Matt and I decided we needed to get up and move. We had not been hiking since the Marquesas (several weeks) and needed to re-engage our legs. The only drawback is that we have had lots and lots of rain since we arrived. So, we knew it would be a wet and wild hike.
We started out on the main road heading over the ridge. Along the way we passed by the local school. This is the only school in the Gambiers and it was in need of some lovin the last time we were here. It was great to see that they were building new classrooms for the young people.
Tombeau de Roi
Further down the road we came across the “King’s Tomb” which is called Tombeau de Roi. We couldn’t read the head stones, but I imagine that it will be grave sites of the past chiefs and rulers of the Gambiers.
Meteo France Station de Riktea
Just past the Tombeau de Roi is the weather station called Meteo France Station de Rikitea. We explored the facility but missed the opportunity to see them launch the weather balloon. Evidently, they launch the weather balloon on weekdays at 1400 which would have been fun to see.
Couvent de Rouru
After the road turned into a dirt road and about 1 mile down, we stumbled across an old convent. The name is Couvent de Rouru. As you walk up the green grassy path you walk along an old stone wall. There were two stone buildings still standing on property. The first is still proudly standing, albeit in ruins. Plants, trees, and vines are trying their best to take over (upper right corner photo). Inside there is one carved cross still visible.
Further inside is another stone ruin plopped in the middle of the grassy field. Behind the convent was a gorgeous arch that leads to a grassy path below the trees.
We stumbled across the baptismal pond which needed some serious lovin as it was not something you wanted to be baptized in. Hidden in the floral bushes was a mound marked by a sign that read “Baignoire de J.A. Princesse.” Climbing up the mound is the pond overlooking the bay.
INSERT 3 COLLAGE (dated 24 May)
Chemin des 12 Apotres
We finally get to the start of the trail, Chemin des 12 Apotres (12 Apostles) which had a nice little sign, some old ruins, and a carved stone at the entrance.
Within the first ½ mile we came across more ruins hidden in the trees waiting for someone to explore them.
The path was incredibly muddy, slippery, and wet. Just a small part of the wet and wild hike. But the good news is we came across several waterfalls that were flowing nicely with the recent rainfalls.
A huge squall hit us about 2 hours into our hike. We hid under a giant rock to avoid being drenched. It only lasted for about 15-20 minutes.
We had our Garmin GPS and maps.me to prevent us from getting lost. But, you know how that goes. The trail we were on was not on either instrument. But what we could tell was that the road which ran above us had ended. Yikes. We decided to try to find a path up to the road to head back. We were about 3.5 miles into our hike at this time.
Forging Our Own Path
There were no trails, not even goat trails. We started up the hill and realized our path was covered in raspberry bushes. Which sounds pleasant at first considering we did not bring lunch and we were starving. But then reality sinks in as these bushes are covered in lovely little prickles that stick hard and deep into everything! And to top it off, the raspberries were not ready for pickin! So, we decided to go up the little river/waterfall to limit the amount of whacking we had to do to clear a path.
Matt led the way with a giant tree stump and whacked the path for both of us (so sweet). Up we climb the waterfall, across stumps, boulders and debris. Super slippery, wet, and challenging.
After about 1.5 hours of climbing we finally came across a dirt road, thank God! We were both so tired and sore from being stuck by bushes. I wanted to show you how high we had to whack our way to the top, but the bottom photo does do it justice.
When it was all said and done, our wet and wild hike was 5 hours, 6.4 miles, 15,520 steps and 33 floors.