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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hike Sao Miguel, Sete Cidades PR4SMI & PR3SMI 27 August 2012

Caught the 0825hrs bus from Ponta Delgada to the western caldera of Sete Cidades on Monday 27th August. The weather forecast was for a warm sunny day.
Around 0930hrs, got off the bus at the bend above the village where there is a link track to the PR 4 SMI walking trail which follows the farm track along the top of the northern crater rim

Jeannette was in Holland so I did this hike on my own - somewhat risky as last time I hiked alone (Madeira 2010) I walked too fast downhill and had a knee problem for several months.
After a few minutes walk the track passes the junction with the route down to the village of Sete Cidades
 The track passes through a forest of  Cryptomeria Japonica
 After 20 minutes one gets one's first view of the crater lake, the abundant Ginger lilies, Hedychium Gardnerianum in the foreground

 Cows even on the crater rim

 Several Milhafre (Buteo Buteo Rothschildi or Goshawk in English) were seen hovering effortlessly above. Some historians consider the island group is named after this bird which is also known as Acor in Portuguese and is very commonly seen on the islands here and is to be seen on the Azorian Flag.

 A misty view of the north to the east of the north coast
 A concrete track leads steeply down towards the eastern end of the trail
 As there is no official connection between the PR4SMI (northern crater rim trail) & PR3SMI (southern crater rim trail), one needs to find a way to get to the other side of this ravine. Last time we did this hike in October 2011 we had difficulty finding a link path

Others had obviously had this in mind and a path appeared over the low concrete curb
 which kept close to the hydrangea hedge between the field and the top of the cliff

 and a break in the opposite vegetation
 gave access to the red basalt tracks in the Cryptomeria Japonica forest. Last time we did the hike, we were very fortunate and some kind people gave us a lift in their car to the start of PR3SMI - this time no such luck so had to walk about 4 kms along the main road to the start.

 The forest track emerged at the car park for the PRC5SMI trail. Here one turns right following the road towards Sete Cidade
 A short detour following the road to the left gives one a view of the old Aquaduct

 After 20 minutes along the road, one gets one's first view of the Sete Cidades lake
 and the junction with the road to the village of Sete Cidades. We continue to Vista do Rei

 The abandoned hotel at Vista do Rei , 45 minutes walk from the PRC5SMI car park

The information board for the PR3SMI route along the southern crater rim - the second half of the hike
 PR3SMI route

 The junction with the PR25SMI trail to Ginette which we did 7 October 2011
 15.10hrs arrived at the end of the hike just a 100 meters south of the place where I started the hike. Here I waited for the 16.25 bus from Setes Cidades (bus was about 25 minutes late)
See link below for the previous time we did this hike

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