I’ve had this hike on my list for some time and today it became, finally, a reality leaving me one very happy man! As though I need a reason to be happy……I’m ALWAYS happy.
The trail runs through the mountain village of Monchique and the surrounding landscape to the north. Several “protected” trees are on the route (photos to follow). The forests of eucalyptus, the groves of cork oak all along the Barranco Dos Pisões, which demarcates part of the border between Alentejo and the Algarve, absolutely incredible and the scent!!!! My sinuses were happy throughout the entire walk as the eucalyptus cleared my system out!!
We arrived in Monchique around 11h00, an hour drive from home AND, our clocks went back last night so, an early rise for all of us! Parked the car and then walked around the main square looking for the beginning of the trail.
Just outside the village stands the largest specimen of Norfolk pine, a protected tree 150 years old and 44m tall.
AS is typical here, the signage was lacking a bit but we persevered and we found the various twists and turns and before we knew it, we were above the village and heading up into the enormous forest of eucalyptus and cork oaks.
After crossing the forest we headed down into the valley/ravine and we stopped for our picnic lunch near the Riberia de Seixe.
One of our laughs for the day……there were a few……we were hungry, we had come all the way down the ravine and at the bottom, at a fork in the road was a bus stop……we decided to sit there and enjoy our lunch. Off in the distance we noticed a couple of parked cars but really, thought nothing of it. Enjoy our food and break then cleaned up and headed off. When we arrived at the parked cars there was a beautiful picnic area, right beside the river, with tables etc.. You can hopefully appreciate our giggles.
Our next “landmark” was a huge 150 year old sycamore about 41m tall.
From this point it was back upwards through yet another amazing forest until we reached our second ravine, Barrranco do Carvalho, where we came upon a protected forest of holly, an endangered and very rare plant in Southern Portugal.
Throughout most of our walk today we kept coming across many different varieties of mushrooms. Having watched Fantastic Fungi I’m very respectful of mushrooms and I see them with a completely new eye.
Another funny story…….so……at the bottom of the valley, which was quite lush, we came upon a small area with tables and we decided to take a break
Patricia spotted a splash of colour a short distance away and jumped up to investigate and landed smack dab in the middle of a relatively fresh cow pie!!!!! Didn’t stop her from continuing and finding a gorgeous patch of primroses. Needless to say, that set us off laughing yet again.
Shortly after this we started to see some signs of civilization and I realized we were nearing the end of the hike. It was still a distance down the mountain and into the village but somehow we find ourselves suddenly moving along a bit faster as we know the end is in sight. As I rounded a turn in the road I was overjoyed to see one of my favourite things here…..a large field full of small yellow lupins. I love then and only see them here in the Algarve.
As you can see, no shortage of colour and beauty. Heading back into the village it was wonderful to see enclaves tucked away, active farm life, people working in their gardens etc.. A perfect sunny Sunday afteroon.
I will want to return and do this hike again sometime as, like others, it will look completely different depending on the month I am there. It was truly uplifting to enjoy the gorgeous country side with good friends and to have it be a brand new experience for all of us was a treat.
As we headed back to the car I passed this statue, which I found quite appealing. I think it worthy of my closing shot today.
Although, having said that, I do have one more shot that might also be worthy of a closing shot for the day…….you can decide.