Another fabulous hike notched into my memory!
Harald and I set off early this morning for the 45 minute drive to Salir and the start of the hike called Pé de coelho, or Rabbit Foot…..can’t find out why! According to the guide book it was 8.5 kms, and would take roughly 5 hours. At the end of the hike, according to our GPS and Fitbit, it was just under 11 kms and took us just under three hours, and that was with a stop for coffee!!
I do have to say however that it was probably the most challenging hike I have ever done here in the Algarve. the temperature hit 24, and for the most part we were in the open, not much shade at all and the last couple of km were straight down on a narrow footpath that was basically slate, small rocks, and residue of both cork and eucalyptus scattered about that provided a similar surface to ice in that your feet kept slipping out from under you!!!! The guide book did not give an indication of “intensity”, although that wouldn’t have deterred me.
A small patch of dancing poppies right beside the parking area. My first for the season.
A tall bottle brush tree just starting to bloom.
These are only partially open. We found that although only 45 minutes north west of us, nature is about 2 to 3 weeks behind the coastal Algarve. Very little flora in bloom along the entire trail and the earth is visibly parched.
I love the dancing scarecrows, I wonder how effective they are!
This lovely tile was inserted in the peak of this lovely old farm house.
This particular path was winding through the mountains and along a valley floor directly beside the Ribeira do Arade, which we had to cross five different times. The entire area is part of the mountains, Serra do Caldeirão. The panoramic views were at times breathtaking.
The initial part of the trail was an old farm road that was, for the most part, pretty easy.
We were heading directly for those hills!
Our first river crossing. We both keep plastic bags in our knapsack just in the event we need to wade through the river but that wasn’t necessary today. We could hop from stone to stone or simply move downriver a tiny bit to get across.
Another river crossing. The water was crystal clear and burbling all the time, a wonderful sound to keep us company.
The higher we got, the less birds there are until finally there aren’t any. Simply not enough of a food source for them.
We came across a few patches of white heather.
The eucalyptus had flowered and was going to seed.
This old structure was beside a huge olive orchard. It might have been an old water mill at one point.
We continued along through the very tiny village of Corte Buxo. We saw two old women sitting and chatting in the shade of a terrace. That was it, not even a dog or rooster to welcome us!
Corks lined the trail.
Looking back on Corte Buxo.
In the middle of nowhere, one house and this shed, decorated with old painted tires!
Our last look at the village and a snap shot of the mountains off in the distance.
A very old fruit tree in bloom, no idea what it was. Fragrant-less but beautiful.
We had hiked all up through and around this area and at this point are quite high in the mountains.
Scorching hot…..no shade as you can see and Monchique way off in the distance.
A view down over the valley from which we had come.
This is the Rocha da Pena which we had hiked twice last year. It was interesting for me to see it from this side.
Happily for us, at the highest point Serra do Malhão, what to our wondering eyes should appear…..but a cafe! We sat and enjoyed a beverage and simply breathed in the 360 degree view before heading off for the downward part of the hike. (Miramar means sea-view but I think they were teasing…or perhaps I simply wasn’t seeing far enough!!)
Right across the road from this, on another peak, is a retreat, a Tibetan Buddhist centre.
If you can read this is explains that The STUPA is a monument in the Buddhist tradition that represents the mind of all enlightened beings – Buddhas.
The actual STUPA monument……the sun was blazing down and it was impossible to get a clearer shot.
The drive coming up to the Buddhist Monastery.
As I mentioned earlier, the downward descent was very demanding, you couldn’t look up very much at all unless you stopped completely. By this time I think it safe to say we were both feeling the intense heat plus with trying to simply stay upright, it was a quite a silent journey….or…..perhaps we had absorbed some of the benefits from the Buddist centre!!!!! Who knows. All I know is that we were focused on this…….the place where the car was sitting!!
Another truly marvellous experience with my hiking companion, Harald. And a final shot……..a blaze of colour from the day, one of the only things we saw in full bloom. It looks like a small pine bush but is covered in these glorious blossoms and today, a million bees!!!