Around 1300 hrs we took a taxi from the taxi stand in Vila do Porto direction Anjos to the start of our hike - the PR2SMA - see link http://www.trails-azores.com/index.php?lang=en
About 2 km before Anjos we got out and walked along the road until we found the mark indicating where our hike , which starts in Anjos, crosses the road.
We prefered not to start in Anjos as we had done this hike 2 years ago (see link http://dutchlink.blogspot.pt/2010/07/santa-maria-walks-30-june-to-3-july.html ) starting from the other end and did not find the section to Anjos very interesting.
The start of the hike on the other side of the road to the mark
Many wild flowers en route
including a few prickly pears in flower
The short detour to the old whaling observation station
the old whaling observation station
no whales seen
but a wonderful view
time for a lunch break
Abandoned house with superb view
more wild flowers
The path crosses the Barreiro Faneco nicknamed "the red desert of the Azores"
'Praying Hands' chimney
The nr 6 bus stop could be useful to remember for future walks
Another type of chimney frequently seen here
The rest of the hike climbs steadily through forest to the summit ridge of Pico Alto
Abandoned forestry house complete with tethered goat
time for a break
Superb views around the island from the summit ridge
Japanese Red Cedars
The Pico Alto -highest point on Santa Maria - 587 meters above sea level
the track we have just arrived from
Looking down on Vila do Porto
Can just about see the start of our hike with the whaling observation station in the distance
zooming-in to the hill with the whaling station
After Pico Alto we walked the 2 kms down its access road to the main road and we were just about to phone a taxi when one appeared in front of us - superb timing!
Total distance hiked - around 13km. Taxi costs - there 8 euro, back 10 euro
Back on Dutch Link about 1800hrs.