Apothecary's Bounty

Apothecary's Bounty

Dispatch by Delano Lavigne
Photo by Jimmy Martinello

“What time is? It’s hiking time!”

This phrase immediately became the refrain of the day once our veteran guide Peter Green (a.k.a Bushman) greeted us near the quiet mountain town of Laudat. 

Before we took a single step towards Morne de Trois Piton and Dominica’s famous boiling lake, Bushman Green, as I endearingly think of him, had us well trained for the long hike ahead. 

So, like a discordant choir Jimmy, Zach and I repeated the response, “its hiking time” as best we could but were more focused on the amazing wealth of knowledge that our veteran guide was eager to share with us.
Within the first few kilometers we learned that the island has 23 species of land crabs, 200 varieties of fern plants, 76 different orchids, 40 varieties of mangoes (yum!), 3 species of iguanas, 6 species of lizards and no, I repeat no, venomous snakes, spiders, or insects. 

During our hike we were also treated to a rainforest apothecary that consisted of leaves, barks, roots and sap. There was wild and intensely fresh smelling lemon grass, ginger root, deliciously spicy water crest, a plant that I sadly cannot remember the name of but had the near precise taste of a sour green apple and is rumoured to help with common colds. We learned of the island’s infamous Bois Bande, a rust coloured bark that Bushman Green discreetly informed us is an aphrodisiac. He said with a fair smile, “puts you in the mood to make you groove.” We came across more of the island’s gummier trees but learned that it has been used for more than building canoes. The sap of the tree is used in church as incense and by the locals as a fire starter.

The sheer volume of information was overwhelming but also incredibly inspiring. After almost 8 hours of hiking I have come to terms that this island is a paradise not only for its beauty but also its bounty.  

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