the distance, giving you a bit of an idea just how far we had trekked.
Just beyond the area where I snapped the photo above, the trail starts to descend into the valley. The narrow path of dirt and grass gives way to a muddier, and at times, more muddled track. Trees stretch out overhead, their roots creating obstacles below. The temperature drops. The rainforest surrounds you…
As the bush becomes more dense within this section, it’s pretty easy to wander off the trail. My advice: always look for the stairs. They’re not always obvious, but all the way down the mountain you can find stairs fashioned of simple pieces of wood stretched across the path to hold back sections of earth. No doubt you can get down the mountain without ’em, but if you stick to the stairs it will be an easier and cleaner experience.
From the head of the trail to the bottom of the gorge will only take you less than 30 minutes, assuming you don’t stop a bunch to snap pictures and study the plants and wildlife. All the way down the tantalizingly refreshing sound of rushing water gets increasingly louder.
Soon, there are no more steps…
Tiny crabs and colorfully exotic lizards scurried all over these rocks, but we barely noticed when we initially arrived at this spot. This is why…
As waterfalls go in Dominica, Denier is certainly not the biggest, nor the most dramatic or awe-inspiring. It’s small and intimate – a secret grotto echoing those imagined in long ago fairytales, tucked away from the world like so many of your wildest dreams.
I think I can speak for Laura when I say that we were both beyond ecstatic to find ourselves in such a special place. We swam for what seemed like hours in the cool (not cold), clear water, sharing a bit of our life stories and talking about our families, work and kids in a way that two people who had only known each other for less than 24 hours rarely get to do. We certainly would not have gotten to know each other so well floating around some resort pool…
The hike back up the mountain steps was pretty tough after all our wonderful lounging in the Falls. Still, we were so smitten with the experience that we barely remembered the beast that nearly scuttled the whole trip at the head of the trail. Sure enough, he startled us again, huffing and grunting his threats from behind the bushes. This time we saw him, though… a large, billowing pig keeping watch, as I guess some pigs do, for no reason at all.
We laughed and headed back to M&M, Marvlyn and more cold beer… for the carbs.