The Other Mauritius – Still lost in the forest

We headed along the track further east, meeting up with the route I did from le Petrin.  But we decided we did not want to walk on the road, so again cut through the forest.  Forests often disorientate, and plantations are the worse.  Where you think those straight tracks would be easy to orientate, you often find they come to dead ends or are impassable due to waterlogging or fallen branches.  Worse still you think you are heading in a certain direction but imperceptible bends confuse your sense of direction.  A combination of a few of these small changes, and then coming to a junction where you fatally turn left instead of continuing straight on can take you miles from your intended destination.  We saw evidence that others had been through this way, but not human.  Along the side of many tracks were extensive excavation of the surface.  It was not as if someone had scuffed their shoes on the soil, it was almost like trenches were being dug to improve the drainage either side of the pathway.  But if they were trenches they were being placed in the most bizarre locations and they stopped as abruptly as they started.  Added to that the soil was scattered all over the place.  It eventually dawned on me that a hog had made these tracks.  I had heard that some wild boar still existed in Mauritius.  Introduced as a game meat they had been hunted in Black River for many years.  Now that Black River was a protected area, a national park no less, the boar were able to roam free from any predators.  But their impact was heavy – they grubbed up soil everywhere, demolished small shrubs and, so I heard, were quite scary if confronted when they were with young.  We did not see any although sometimes we heard noises off in the forest that our imaginations decided could have been a pack of boar.

The weather was dull and the forest muffled noises and helped to disorientate ourselves.  We occasionally could hear a vehicle, but since two roads were in this area, one to the east and another to the south, it was difficult to determine from which the sound was coming.  It did not help the southern road was not straight, and we actually emerged on to it much further to the east than where we wanted to.

It meant we had to dodge the traffic – although light it did increase as the morning went on.  The forest thins up here to a wild moorland, predominantly of this red guava tree.  We did find a track that was parallel to the road and were able to enjoy a more civilised walk for a while.  In theory we should have been getting epic views over the south of the island now, but the cloud base was low and a mist had formed below it.  When we finally reached the best view point in the whole park, the sun had started to burn away the morning cloud.

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