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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hike Flores PR1FLO Ponta Delgada to Faja Grande 11 Jul 2012

Caught the 0900hrs bus from Porto das Lajes to Santa Cruz where we took a taxi to the start of the hike PR1FLO a few kms west of Ponta Delgada in the NW of Flores (Taxi cost 20 Euros)
The hike starts close to the Lighthouse Farol do Albarnaz at the NW tip of the island and follows the coast south to Faja Grande
At 1010hrs we started the hike walking steadly uphill up a very wide concrete road which seemed somewhat out of place in this remote corner of the island
View from the road

 After 1 1/2 km our route turned off the road onto a hydrangea lined track
 sometimes following the bed of a stream

 view of the tiny island of Corvo
Finally reached the  top of the hill
 through a novel gate - consisting of a carefully selected single piece of a tree
 Looking north to the Lighthouse Farol do Albarnaz with a cloud covered Corvo in the background

 Jeannette found a spot with a magnificent view for our quiche lunch

 southwards along our hydrangea lined track

 The trail now narrows and starts its descent clinging to the cliff face with almost continuous breath-taking views
 The small rock towards the top of the photo is Ilheu de Monchique, the westernmost "land" of Europe

 sometimes the trail is almost completely enclosed by overhanging branches
 The low penisular is Faja Grande, our destination. A Faja is a low lava flow at the base of a cliff which often provides the only horizontal land on an island and is often cultivated and/or is populated

 Many waterfalls dropped down to the trail

 often transforming our trail into a muddy stream - we were thankful for our two hilking sticks each as otherwise the sometimes steep narrow trail flowing with water would have been quite treacherous

 looking back up the trail clinging to the cliffside

 Approaching Ponta da Faja just north of Faja Grande
 one of the many waterfalls of Faja Grande

 This suggested a refreshing dip

 and indeed, below the waterfall was a pool just deep enough for a quick very refreshing swim
 Later we heard that we had been sharing the pool with a freshwater eel

Made it to Faja Grande. Looking back to the cliffs we had walked down
This was one of the most enjoyable hikes we have made - highly recommended - as long as the weather is good.
Our taxi driver told us that the population of Flores is declining - over 9000 20 years ago and currently only 3500. One reason for the decline is that there is no secondary schooling on the island so the older children have to leave, often to mainland Portugal, to complete their education. There, they get used to a more modern environment and I guess life on Flores is considered too restrictive. Many have emigrated to the USA and Canada.

Caught the 1500hrs bus back to Porto das Lajes - incredibly, we were the only passengers - high season in Flores!

1 comment:

gerschok said...

Hallo M&J dit was weer eens een schitterende wandeling en we kregen beide direct trek om het ook te doen.
Wat een heerlijk rust en wat een prachtige vergezichten.Hartelijk dank L&G