La Réunion #1: hiking Cirque de Cilaos

“The island of gatherings” really fits the 2,500 km^2 island in the indian ocean. It is like a melting point of everything this world has to offer; vegetation-wise as well as culture- and religion-wise. Every few switchbacks, which cover most of the interior of the island and are not always passable to drive, Réunion is able to completely change its face. At some point I thought I could just as well be in New Zealand until I reached the next waterfall that set me to Hawaii. Within a few days, I got to hike from lush green mountain ranges over stone desert of the volcano Piton de la Fournaise to where the banana/papaya and litchi trees returned in the rain forest. I hope to expose this biological diversity as well as everything I got to see therebetween within my next posts.

Let’s take one thing at a time, beginning with the first stop: Cilaos. It took 400 switchbacks to get into this tiny mountain village that welcomes passionate wanderers at the very most. When I was younger I used to get very excited whenever I skied through a cloud. In Cilaos though, they live in the clouds. I was instantly revived by the fresh air and motivated to enter the door to the widths of Cirque de Cilaos and Cirque de Mafate. Every morning the sun would overpower the cold of the night so that it was the perfect hiking weather.

IMG_5818IMG_5764IMG_5820IMG_5821The valley of Cirque de Cilaos:IMG_5816Natural picture frames really are the bestIMG_5780IMG_5781IMG_5817IMG_5782Whereas one can decamp in the afternoon to explore the valley of Cilaos and enjoy the golden evening sun shining through the forest, you have got to get up early to hike the mountains. Because at noon it suddenly becomes very foggy so that you can barely see around you. In Mafate I hiked my first 2000m even though we already started at 1000 m 😛 It took three hours to get to the top of Col du TaÏbit. The view was amazing until the fog overtook us during the last 10 minutes. So my final prospect was a white wall that covered all the stairs back down with water.IMG_5819IMG_5834IMG_5832IMG_5830IMG_5791IMG_5789IMG_5784IMG_5829IMG_5835Les Trois Salazes -> the three small rocks on top of the mountainsIMG_5833IMG_5785IMG_5790IMG_5797IMG_5798IMG_5796IMG_5799

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