Day 1: Gîte de la Plaine des Chicots (1.839 m)
Ascent through the mystical rainforest
The tropical mixed forest that is so special in Reunion is called Fôrets de bois de couleurs (roughly “colored wood forest”) because of the many different colors of the trees. The forest needs regular humidity, in the humid east of the island it starts already at low altitudes, in the dry west only from 700 m altitude. A distinction is made between the Fôrets de bois de couleurs des Bas (lowlands) and the Fôrets de bois de couleurs des Hauts. The latter are the rainforests of the high altitudes, these are much denser, the trees grow less high and are strongly colonized by mosses and lichens. In the east, you can find them in some cases already from 700 m, in the west only from 1,100 m altitude.
Started at the Mamode Camp hikers’ parking lot at 1,200 m altitude, we have now passed the 1,500 altitude mark. The clouds hang low in the forest, the air is extremely humid. Two very typical plants of the tropical mixed forest, which you will see on many pictures, we would like to introduce to you now: Tree ferns and bearded lichens.
At 18:30 we have dinner. Rum punch, vegetable soup with noodles, sausage (pork) with beans and rice and a fruit salad from a can. At dinner we chat with Valérie and Benoît, who are at home in the north of France, as well as Linda and her friend, who live on a Caribbean island, and two other Frenchmen. They all complain about the damp accommodation and the cold – not only the rooms, but also the dining room is not heated. So at least we have something to talk about right away.
At 9:00 pm we go to sleep and hope that we do not get a cold right on the first day …
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