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Le Pouce Mountain

 

It was not nice of me to have left you high and dry wandering in the wilderness of Le Pouce cloud forest last week. There are also many other interesting things up there unlike on other mountains which are worth having a closer look.

The grasslands and cloud-forest that cover around one hectare of almost flat land will unveil many a secret to the patient and attentive explor­er. And mind you, this will not happen if you just follow the oft-beaten track. Therefore, you have to take the pain of finding your own way through the shrubs and thick vegetation. You will definitely be asking yourself what if a wild bear or any other dangerous creature comes inlo the picture. I can assure you that no such thing will happen on Le Pouce and no one has ever had any such encounter on that mountain. There is also very little chance of losing your way in that thick under- growth, because no matter in which direc­tion you are moving, you will always reach an open plain at any point in time.

 

Departing from the grand and», as you sneak your way through the swirling stems of endemic shrubs hardly two metres high, you will surely came across a few ‘fanjiah’ trees, a rare variety of the fern family that grows vertically, contrary to ferns that spread horizontally on the ground. These trees with dark fibrous trunks have been chopped off for decora­tive purposes. There is another fern vari­ety that hinges to a host tree trunk and snakes its way vertically towards sunlight.

 

Apart from ferns, one can also come across a few varieties of wild orchids perched on high branches that have been lucky enough not to fall into the hands of j the ignorant visitor or part-time street hawker in a haste to make a few bucks and impress his city-dwelling clients.

 

By the way, did you know that even if you were stuck on that mountain you would never die of thirst? That’s no joke because even at a height of some 700 m as you walk eastwards towards Port Louis, you will find a fresh water spring. And just imagine the well deserved reward of splashing cool water over your face which has turned red with the climb and the scorching summer heat.

 

Now that you have cooled off, you need some rest before proceeding to the moun­tain top which is another half an hour climb. From the spring, there is a track eastwards that leads to Tranquebar, a suburb of Port Louis. As you walk down this slope, you will be thrilled at the sjght that will gradually unveil itself. The sight of the city of Port Louis in all its aerial splendour is indeed breathtaking.

 

You can even make ou trade-mark skycrapers like those of the Bank of Mauritius and the MCB along with the Champ de Mars, an amazing view of the activities in the harbour with the brand new blue coloured quay cranes pointing towards the sky. The development and buzz that you see in front of you and the greenery behind you stand in sharp contrast and you will instinctively want to stay where you are, rather than being a part of that hustle.

 

Therefore it would be advisable to climb higher towards the peak of the mountain where another wonderful sight of wild orange-coloured lilies in full bloom greets your eyes. That part of the mountain has its own splendour as it is covered with a variety of high altitude shrubs and moss that grow on the rocks. The view from the top of the mountain that can accommodate some ten people at one time is a must-see.

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