I suggested in our last post that there was a chance that Rebecca and I might end up on top of Mount Pelée. The truth is that there was more than a chance. That was, in fact, our real reason for renting a car and traveling up island.
After doing some research, and determining that the most enjoyable route to the peak was via the Aileron trail, we spent the night at Auberge de la Montagne Pelée, a cool group of cabins located just down from the trailhead. The hiking instructions that we read suggested that to get the best views during the climb, it was best to start early, really early, in order to beat the clouds which typically roll in mid-afternoon. Being the troopers that we are, we started up the trail at 5:48 AM. As the photos below will show though, the vast majority of our hike was done in cloud cover. In fact, the clouds only just started to break after we had begun our descent from the top. So much for that intel!
Even though we may have enjoyed better views had we departed later in the day, and had been able to have breakfast (and coffee!) at the hotel, being first on the trail allowed us to hike at our own pace. On the way down we passed no less that 80 other hikers making their way up the trail! Yes, we counted. At one point, not far from the trailhead, we were passed by a family with a couple of small kids. After exchanging pleasantries, a woman in the group asked me if it was much farther. I wasn’t sure exactly how far she had planned to go but I replied honestly, “Uh, yeah, it is. A lot!” She was not happy to hear that. 🙂