Friday, July 23, 2010

Black River Gorges National Park – Part 2

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In Part 1, we had completed half of our trek which so far has been relatively easy.

 

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& so we marched on to unknown territory (at least for me), the 6km descent to Black River.

 

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Holy moly! That was totally unexpected!

 

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This is raw nature – mud, puddles, branches, trunks, roots, rocks – the jungle.

 

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However, this hiking trail was very much man-made with wooden steps in areas where there were no roots.

 

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Within minutes our shoes were muddy beyond recognition & those who had jeans, such as Tushal, were wondering whether it would have been a better idea to wear shorts…

 

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So far, the trail had been quite lenient…

 

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… until we reached this point. This was an area where the rain had caused a mudslide making the steps utterly useless. Why the group at the bottom was being so cheerful? Because half of them had already fallen down in their attempt & they were eagerly awaiting the next victim!

 

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Tushal, our experienced guide, was having much fun shooting the plight of our bloggers!

 

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& sharing it with half the Facebook population of Mauritius… (Picture stolen from Tushal’s FB album!)

 

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Sun rapidly joined the team of mud-worshippers when he inexplicably slipped down while standing still! So his prediction turned out to be true…

 

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& then Tushal boldly proclaimed – WATCH & LEARN – & went straight into the undergrowth to get round our obstacle. Intelligent chap. I followed him & that was how I managed to get through unscathed!

 

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Henceforth, the hike was to be described as holding on for dear life while trying not to slip & keep moving at the same time…

 

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As demonstrated by Yashvin here.

 

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The rain had turned the trail into a muddy tobogan.

 

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Remember in Lord of the Rings where Sam, Frodo & Gollum climb the stairs at Cirith Ungol (near Shelob’s, the gargantuan spider’s lair)… The trail was the same, except we were climbing down. It was extremely steep!

 

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The nightmare seemed to go on for ages…

 

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… Until we finally saw the ground leveling out!

 

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Yes! Back to the normal trail!

 

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A 5-min rest for everyone. Threatening clouds were forming but it was only a light drizzle.

 

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& we were off again, until we reached a crossroad where either we continued on the same Macchabée trail or deviate on a much shorter trail. Obviously, everyone went for the shorter trail, not knowing what was coming up next…

 

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Yup, equally treacherous as the previous one…

 

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… but much harder because of the rocks.

 

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The Sun taking a well-deserved rest after his numerous falls. Everyone was just dragging themselves along wondering when will this end?

 

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The tired & battered legs meant more falling ensued…

 

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Ground leveling out… Is it over?

 

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Nope.

 

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At this point, we clearly hearing the sound of running water, a river probably, but we couldn’t place it & the end of the road was nowhere in sight. I believe that was probably the hearing equivalent of a mirage – echoes of a river from afar! :(

 

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A bat in daylight! I missed this one (& this spider as well), but I did spot a bat hovering above us!

 

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It took us a while, and finally we were no longer descending.

 

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Ouf! It was over!

 

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It turned out that the shortcut we took to avoid the Macchabée trail was the Grand Bassin Pilgrim trail which now met up with the Mare aux Joncs trail.

 

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The forest trail was quite dense here with my camera performing poorly in the low-light condition. In fact, I was taking so many photos that my camera malfunctioned & strange icons popped up on my screen! (I couldn’t reproduce it later, but I guess that I had stumbled upon a service menu!)

 

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The end of our journey was near, as we reached the final crossroad…

 

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So the Mare aux Joncs trail actually leads to the Sept Cascades...

 

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As I was lagging behind, I was quite surprised that we weren’t going to Black River, but instead going the other way…

 

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By this time, my shoes were completely ruined & I was starting to get cramps. Still, I had to keep on going…

 

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50m away, I encountered our first stream of the day.

 

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What a sight for someone who had seen enough mud to last for weeks!

 

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Replanting of native species…

 

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Unknown milestone.

 

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& then I saw the reason why we had walked so far right up to the Parakeet trail…


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… OMG! WOW! What a finale!

 

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We had reached the river crossing of the Parakeet trail, the river being Rivière Noire of course.

 

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A few minutes into the icy cold water & our tired legs were rejuvenated!

 

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The river going downstream.

 

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There was also a small grotto in the rock.

 

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We wanted to stay forever at such a heavenly place, but there was a bus waiting for us… Half-heartedly, we returned back to the muddy trail…

 

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With our legs driven by willpower, we encountered a few more streams…

 

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Another one where I soaked my shoes…

 

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& the final one!

 

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At last! We reached the end of our trek! Where another blogger Reena & her 2 kids, Michel & Tasya, were waiting for us…

 

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So, after 12 km of hiking…

 

Gorges Map

... this is how our journey essentially looked liked on Google Maps (part 1 in green & part 2 in red).

 

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Reena had a little surprise for us!

 

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The mud was a finishing touch added by Yashvin. :p

 

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The group photo!

So… that was my very first Blogger’s Meeting & Black River Gorges trek. The hiking was very tough, but we had enormous fun. I had plenty of opportunities to take wonderful photos (& Yashvin was wise not to bring his D5000 along, not when there’s a risk you may fall down). My shoes were ruined, however they held long enough to prevent me from tasting the mud!
For a first-time experience, I’m relieved that I did not fall down! Actually, Tushal, Preetesh & I, we were the only ones who didn’t fall down! It took me 2 days to recover, but it was definitely worth the incredible time I had in the company of my fellow bloggers!

Best moment of the day - the river-crossing… that was magical!

:D

12 comments

Yashvin

+1!

R tous sa fotos la, ti cpv faire ene ti video LOL!
Ene chance ki mone force zotte retourne dans lot direction pu check sa la riviere la, sinon nu ti pu al directe lo parking!

BEST REVIEW of BRG... (Black river gorges) LOL!

Tushal

Watch and Learn . . .
Hey next time, to record. :p

Anonymous

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!

Jotish.G

curiousEngine

Great pics, as usual!
next time you could experiment with videos also, that would be also fun!

for bloggers who could not come for adventure, i suggest another day would be proposed so that the Whole community could meet for a lunch or ice cream simply!

toc toc @bhaiyashvin! lol

Preetesh

Ey mo si mo pa ti tomB!!! Mo si mo ti passe dan la foret :P

carrotmadman6

@Yashvin @Tushal @Ashesh
Haven't tested video a lot on the camera. Will try it next time. :)

Next meeting, I propose a lunch where we'll decide where the adventure will take place! :D


@Preetesh
Added! :P

ReenaDKL

"another blogger Reena & her 2 kids, Michel & Tasya, were waiting for us…"

lol!!! now that i read this!!! very well said: my 2 kids!!!!

when is the next meeting?????????????????????????????????????

carrotmadman6

@Reena
Dunno, will have to ask Yashvin. :)

Preetesh

Read it all over again..want to go there again! xD n thts z best time to go :P :P wiz all z rain...lol!

discovermauritiusisland.com

Your photos really does invite tackling one of these long trails of 'les gorges'... hopefully in a little nicer weather though!

tdellis90

Great blog, would.you mind.sending me some info on the company you did.it with or.the bus services you used at weather end? I am going in a few months also. timdellis@hotmail.com

cheers! X

carrotmadman6

We used a private bus, but you can contact any taxi for more information. :)

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