PR1 FLO – Fajã Grande – Ponta Delgada (Lajes das Flores and Santa Cruz das Flores – Flores)
The day dawned cool and cloudy in Aldeia da Cuada. I don’t know how it would be in the whole Flores island but in midsummer in a Azorean island is not surprising waking up in the morning wrapped in fog, something that residents have become accustomed but saddens anyone who is visiting, for the impossibility to enjoy and contemplate all the landscapes and natural beauty in its fullness. But these conditions are also part of the whole island experience and after breakfast we met with Teotónia near the van. We agreed the day before on the transfer to the beginning of “PR1 FLO – Faja Grande – Ponta Delgada” and so we set off with a Swedish family to carry out this route. We choose to hike from north to south, to finish in Fajã Grande and easily get back to Cuada.
On the journey of about 40 minutes to Ponta Delgada, we had time to enjoy “Lagoa Seca” and the fantastic scenery of the island. Greens of many shades torn by transparent and pure streams, high in the mountains with dramatic edges and idyllic settings.
From the van we saw Ponta Delgada that extends in a flat area at the north end of the island, whose form seems to point to the neighboring Corvo Island.
We pass the “Ermida de Nª Srª da Guia”, cutting part of the tarmac road to start walking after Albarnaz Lighthouse, when the marked trail leaves the asphalt and enters a mud track. Here we can read: “Fajã Grande – 7,5km”.
With Maria Vaz Islet on our side and Corvo Island on our back emerging from the ocean, cloaked in clouds of white cotton.
Soon we realized the difficulty that we would face in this route. The high moisture turned some sections of the trail in a slough where we need all the attention to prevent any accident. The progression would be slower and with higher fatigue.
We crossed several streams, short watercourses with well-defined path that cut through the mountains towards the sea. Around us we find many hydrangeas, one of the island symbols, whose colorful flower stands out from the endemic heather, forming a green carpet and limits the delimiting the trail.
We were plagued by a dense fog and a strong wind, always along the coast, that hides the fantastic landscapes offered to us. When the weather gave us some respite and the fog dissipated a bit, we could see shades of green on the rocky cliffs ending in a transparent blue of the ocean, making a rare beauty screens.
Greens of many shades torn by transparent and pure streams, high in the mountains with dramatic edges and idyllic settings.
Here and there, “wild strawberries” peeped through the underbrush. We arrived at “Rocha do Risco” and after the wooden staircase we began a dangerousness descent. Here we must have the maximum attention to where and how to put our feet because apart from a lot of mud, we have to progress down by large stones that, with moisture, become very slippery.
For those with vertigo, this is not an easy section despite some rough wood protections that helps to convey a sense of security. Perhaps the ideal is to hike from south to north (ie Fajã Grande to Ponta Delgada) and thus make the ascent on this section, hiding the fear of heights “on the back.” “Eyes that do not see” … fear that does not feel.
Far away, in a rocky tongue of land that invades the Atlantic we already see “Fajã Grande”. At the end of the descent, we turn left towards “Ponta da Fajã”. We continue with magnificent landscapes that now at lowest altitude, without the fog that accompanied us for extended periods of the trail, reveals all the splendor of Flores Island.
We reached the tarmac in “Ponta da Fajã” not to leave it until we finish the route in the vicinity of Fajã Grande port.
We completed the walk with a visit to “Poço do Bacalhau”, a 90m high waterfall which ends in a natural lagoon surrounded by endemic vegetation. It feels like diving in that pure beauty in those crystal clear waters that flow from the mountain.
We reached more tired than usual but happy for another conquest and ultimately the discovery of breathtaking landscapes.
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