15N - Crossing the Island

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Do you like hiking? Are you a mountain-lover? A nature enthusiast? A thrill-seeker? A fitness freak? If so, then you would have been welcome to join me on my long trek across Reunion Island! 5 days, 4 nights, and 90 kilometres!

Day 1 started in the beautiful village of Saint-Joseph down in the south, where a nice couple gave me a lift to the stunning waterfall in Grand Galet, known as Cascade Langevin. From here the valley leads all the way up to the Plaine des Sables, and when I arrived there four hours later, I really felt like I had landed on Mars! At 2300m, that night was freezing, despite my eight blankets!

However, it was Day 2 which really blew my mind. I discovered one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Even after 14 years here I didn’t think that the island would still reveal such a sight. It is called l’Oratoire Saint-Therese - from here you can see the volcano, the Plaine des Sables, the Piton des Neiges, and even the west and east coasts. Simply breath-taking. That night was spent with my wonderful friends and family at the Gîte de Belouve.

So far, so good! No blisters, no muscle problems and no mishaps, despite the tangled roots through the forest from Piton Textor down to La Plaine des Palmistes… Day 3 wasn’t easy either: up to the Piton des Neiges and down into Cilaos, where I stayed in a cosy wooden chalet called Gîte de la Roche Merveilleuse.

I always knew that Day 4 would be the biggest challenge: the daunting ascent of the Col du Taibit, the mountain pass at 2100m between Cilaos and Mafate. After that I ran through Marla, and had time for a quick swim at Trois Roches. My final night was spent with friends in Roche Plate, before the final hurdle on Day 5: climbing up Le Maido. Even after 90km, I still had the energy to reach the top in 1h15 - my record!

The long hours of solitude were refreshing and each step was a real reward. This island is a real treasure - yes, we are lucky to live in such a place, but I’ll always say: you make your own luck. I don’t believe that each person has a destiny, but maybe we all have a destination. I’ve found mine - what about you?

Vocabulary:

hiking = randonner

thrill-seeker = amateur de sensations fortes

stunning = éblouissant

landed = atterri

freezing = glacial

blanket = couverture

it blew my mind = ça m’a époustouflé

breath-taking = à couper le soufflé

blister = ampoule

mishap = mésaventure

tangled roots = racines emmêlées

daunting = intimidant

hurdle = obstacle

reward = récompense

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