Yesterday we went on another stunning hike recommended by our friends Werner and Adelia, a twelve kilometre moderately difficult trek. It was called The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. Maps along the way let us know where we were at various points on our journey. There were fences to keep you from inadvertently walking too close to the edge of the cliffs and tumbling down into the ocean and trail markers that helped you find your way. Two equal signs meant you were on the right path. A marker with an X meant you’d gone the wrong way. Left and right turns were also clearly marked.
Our friend Rudy was in a rather theological mood on this hike referencing various Biblical stories as we walked. As we approached this long staircase up the cliff for example he recalled the ladder the angel’s walked up and down while the Old Testament character Jacob lay dreaming. Rudy also mentioned the story of King David’s son Absalom as we walked under a low hanging branch on our path. Rudy remembered that Absalom’s hair had become tangled in just such a branch and this led to his death. Our path which was sometimes wide and sometimes narrow reminded Rudy of the injunction in the book of Matthew that the wide path leads to destruction.
Dave took to naming the various rock formations we encountered. This one for example he dubbed Shark’s Tooth. This one was Elephant Drinking Water. and this one Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie without the chocolate chips. I tried to look for the smaller wonders on the trail. A brilliantly lime green gecko that walked with great difficulty across the stony path. Gorgeous flowers springing up from cracks in the stone the seashells that had become embedded in the rock in so many places and the cactus getting ready to bloom.Rudy and I checked out some of the sink holes or cenotes along the path. They reminded us of the cenote in Mexico where we had gone swimming with Rudy and his wife Sue many years ago. All over the Algarve you can see signs like this advertising boat trips through water caves. We were walking on top of those caves and looking down into them. We saw some boats inside the caves on our walk. That would definitely be another interesting way to explore this same area. This is the Cathedral Cave which is the one pictured on all the brochures and billboards but photographed from our perspective on the hike. Some fellow trail walkers told us couples actually boat into this water cave with their wedding guests and get married there. The reason the trail is called Seven Hanging Valleys is because there are seven valleys along it. Each one is associated with the mouth of a former river. The valleys were formed when the limestone coastline was rapidly eroded. Of course the erosion of limestone has created other breathtakingly beautiful scenes along the trail. I thought our hike to Ponta Da Piedade earlier in the week had really been something. But the scenery yesterday was unbelievable. I finally just stopped taking photos because I already had way too many and I just wanted to enjoy the vistas. This is how the Seven Hanging Valleys Walk is described on the Walk the Algarve site.
Here, the azure-colored ocean has conspired with the warm-colored cliffs to create the quintessential Algarvian seascape and one of the most rewarding walks along the sun-kissed coastline.
Photo credits: Some photos in the post were taken by my friend Rudy and some by my husband Dave