The Salto da Farinha hike is our destination for the day.
We found a pocket map in our hotel with the best hikes in Sao Miguel and planned to experience them all. Today we are heading to the northeast of the island in search of a hidden waterfall.
Padrão das Alminhas e Salto da Farinha is a 6.0 kilometer, easy but interesting, trail located near Achadinha. The hike promised an enchanted valley with a waterfall at the end of the path.
The road to the hike was empty with no cars in the upper parking area so, unsure of the precise entrance we drove down a very steep and curvy hill to the bottom. It was so steep that we could not see the road ahead but we made it to the end in one piece, caught our collective breath and set out for the hike.
We found the trail to the waterfall and followed the path up the hill moving from an open green area into a forested trail. The feeling was exotic, as if we were on a deserted island trying to find signs of life. The day was sunny and the air inside the forest felt tropical…minus any mosquitos.
Our walk took us over wooden paths and bridges, just the signs of civilization we were looking for. We pressed on until we found the end of the trail where we caught our first glimpse of the waterfall. From a distance we started to feel the light mist on our faces. Beautiful!
Finally we reached the waterfall and its pool, which was surrounded by perfect rocks to sit and enjoy the time, the solitude and the peace.
Hiking has the unique ability of making you feel away from it all. It offers a safe opportunity to be immersed in nature for a few hours, clearing thoughts and opening the mind to experience the moment. It was easy to focus on the sound of the water falling, the smell of the forest and the sounds of the birds and bees. There were a lot of bees somewhere but we could not see them!
Normally, we live our lives without noticing these simple things. We felt grateful for the opportunity to be here all alone enjoying this special place but at some point we had to return. That point came shortly after lunch from the bottom of a long staircase that climbed away from the beach at the opposite end of the hike.
The drive up the steep hill to reach the road was even more dizzying than going down. We had to accelerate all the way hoping that no cars were heading down. We made it out safe but with our hearts racing a bit faster.