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Sunday, July 16, 2017

2017 Hike Pico Volcano




The Pico Volcano has its own weather system which is also height dependent. As the climb to the top of Portugal's highest mount is very popular, there is a dedicated weather forecast website available on 
   https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Pico/forecasts/500    which gives forecasts for 3 height levels, namely 500m, 1500m and the summit, 2351m. The forecast for Saturday 15 June 2017 looked good.

So on the day before I planned  to climb Pico, I called up the very helpful, friendly Casa da Montanha, the facility which provides 24hr, 7 day information, support and rescue services for the mountain 
on tel nr   (+351) 967 303 519 and was told the weather for the climb would be OK

Looking out of Dutch Link at 0615hrs on Saturday morning , Pico was almost visible through a break in the low cloud

So at 0700 hrs left Dutch Link and walked to the ferry terminal to catch the 0730hrs ferry from Horta to Madalena on the island of Pico - cost €3.60 for the 30 minute trip.

The Horta - Madalena ferry




Leaving Horta

Arriving in Madalena - much to my surprise, found 3 boats anchored there - we had thought of anchoring here a week ago but thought that there was not enough room for the ferries etc.

Docked in Madalena at 0800hrs

and took a taxi from outside the ferry terminal to the Casa da Montanha - cost €20 .

After registering at the Casa da Montanha (cost €10 to the crater rim plus €2 for the highest point, the Piquiho, total €12) one is given a safety briefing followed by watching a short information video 


One is then given a GPS / radio transmitter which, if one has encounters a problem or accident, one can use to call the Casa da Montanha - it also transmits one's position.

The climb starts via these steps by the reception desk

At 0848 hrs, I started the climb

The trail climbs continuously steeply from 1221m to the summit at 2351m, a height difference of 1130m.
and is marked by 47 of these numbered marker poles

The sun comes up from behind the volcano - glorious



Above the cloud

Almost at the crater rim. Much of the route is scambling steeply up over lava flows. Without the aid of 2 hiking poles one would be using ones hands and feet a lot of the time.

At 1230hrs a very happy Mike made it to the crater rim - the final peak, the Piquiho, in the background

It is quite popular to spend the night in the crater to watch the sunset and sunrise - must be spectacular.
The Piquinho, the final climb, with nr 47, the last of the marker poles in the foreground

This part of the climb is very steep, mostly scambling using hands and feet up the lava flows - very good "jug-like" handholds most of the time.

A jubilant Mike on top of the Piquinho 2351m - felt like being on top of the world surrounded by a sea of cloud - fantastic ! Arrived here at 1313hrs - so took 4 hrs 35 mins to reach here - I was one of the slowest.

Views from the top







There are several fumeroles on the Piquinho - emitting hot sulphurous fumes

Recrossing the crater

Starting the return - retracing ones steps - the first part of the trail is less steep than the rest

These pretty flowers cling to the lava in patches along the whole route

After a while, entered the cloud which had arrived while I was at the top

Visibility was reduced and the lava became slippery with the drizzle-like condensation



At 1600hrs made it back to the Casa da Montanha - total time taken 7 hrs 12 mins for a climb / descent of 1130m

I found the ascent a challenge. With two hiking poles, I found the descent very managable and overtook many hikers most of whom were struggling without the aid of poles.


Below is the link to the blog I wrote of the previous time we climbed Pico - 3rd August 2012

I was considerably slowly on the ascent this time - 4hrs 35 mins up compared to 3hrs 40mins in 2012 - age taking its toll! - but faster on the way down - Jeannette not being with me I had less breaks! 
- so total time now 7hrs 12mins compared to 8hrs 20mins in 2012.

During the 2012 climb, there was much less lower cloud so had views of the surrounding islands which I did not have this time - however, being surrounded by a sea of white cloud had its own magic!

A thoroughly enjoyable climb!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

2017 Sail Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel to Praia da Vitoria, Terceira

Left Ponta Delgada at 1400hrs Saturday 17 June 2017 at more or less the same time as S/V Zanzibar for the 90 NMile trip to Praia da Vitoria on Terceira


Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 Hike PRC20SMI Rocha do Relva

16 June 2017, Mike took a taxi from Ponta Delgada Marina to Mirador do Caminho Novo (€8 ), then hiked the PRC20SMI route to Rocha do Cascalho then Rocha do Relva.


There was a person sitting at the Miradouro employed by the whale watching boat companies whose job was to direct their boats to the areas where whales could be seen. She was equiped with powerful binocculars and a VHF radio.

Looking back at the town of Relva

Looking from the Miradoura towards the start of the PRC 20 SMI Hike

The route - Viewranger map
Looking along the beautiful coast towards Rocha da Relva



The split in the trail - turned left here to visit the Rocha do Cascalho









There was even a public toilet behind the picnic area - Rocha do Cascalho



Back on the trail towards Rocha da Relva



Rocha da Relva comes into view



Local transport

The first cottages of Rocha da Relva







Small vineyards

Transport resting









Returning via the same route


Phoned the taxi to collect me from the Miradoura do Cominho Novo - a very enjoyable hike.

Rocha da Relva from the sea - photo taken 18/7/2017 as we approached Ponta Delgada on our return from Horta.