with many things in life, i’m a fan of jumping off into the deep end of the pool and then somehow finding a way out. this was sort of our approach to climbing pico, a “let’s go and see what happens — hopefully we’ll make it!” kind of attitude. so, when a rare sunny day popped up on the meteorology report, we signed up for the climb, checked in to get our gps trackers and off we went!
the tallest mountain in portugal might not be very tall by other countries’ standards, but it was plenty tall for us – and a volcano on top of that! the path there is all volcanic rock, sometimes lava flows that turned into solid rock, and sometimes just loose spiky rocks that slip like sand underneath your feet, making the hike hard. the path is not really a path — more like a collection of numbered wooden posts that hint the general direction you should be heading in, but it’s enough to guide.
the views are spectacular though, and distract you from the pain. on the way up we could see faial in the distance, then we went through some misty clouds for a bit, then popped up above them again as we reached the summit. the last 70m of piquinho’s ascent are extra tough, but worth it for the view from up there and the feeling of accomplishing something hard!
i was surprised to see that the volcano is still showing signs of some activity, with fumaroles evaporating steam up there at the very top of it — the last eruption was in 1718 already! we snapped some pictures at the top, grabbed some lunch in the crater and then started to make our way down, which was extra rough and painful on the feet and knees. i landed on my butt three times, but luckily only scraped my hand and leg a bit (those rocks are sharp!).
after that, we showered, went to bed and proceeded to enjoy the accomplishment and not move much for the following few days… everything hurt! :S