Our second to last day on Reunion, and our last scheduled activity – rock climbing at Piton Maïdo. This was another booking with Olivier from Adventures Reunion, but this time it was a private booking – just the two of us.
We left the apartment around 4am, and reached the meeting spot just after 5:30. We got to see an awesome color gradient in the sky as the sun rose behind us. Maïdo is a popular destination on the island, so there were plenty of other folks in the parking area checking out the view. The villages inside the cirque are accessible only on foot and we watched helicopters deliver supplies down on the valley floors. These communities were founded by slaves escaping from sugar cane plantations near the coasts – they (rightfully) assumed no one would come looking for them in such rugged terrain. Folks with a little more time spend multiple days hiking in and around the interior of the cirque. Once Olivier arrived, we set out for our climbing adventure.
Since we were starting out at the top of the mountain, the first order of business was a series of rappels down, then a traverse over to a rocky outcrop for the actual climbing. We had panoramic views of the valley below and the surrounding mountains. The climbing itself was pretty straightforward – 5 pitches to the top, a mix of crack climbing and slab. Even though the routes weren’t especially challenging, it’s always a little unnerving when there’s a few thousand feet of drop below you. Not an experience we’re used to in Minnesota.
At the top, we hung out, got some photos, then rappelled down and did another two pitches of climbing back up to our starting point. I’m really glad we got a chance to experience “real” climbing on Reunion – there are a ton of routes, and it’d be great to explore further. Maybe we’ll need to make a return visit.
After our climbing adventure, we worked our way back down the mountain to check out the “Three Basins,” which had been recommended by a Reunion resident on our Wednesday adventure. It’s a series of waterfalls and pools which work their way down to the sea.
Technically the whole area is off limits because the hillsides are unstable and have collapsed, but that doesn’t seem to stop any of the locals, so why should it stop us? We just followed the trail of people heading past the big warning signs, and after about a mile ended up at an impossibly gorgeous waterfall, with folks swimming, sunning, and hanging out. We were woefully unprepared, so the best we could do was admire the view, then continue on our way. We should have kept swimming gear in the car – amateur move!
We spent the afternoon exploring near the apartment, including checking out a local chocolate shop and gallery. Some substantial rain moved in around 4, and it was fun to watch the very angry ocean. We finally had the energy to drive into town for dinner, and had a lovely Creole meal. Tomorrow looks likely to be a washout, but we’ll see what the morning brings.