The cab driver we met up with on Madeira offered to drive us to any place we wanted to go during our stay on the island. He seemed very knowledgeable and his English was very good, so on our third day we booked him for a trip to hike Pico de Arriero (second highest peak) to Pico Ruivo (highest peak).
Unfortunately his van broke down the day of, and he had to reschedule us with a different driver. This new guy was fine, not as talkative, but he would take us to the peak and pick us up 4 hrs later on the other side of the mountain. We drove up to the peak where he explained how beautiful and lush the island used to be, before a forest fire burned most of it away. Great....
Past the burned fields and forests, through wild eucalyptus trees, everything ringed by light purple and blue agapanthus flowers, he kept talking about the forest fires. I was getting a little disappointed and worried that the hike, which I had only briefly researched, was going to be a bust.
|Top of Pico de Arriero|
|Valleys to the sea|
|Mike enjoying the view|
|Wild flowers, sheer rocks, and mountains|
|Portuguese bee, hard at work|
It was especially good to get out early so that the clouds, which come in from the sea in the afternoon, were not out, giving us a clear view.
|Mist starting to roll in|
|More mist rising|
|Wildflowers near the top of the mountain|
|Burned trees from the wildfires|
|View to the sea and villages on Pico Ruivo|
It was very interesting at the end of our hike when we got to Pico Ruivo. There was a small house and many people walking around, but we couldn't find the taxis. We figured it had to be there somewhere, but we just couldn't see a road! Finally we found a guide to ask and he said it was still another mile away, down another trail. We had to speed walk to make our pick up time, but we made it!
|Down and up and up and down|
|An amazing climb!|