My itinerary while in Nevis was jam-packed with fun and educational activities but none appealed to my inner adventure junkie more than a hike to the 6 waterfalls of Nevis Peak.
Now, before you get all excited, I did not hike all the way to the peak of this 3,232 ft monster volcano. One will need to be in incredible physical shape and have enough stamina for the 4 our trek up this beast, both of which yours truly lacks. So, on a Saturday morning I put on my carefully selected hiking attire and fairly new sneakers and was totally looking the part of hiker.
After meeting up with with the rest of the group and a very satisfying breakfast later, our little group of 4 drove up to the Prison Farm where we were scheduled to meet our guide, Nevis Peak Connoisseur Kenneth Dore.
Kenneth lead us up the hill which at first was quite a pleasant walk through the dry forest. The higher we hiked the denser the forest got and I quickly realized that we were now in the humid part of it, which meant that we were definitely getting up there in altitude. The vegetation up here was different, the hike steeper, the sunlight dimmer and the tree roots definitely bigger.
It is impossible not to stop once and a while to admire the beauty of the forest and to listen to the sounds of the different animals in the surroundings. Animals like the Redneck Pigeon and the Green Vervet Monkeys the island is so well known for.
We finally reached Waterfall number 1, in my opinion the prettiest. The water was super clear which allowed us to see the crayfish (fresh water lobster) hiding between the rocks at the bottom. This is where we stopped to drink some water and to freshen up before continuing an even steeper hike up to the other waterfalls.
I looked around for a path but didn’t see any until Kenneth pointed up. We had to haul ourselves up with the help of a rope. On the way we passed waterfall number 2 but didn’t stop. It would have take too long to hike down to it only to hike back up.
Waterfalls 3 and 4 were beautiful, even though they weren’t exactly Niagara Falls. Apparently the waterfalls are more spectacular in the rainy season. This is unfortunately also the least favorable time to hike up there as the mountain tends to change with the rain. The couple that was on the hike with us decided to make this their last stop and stayed here while the rest of the small group continued onwards to 5 and 6.
The trail to Waterfall number 5 was interesting, to say the least. If you have been on my social media lately you would have seen the short video I posted at this particular point of the hike. The trail got uneven and narrower and swung around a wall of rocks. I was advised not to look down. It was a straight drop down to waterfall number 3 from here. Definitely a fall that would leave you with a few broken bones.
Once safely around the rock wall we had to climb up a small stream of water while holding on to rocks until we reached waterfall number 5. By now I was just too exhausted to bother with pictures. My faithful companion through all this decided that she too has seen enough. So then there were two.
I asked Kenneth panting, desperately trying to suck in as much oxygen as possible into my lungs, how far number 6 was. “It’s just up there”, he said. I followed his finger as he pointed upwards to an almost vertical climb. I swallowed hard as I tried to figure out how in the name of Jesus I was going to get up there. But there was no way I was going to get all the way to the fifth waterfall and turn back. So up and up I went. I am still not entirely sure where I got the upper arm strength from to pull myself up with the ropes placed there by Kenneth himself, but I did. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing.
I don’t like using words like “disappointment” and “regret”, but I was a bit disillusioned when I finally got to number 6. I was expecting a magical and impressive force of water gushing down from rocks covered in green. Especially after that exhausting hike. What I got was a little tinkle, dripping in a tiny puddle.
I was elated nonetheless to have made it this far and not even the tiny size of the last waterfall on the hike was going to break my spirits. That is until I heard Kenneth say that it was time to go back. What? There’s no air conditioned car hidden in the bushes to take us down? Perhaps a helicopter? How in the hell did he expect me to get down this steep hill? It was already torture getting up there.
My arms and legs were exhausted. I lacked the strength to drop myself down the steep rock wall, hike down the steep path and climb over tree roots. To make matters worse, my new sneakers started to disintegrate, proving once again that there is no such thing as an honest vendor selling “brand” names.
“That’s it”, I thought. I silently resorted myself to the fact that I was going to have to stay here, next to the small puddle. I had my water supply and surely the monkeys would accept me as one of them. I was going to live in the forest like Mowgli and become the new tourist attraction. Hike up the Nevis Peak to see the Jungle Woman.
Kenneth again interrupted my crazy thoughts and encouraged me to start climbing down. My legs were jelly but by now I was also hungry and the thought of a nice hot lunch and a dip in the pool back at the hotel was too appealing to pass up. Jungle Woman and the monkeys would have to wait for another day.
The sole of my sneaker was kind enough to wait until the last leg of the return trip to completely detach. Kenneth, true forest man that he is helped me tie it up with my laces so I could finish the hike. But here you have it, ladies and gentleman. This is how I lost my sole hiking up the Nevis Peak waterfalls.
The hike to the 6 waterfalls is gorgeous and well worth it. The forest itself is breathtakingly beautiful. Although I did not get to see any monkeys on this hike, I could hear them all around us and I could definitely smell them.
Kenneth is a true expert and knows the forests like the back of his hand. Nevis Peak has been his playgrounds since he was 12 and he was instrumental in creating some of the trails. He is always up there trying to make new ones, chipping into rock walls and installing safety ropes. He once guided a lost group of hikers back to safety via phone. As a fireman and member of the search and rescue team, you are safe in his hands.
There are several guides available and it is strongly advised not to do this hike or any involving the forests without one. I can definitely concur when I saw how easy it is to get lost up there. Nevis Peak has no mercy.
The hike to waterfall 1 is easy, to waterfalls 2, 3 and 4 intermediate, while 5 and 6 are definitely more intense. As for the hike all the way up to the peak: That is something reserved only for the super fit, with a conscious mind for the 4 hour hike.
If you too are interested in hiking up to the 6 waterfalls with Kenneth, send him an email here.
Have you ever done this hike? If yes, what was your experience like?
*All opinions expressed above are my own. The hike up to the 6 waterfalls was part pf a press trip organized by the Nevis Tourim Authority.