This post is not called part II by chance – who missed the first part: Lustwandler reading recommendation – it is actually about the summit day of the Piton des Neiges, the only 3000 m peak on the island, you can find the article here
Now we are back on today’s route from Refuge de la Caverne Dufour down to Bourg-Murat, about 12 km and about 900 meters of elevation gain, not counting counter ascents. The Plaine des Cafres is signed as 4 ½ hours of walking. Let’s start with a look back at the Refuge de la Caverne Dufour and Piton des Neiges and the ascent path in the lower part after the refuge.
Refuge de la Caverne Dufour und der Piton des Neiges, © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 28mm, 1/60s, Blende 11, ISO 110
In front of us is the Rempart Coteau Kerveguen. In the next picture you can see our path: first along the ridge to the back and then in front of the hill chain to the left. The following two pictures show views back, again with Piton des Neiges in the background.
The path leads through a landscape with exceptionally tall heather bushes, the paths are dug deep into the ground, accordingly we disappear completely in the vegetation and rarely have the great views that you see here in the photos. The path is partly stony, partly slippery and with high steps down. After about 2 hours we reach the hill chain that we saw from above, and now we walk along this hill chain.
Scenically, this part of the trail is one of the most beautiful sections. To the left and to the right of the path, we are enchanted by a microcosm of different plants.
Shortly after noon, we decide that the time has come for an extensive break. Comfortably perched on a log in the middle of the dense forest, we are snacking and giving our feet a break. While we sit and chat, I see out of the angle of my eye a movement on the path – but the unknown creature had not expected an encounter either and escapes into the bushes. There it is quiet at first, then a rustle here, a rustle there – and a cameraman slowly stalking. And there we have the fellow, the research at home reveals that it is probably a large Tenrek.
Großer Tenrek (Tenrec ecaudatus), © Markus Proske — NIKON Z 7, NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 70mm, 1/160s, Blende 2.8, ISO 560
After this surprising meet we go on, further up and down in the jungle, tending of course far more down.
Meanwhile, we have been walking in a fine, warm rain for some time. It is so pleasant on the skin that we do without rain protection. The ground itself has also been very wet, slippery, muddy and in places even underwater for some time. Swamp from below and warm rain from above – this results in a balanced mixture of wet. Elisabeth would like to intensify the effect a bit and sinks up to half her shins during an unsuccessful jump!
On the left and on the right of the way there is still a lot to discover, we often stop an are amazed and of course one or the other photo is taken.
We continue to hike through the rainforest in a dreamy way, but suddenly something happens. We literally fall out of the jungle – suddenly it’s over, and we are standing almost transitionless in a completely different landscape.
La Plaine des Cafres! And our tropical adventure vacation suddenly turns into a mountain farm vacation. What a contrast!
By the way, we needed a good 7 hours with breaks and photo stops for the stated 4 ½ hours. The rest is quickly told: It goes now still un-difficult along the pastures to a small gravel road with parking, then you would follow the gravel road 2 km to the N3. The GR R2 continues tomorrow from the N3, our night’s lodging in Bourg-Murat is about 5 kilometers south. We are lucky that other hikers have called a cab and can go to Bourg-Murat at 16:30 with a contribution to the travel costs.
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