Grand Etang Circle
|Many, many sticks of bamboo along this walk.|
Time: 1 hour, round trip. Difficulty: 2-3. The trail is marked. Trailhead: Located at the Grand Etang parking area on the extension of State Road 4, about 2km west of the Grande Chasse Residence.
The circle of Grand Etang not only permits you to see the lake from different perspectives, it is also noteworthy for the plants and crayfish that live in its waters.
Park, and take the concrete road to the edge of the pond (about 300 meters), where a sign directs you to begin the circle to the right. The wide trail ventures into a dense forest characterized by tall trees with powerful aerial roots, and by many epiphytes.
On the first part of the hike, the pond is scarcely visible. However, you will see great clumps of bamboo, which make an eerie creaking when the wind blows the reeds together.
Abundant all around the pond, bamboo was introduced from Asia centuries ago on sites like this one, then transplanted just about everywhere in Guadeloupe .
After about 10 minutes, you'll reach a marked fork in the trail. The path to the right allows you to get back to Moscou and the Gourbeyre via the switchbacks of the Etangs trail described in Hike 19.
Continuing straight ahead, the lake appears on the left, its edges overgrown with aquatic plants. As you progress, a rustling sound becomes clearer: the stream feeding Etang As de Pique, whose divided bed you cross in three stages. Soon after, it rises several meters above the level of the pond.
Little by little, through scattered vegetation, you begin to really discover Grand Etang and the grasses and mosses circling it.
You may see a thrush or a kingfisher at the lake edge. Grand Etang used to have a reputation as a birdwatcher's paradise but the area has been overhunted.
At the southeast corner of the pond, you'll discover an enormous isolated rock in the water, decorated with plants and shrubs. Next, the trail passes above the subterranean flow of the pond, which is audible.