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Thursday, November 19, 2015

St. Lucia Week: Walking the Tet Paul Nature Trail

I’ve always enjoyed taking nature walks, especially in tropical settings where the guide tells me the medicinal qualities of all the leaves and herbs. I’m all for natural remedies to my ailments. So when I heard about the Tet Paul Trail, outside of Soufriere, I had to throw it into my itinerary. Little did I know that the 45-minute long trail offers one of the best views of the Pitons, those volcanic twin peaks that has mesmerized me these past two days. The Tet Paul is run by the local community, and my guide, Macgyver, knew every tree, bush, herb, and fruit like the back of his hand. He also took wonderful panoramic photos with my Apple phone. 
 
Located in a farming community 2,000 feet above sea level, everything seems to grow here. Fruit grows straight on the bark of the soursop tree, whose young leaves are supposedly good for the prostate when soaked in hot water. In fact, it seems as if St. Lucians use tea for all their woes. Rosemary leaves are good for migraines, fennel a digestif. MacGyver picked bay leaves, lemongrass, and mint for me to smell. He pointed to ripe guavas, pineapples, cashews, apricots, the sour orange, used in many fish dishes, star fruit, passion fruit, limes, and mocambos, small bananas great for frying. We passed elephant ear ferns, the red gingerlily flower, the prickly bark of the gri-gri palm tree, which locals call the “devil stick.” 
 
“Now let’s climb the stairway to heaven,” says MacGyver, and we walk up stairs to a platform overlooking Gros Piton and his little brother, Petit Piton. The view is astounding. “Welcome to my home,” he says as I stare down in amazement at the spanking white beach below, part of the Sugar Beach resort. “Thanks,” I respond, “but I’m not leaving, Macgyver. I’m going to build a little shack down the road from you and grow yams.” He laughs as I make a mental note to spend at least two weeks on Saint Lucia my next trip. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/19/15 at 05:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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