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Friday, July 20, 2012

Hike Flores PR3FLO Crater Lakes to Faja Grande 18 July 2012

Woke up on 18 July to yet another glorious day and decided to do hike PR3FLO
Overview map of the 4 official hikes on Flores
 The hike starts form the central crater lakes and, after traversing the crater, climbs to its rim and then drops spectacularly down the cliff face to Faja Grande on the West coast of Flores. 
 Our pink taxi (English speaking Cesar Fonesca tel 962409193) picked us up from the marina and dropped us off at the start of the hike close to the Lagoa Negro (Funda on map) and Lagoa Comprida at 0900hrs - cost 15 Euros. The driver apologised for the colour of his taxi and explained that this was a replacement car - his proper taxi was waiting for spare parts - can take a long time to arrive on this island.
 The start of the route clearly marked
and with the usual information boards

 Lagoa Comprida

 Lagoa Comprida on the right,  Lagoa Negro on the left
 Lagoa Negro is actually green
 The trail then crosses the central plateau wetlands which are covered with Juniper, Festuca, Heather Brambles and yellow Bog Moss (Sphagnum Auriculatum Schimp).  This area is almost always wet as it is often in cloud.
Past an almost dried up cater lake, the Caldeira Seca

 past another crater lake, the Lagoa Branca

 on one side of the Lagoa Branca is a bird watching hut

 The Lagoa Branca is an important stopover for migratory birds
 climbing out of the caldeira
up a red basaltic pumice road
 Again we encounter a largish group of hikers - luckily behind us

 Our trail turns off the wide road towards the western cliffs

 Approaching the cliff edge, the village of Fajazinha can be seen in the valley below
 more Hydrangeas

 wonderful views

 time for a break

 Fantastic view of Faja Grange, around 500 meters below us

 Looking north to Ponta da Faja. The trail PR1FLO can just be seen around the headland in the distance
Wonderful spot for lunch
 About to start the steep descent down the cliff face - incredible how a path has been constructed
 the start of the descent

 Almost continual fantastic views

 The pools in the lava flows on the coast of Faja Grande looked inviting for a refreshing dip

 made it to the Faja - our trail down the cliff impossible to identify from below
 If one wanted to hike this trail in the reverse direction, the start is not too clearly marked

 the waterfall with its pool Poco do Bacalhau where we swam after hike PR1FLO
 In Faja Grande there are some marks directing one to the start of these hikes
Looking back at where we descended
We found the pool between the lava flows which we had spotted from the cliff top and had a delightful refreshing swim there
 protected from the breakers outside the lava barrier 
Caught the 1500 hrs bus from here back to Porto das Lajes having enjoyed this superb hike.

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