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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hike Sao Miguel Lagoa das Furnas 28 July 2016

Took the 0900 hrs bus nr 318 from close to the Ponta Delgada Marina. 
Got off the bus at 1020hrs at the side of the Lagoa das Furnas just before the bus turns right to the town of Furnas.
The map below shows the hiking routes we followed as a yellow line. 

First we walked anticlockwise round the northern end of the lake to the fumerols. Then steeply up the PRC22SMI to the Miradouro do Pico do Ferro, returning to the main route , PRC6SMI, via a not very well marked shortcut, then continue anticlockwise around the lake following the PRC6SMI which eventually follows  one of the roads to the town of Furnas.
Lagoa das Furnas
Furnas and its lake are in a huge volcanic caldeira which still has signs of volcanic activity. There are many Fumerols in the caldeira and places where ther surface water is boiling. 
The area in the below photo is on the north side of the lake and has many fumerols
Various restuarants in Furnas use the fumerols to (slow - about 2 hours) cook meals for their guests in pots placed in holes in the ground  and covered with a small pile of earth - each spot is labelled by the restuarant 
Boiling water
Relaxing in some carved rocking chairs

The PR22SMI route to the Mirador Pico do Ferro
Many Ginger Lillies line the route
Climbing steeply through the forest, sometimes under fallen trees
Japonese Red Cedars

Views of Furnas town from the Mirador Pico do Ferro
Views of Lagoa das Furnas from the Mirador Pico do Ferro

Information board at the Mirador Pico do Ferro
The not-well-defined shortcut back to the main route around the lake

Super spot for our picnic lunch on our steep descent to the lake

Abandoned hunting lodge?
Back on the route around the lake



Several woodcarvings by Emmanual Courtot carved during a woodcarving event in August 2012
Very tall trees
Araucarias Tree - one of the tallest in the world
Couldn't resist having a swing in the hammock
Very modern Information/ research center where we watched a short film about the area here and the project to return the lake to its original healthy condition. It seems that the intense dairy farming around the lake has resulted in the water having too high a bacterial content. This is being resolved by agreements with the farmers not to graze their cattle on the pastures around the lake.
Church on the south side of the lake

Another fumerol

Here we left the shores of the lake and joined the road which took us steeply up to the Pico do Milho mirador from where there were good views of the town of Furnas and the surrounding countryside
Some of the many Montbrecia saw en route
View of Furnas from the Pico do Milho Mirador above the town

Arrived in Furnas town around 1600 hrs and walked to the Parque Terra Nostra where there is a swimming pool fed by hot natural springs and a botanical gardin. As there was an entrance fee for this and we did nt have much time before the bus left, we did not explore further.
Caught the nr 110 bus at 1710 hrs to Ponta Delgada via the northern coast - had to change buses in Ribeiro Grande ( the buses link up and park next to each other, so this was not an issue).

A very interesting and pleasant day.

Once back in Ponta Delgada, we had a pizza at the Donatela Pizza café.

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