Life doesn’t stop just because it rains

This is the most adventurous trail I’ve ever done in my life. We were trekking through Black River Gorges in the bush while it was raining most of the day.

I grew up in Vancouver, Canada where it rains most of the year so I’ve gotten used to it. But most people refuse to go out at all as soon as it rains since it’s windy and cold. But in places like Mauritius, an island-country close to South Africa, and Asia, it’s not that cold when it rains and can actually be quite refreshing.

What’s nice about Mauritius is there are microclimates. So if it’s raining in the wet city of Curepipe, it’s often sunny in other parts of this small island. If it’s cloudy in the south, it can be very sunny up north.

I’ve been going cycling with my cool cousin Joseph at least once a week for the past month. Like me, he’ll go out for a ride rain or shine. During our last ride, he told me, “I am not someone who is deterred by obstacles. I like to venture out and go alone. If I always wait for someone to come with me, I will never go.

Ben enjoying the natural water slide in Black River Gorges.

Going out rain or shine

Every time we start, the weather is very cold and wet in Curepipe but we always take a chance and venture out. We’ve been very lucky because the few times we went out with an open mind and moved away from Curepipe, the skies cleared up and we got a perfect breeze as we started our journey. It’s almost like we were rewarded for having an open mind.

The first time Joseph and I cycled 70 km, the rain came at the perfect time after we had been cycling for awhile and we were very hot. The rain was a blessing. When I was at my max tiredness going up a huge hill and there were dark clouds hovering over our heads, I saw a rainbow appear and it reminded me that there is beauty among the darkness and we just have to look for it and focus on that.

I unfortunately didn’t bring my camera to show you pictures of the last bicycle ride, but we started by the airport and ended up having the most scenic ride so far. We stayed along the south coast where the roads were ride, streets were quiet and we heard nothing but the constant waves crashing against the rocks and wind brushing against our skin. As I looked at the waves hitting the rocks, the spectacular turquoise colour manifests itself as it gets closer to the land.

We passed one of many streams in the mountains.

Joseph asked me, “I don’t know the way but we can explore. If we don’t try, we won’t know.” Most Mauritians have never stepped foot on these parts of the island, because you either have to walk among the trees or bicycle. Joseph and I travel in a similar style, which is very hard to find among many Asian families. We like to stay away from tourist spots, venture deep into the land, connect with people in the communities, and are not afraid to venture without a map because you can always ask people around to find your way back.

Yesterday we finished a full day hike at Black River Gorges National Park and it ended up raining a lot and became very slippery. Almost all of us fell at some point, we had to use our hands to pass through the forest trail and all of the mud. But venturing this this path was a lot of fun and definitely the most adventurous hiking route I’ve done in my life.

We can’t predict how the weather or the day will be. But if we always wait for the perfect circumstances, we may never go out and do what we enjoy.

While Joseph and I were climbing the continuous hills after 6 hours of riding, a rainbow appeared as we are heading back home among the dark clouds.

Look for beauty, not negativity

Most of the people I come across both in Canada, Asia and Mauritius live in their routines and the walls of their home. I know we are creatures of habit but in order for people to grow and learn, we need to break out of our walls and see all the beauty the world has to offer and the wonderful people we meet.

I feel very sad for over-sheltered children around the world. I understand the intention of parents to protect their children but as they grow older, the parents are taking away their ability to be self-sufficient, quick on their feet and deal with difficult situations. Some of the brightest and well-mannered kids I’ve met are in the Philippines, Laos and Cambodia, many of whom grew up in the jungle or the farm.

As we live our lives, people often spend most of the time looking at the dark clouds. Go out and look between the clouds and you may find a beautiful rainbow in your day. After all, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.

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Hiking Mauritius’ mountains

This is the viewpoint from one of the peaks overlooking the south of Delicious Mauritius.

It’s taken me months to find family and friends who enjoy hiking in Mauritius, Africa. There aren’t many high mountains on the island but you can do full day hikes at some locations like Black River Gorges National Park where we went. I have now hiked at the national park twice, including a 25 km hike last week, and it’s been beautiful to see this natural wonders of Mauritius.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a rainbow form at the bottom of a waterfall. It began as a half rainbow then transformed into a full one.

The Black River Gorges National Park is the largest protected forest of Mauritius and has over 50 km of trails. It used to be a common hunting ground but the area became protected in 1993 when a group of scientists identified over 300 species of plants, birds and a population of giant fruit bats. The area also has the island’s most endangered species including the Mauritius kestrel, echo parakeet and pink pigeon.

One of several beautiful waterfalls at the park.

The park is often filled with locals and expats who do their regular walks on the variety of trails as well as people who enjoy mountain biking. There are nice picnic areas in the park where you can enjoy your food. The first time we went to the park, my cousin Josef was very nice and picked me up and brought loads of food to share with the group.

I wanted to wait until I hiked with either a group or local people because I don’t know the trails well and there have been some attacks on tourists in some areas of Mauritius. I don’t believe it’s widespread and this national park has quite a few people around in the daytime.

The trails on the map are categorized as easy, less difficult and difficult. But the “easy” trail we went on in the morning was quite rocky and had varied trail. I enjoy these types of trails but it was funny to me that it was classified as “easy.”

You’ll need a car to get there as it’s not accessible by bus. You can do one of the trails and go back the same way to get to the car. Or if you have energy and faith in your sense of direction, you can do a full day and do a circle loop to get back to your car.

If you like hiking and visiting Mauritius for even a few days, I recommend doing one of the trails at Black River Gorges and has one of the best views of the island.

A nice hangout hut overlooking the south of the island.

This is the group we went hiking with a few weeks ago and we enjoyed a delicious lunch eating samosas, sandwiches and hot drinks before we set out for our afternoon hike.

 

This is Mukesh, I call him Santa Claus because of his beard. He showed me this tree called, “arbre du voyageur,” which means traveler’s tree. When you stab it in the right place, water pours out. I tried the water, it tasted clean.

A rainbow appeared during the first 30 minutes of our full day hike while we were walking at the top of one of the mountains.