I was feeling down. Bad news does that to a person. And when I'm feeling sad I do what I always do--get some exercise.
The vigorous 13 kilometer (8 mile) hike to Dominica's Boiling Lake would do the trick! Nothing like a good heart-pumping stomp up and down a mountain to get the endorphins flowing in the brain to wipe away those blues.
The Boiling Lake is a roiling, frothing, bubbling cauldron of toxic grey-blue water 60 meters across (180 ft.) and can reach a temperature of 92 degrees Celsius (197 Farenheit).
To be honest, it isn't the lake itself that is the greatest attraction. After all, no one likes to be in second place, but I'm afraid that Dominica's Boiling Lake plays second fiddle to Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand.
The real attraction is the gorgeous jungle scenery on the way there. Take a look:
|Boiling Lake at upper left. Valley of Desolation bottom right.|
But let's jump back to the beginning. I was feeling depressed. After hitching a ride to the tiny village of Laudat, I was greeted by a small white dog, most likely the village mutt.
To understand the wonder of the story I'm about to tell you, you must understand that I'm not particularly fond of dogs or any other domesticated animal. So when this small white dog greeted me, I didn't encourage it by saying, "Here boy!" I didn't pet its flea-bitten head. I didn't give it any food. But for some reason, this small white dog was persistently friendly and wouldn't stop following me.
Could this small white dog sense my sadness and wanted to cheer me up? Or could he smell the lunch in my backpack? Either way, this dog's unexplainable glee at accompanying me distracted me from the storm of dark thoughts that swirled in my mind.
Before I began climbing, Nature called. Little white dog followed me into the bush and watched from a polite distance while I cleared my bowels. And I do mean cleared...this was no polite little turd. This was a cow-pie sized mountain of mush worthy of any bovine, and the little white dog loved it!
Yes, that's right. Little white dog greedily devoured every last drop of that disgusting dump. He almost seemed to smile as he licked his lips saying, "Thanks for breakfast, pal!"
That is how Poop Face got her name. Without a doubt, I was now Poop Face's best friend.
Poop Face wasn't alone. There were 3 other non-descript dogs I couldn't be bothered to name. Here they are:
There was one that looked like Poop Face with a little darker patch on its face and then the other two. Poop Face was definitely the leader (as you can see in the above photo) and she was the one to convince all her friends to follow me up the mountain. She was probably hoping for a lunch just as scrumptious as breakfast, but no luck there.
In fact, I don't know if these dogs realized what they were getting themselves into. This was a long and difficult hike. I thought for sure that after a few minutes they would give up. But no! For some unfathomable reason, they kept following me. The novelty of this situation made me completely forget my gloominess. I was beginning to enjoy having an entourage!
After about an hour, I crossed the first of several streams. At first this seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle that Poop Face and friends had never faced before. These lazy village mutts had probably never had to cross a stream before. Here they are, about to give up:
Notice that lazy shaggy dog just flops down in the stream to cool off, while only Poop Face behind it seems genuinely worried about losing her new friend because she can't figure out how to get across. The other two just look apathetic and would just as soon go home to Laudat.
But Poop Face proved me wrong again. To my amazement, she didn't give up until she found some stepping stones to hop across. Once on the other side, she barked and yelped at her friends to come on over. And they all did!
But we were not even halfway there. We crossed several more streams, and every time, Poop Face found a way across for her friends. She yapped encouragement to her doggy pals to not give up, and they all, albeit hesitantly, crossed over each and every stream.
Poop Face and friends looked taken aback at the strange sight of the boiling river in the Valley of Desolation. All that steam and hissing sulfur jets seemed a bit disconcerting:
Nevertheless, we all trudged our way up through the last valley toward the Boiling Lake. Here they are waiting for me to catch up after I took a few pics:
"Awwww...what a cute doggie! Here, girl! Did you come here all alone? Where did you come from? Are you tired? Are you hungry?" and on and on it went...
When I appeared, it was, "Oh, you have such a cute dog! And what a good hiker to come all this way with you!"
"It's not my dog," I corrected.
"What?! It isn't your dog?" they all exclaimed in unison.
"No. This dog and the others," I motioned to the lazy mutts now appearing, "followed me all the way from Laudat. I don't know why..."
"Well, they must like you. They must know a good person when they see one."
But inside I felt warm fuzzies at the unremitting companionship these 4 dogs had given me all the way to the Boiling Lake. They had really cheered me up.
Too bad for the dogs that I didn't have any food to give them.
What? You think I could have shared my lunch? Are you kidding? I needed all that energy for myself for the hike back!
OK....I gave them all a few morsels from my lunch....
Poop Face was so tired she fell asleep sitting up:
After an hour and half of resting and napping, Poop Face and friends followed me all the way back to Laudat. The moment they got to their village, they all trotted off without even saying goodbye or looking back once.
Just goes to show how fickle their friendship was! Huh!
I will never forget Poop Face and friends and our hike to the Boiling Lake of Dominica.
If you want to see more photos of the Boiling Lake and of those stupid dogs (just kidding!) please go to Kolin's Travels Facebook page by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top of this blog.
See you next week right here for another informative and fun article about Dominica--the Nature Island.
Thanks for visiting Kolin's Travels!