Hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée 

 

(Mount / Mont  Pelée)

is an active volcano on the island of Martinique in the lesser Antilles (south eastern Caribbean).

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

It is famous for the destruction of Sainte Pierre and the death of 30,000 people caused by an eruption in 1902 which was dubbed the

Worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century!

 

Edit: I just found this cool smithsonian site about the Global Volcanism Program and Pelée.  Click here to read more.

 

I’ll write more about the disaster when I share photos and stories from Saint-Pierre sometime later. This post is all about our lovely hike up to the top of the volcano.

 

Edit- sometime later I wrote another post about Saint-Pierre. Click here to check it out!

Also, I did another post about a few things around Fort-de-France. Click here to check that one out!

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

I know, when you think “active volcano” and see these photos, you’re wondering where is all the lava and magma!??!??  Mt Pelée is currently quiescent and is grown over with vegetation, but is suspected to erupt again in the future.

 

memegenerator

 

There are 3 different hikes up to the crater:

Desiles hike: from Macouba.  This is the longest and least-trodden trail

L’Aileron: from Morne Rouge. This is a relatively popular one and was recommended by this blogger

La Grande Savane: from Le Prêcheur. This is the trail we chose and is another popular option.

 

Mt Pelee hiking trail map

 

Mt Pelee hiking trail map

 

La Grande Savanne trail to the top of Montagne Pelée

 

On D10 just south of Le Prêcheur there is a sign to this Mt Pelee hike. Take the road inland; as most roads in Martinique, this one is very windy and narrow. The road ends at the sign above with a tiny parking area (not an obvious parking lot by any means).

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

There is a jeep road that continues to the right. I have no clue where this road goes. A few trail guides we found tell us to take this route as the beginning of the hike. However, there is a marked trail just to the right of the sign. Since 2 other groups of hikers took this trail before we set off, we decided to follow them up this trail.

The trail starts off easy enough, up a gentle incline, through trees, and even over a nice bridge! Note- this bridge is your only moment of almost flat walking! Every other moment of the hike is on an incline. Be in decent shape or you might get exhausted quickly (or just take your time and hike more slowly).

Martinique- hiking a volcano

A view looking down the mountain at the bridge.  This is very close to the entrance of the hike

 

 

The majority of the hike is out in the open sun, so

WEAR SUNSCREEN

and be sure to reapply.

Two fair ladies hiking in the Martinique sun… and we even wore sunscreen… let me just say it was bad. I am not sharing photos of our awful sunburns.

 

 

I digress….back to the hike! Behold the beauty!

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

This looks like it belongs in the shire! I LOVE THE SHIRE! Thus, I love this hike.

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 We pretended that I was Frodo and my friend was Sam

We were delivering the ring to toss in the fires of Mt Doom

Luckily, we did not encounter Shelob nor any orcs

 

 

The hike in different parts has gravel, stairs, rocks, grass, and overall is very well maintained. Know that there are times that are more of a scramble (using hands and climbing up rocks). I’m quite certain this is the case for all of the hikes up to the top of Mt Pelée, so any folks wanting to brave the volcano should be active.

 

 

There is a lot of interesting and lovely vegetation to be found up here too:

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

I love this guy- he looks as though he belongs underwater!

 

 

Up to the crater

Once you arrive to the crater rim, there is a posted sign with multiple direction options. One of them looks as though it is straight up (and it is), but it leads directly to the shack structure.

From here, one can hike up to chinois, the summit- which is another hour or so round trip (from the shack).

Continuing around the back of the shack is a trail which continues the crater rim loop and will bring you back to the posted sign.

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

On an extremely clear day, one can see to the neighboring islands, but clear days are very rare on the island.  We were lucky to not be engulfed in the cloud when we reached the crater rim. Though on the hike down, the cloud began rolling in:

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

Timing:

 

The hike up to the crater rim should take 1.5-2 ish hours one direction.

The hike around the crater rim is said to take 2 or so hours.  Since I left my hiking partner at the crater rim trail “head,” I did not hike the full loop, but went straight up to the shack and came back- which took approximately an hour round trip.

The hike from the shack to Chinois- the summit- is said to take an hour+ round trip.

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

The hike was beautiful and exhausting. Our  legs were a bit shaky at the end of the hike.

We took the following day “off” and relaxed a bit to rest our tired legs and sunburnt necks. I highly recommend hiking at least up to the crater.  It is certainly an experience!

 

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

Would you like to see photos of another adventure?

 

Click here to learn about my hike through Partnachklamm- a beautiful gorge in Germany

 

Or click here to learn about my hike over the top of the O2 in London

 

 

Thank you for visiting, and as usual, please let me know if you have any questions about this trip or if you would like to know more about an area you are traveling to- I might have been there and can expedite a post for you!

 

 

  • Have you ever hiked a volcano? Would you like to?

 

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Love a Tree Day!

Were you aware that “Love a Tree Day” is a national holiday?

 

hug a tree you treehugger

Photograph taken in Portugal outside of Monserrate Palace

 

 

Well, it is!  It occurs every April 16th.

 

If you wanted to celebrate, you could look into making your backyard a certified wildlife habitat!

 

Or just see what the National Wildlife Federation has as suggestions for how to celebrate Love a Tree Day.

 

Or, check out my tree-inspired photo gallery below (I love me some trees)

 

tree path

Path of trees in Switzerland

 

 redwood tree

Redwood tree in California

 

tree copenhagen

Tree in a park in Copenhagen, Denmark

 

sun through the tree

 Sunlight through the tree branches in Big Sur, CA

 

~bonzai

Bonzai trees at EPCOT during Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival.

Click here for a link to the post.

 

cool tree

Red River Gorge, KY on a climbing adventure…. I just loved how this tree bended itself around the rock.

 

~cool tree

 Funky tree in Glendalough, Ireland.  

Click here for the first post on Glendalough… there are more to come!

 

UT tree

Cool dead tree in Zion National Park, UT

 

trees berlin wall

A forest painted on the Berlin wall

 

awesome tree house Florida Everglades

Cool climbing tree in a hostel in the Florida Everglades.

 

trees portugal

Sunlight through the trees outside of Castelo dos Mouros in Portugal

 

fall foliage

Autumn colors on the trees in Germany.

Click here for the post about Partnachklamm, the gorge where this photo was taken.

 

 

 

Or, visit my page on ways to celebrate Earth Day

(since trees and the earth go hand in hand)

earth day

 

 

All of the photos above were taken by me (well, except for the photos with me IN them, of course) on one of my random adventures.

If you would like to know more about any of these adventures and see more photographs, feel free to contact me or write in the comments and I will expedite a post on the topic you request!

 

 

  • Do you have any fantastic tree quotes or photos?  Please share them below!
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Top of the O2- London

Did you know that you can climb over the o2 in London?  The experience is called

Up at the O2

 

It’s about a 90 minute walk (on very strange “ground” with varying levels of steepness).  You’re harnessed in and wearing a SUPER-COOL onesie for the journey.

 

For those who are not aware: the o2 is the large arena in London, and where a number of my shows have played.

 

 

top of the o2 view

To learn more about the experience, visit the website by clicking here.

 

And because you love ridiculous videos of me spinning the camera around, here’s my tour of the top:

 

 

It’s nothing like rock-climbing, though would be strenuous if you have difficulty with hills.  You are tethered in, so it’s completely safe.  They also require you to remove all large objects, so do not expect to carry your HDyadayada camera up to the top with you (they do allow a small camera or phone, if it fits in the pocket of the onesie).

 

 

Speaking of which… you know that super-awesome onesie I mentioned?  Here’s a photo of me rockin’ it!

top of the o2

 

 

  •  Would you have done the climb?
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