I woke up there in Pico Alto, it was cold, it was 8 am, I went for a little walk in the part where you could see all of Funchal. I prepared my breakfast, ate a few things, bread, juice, sardines and some water. My mistake was not having brought any coffee or more appropriate drinks for breakfast.
I packed my things, tent and everything, and went back to the trail. The objective of that day was Pico Ruivo. At first I didn’t think I would make it, after all, it was more than 10km in a single day in the mountains, and I didn’t know what awaited me that day.
Initially I made a slight deviation from the planned trail. The initial trail was very steep and tiring, even though it was shorter. So I took an alternative route, less steep, but a little longer. Until then everything is ok. At this point I was already leaving Pico Alto, heading towards Pico do Areeiro, inside the Funchal Ecological Park. It took about 3 hours to arrive at Pico do Areeiro.
Physically prepared to go on the trail
On the way I met Nicolai, a developer from Germany who was there on vacation, and we went together to Pico do Areeiro. It was a very difficult start to the trail, I confess. I had trained a lot, jumping rope, running a lot, but nothing compared to carrying a 25kg backpack on my back. It was challenging, I took about 3 breaks on the way until I reached Areeiro. If you are on foot, before reaching Areeiro via the trail, there is a huge staircase, very steep and difficult to climb. The trail to Areeiro is very steep, lots of very difficult steps, very high, so be prepared.
Lunch at Pico do Areeiro
Arriving at the top of Pico do Areeiro, I was able to admire the view, which is incredible. There is a restaurant with a very large bathroom, a good structure for receiving people. I ordered a pizza with a soft drink for lunch, I paid €16. I had my lunch there. I also met my brother JL Maffort, a Brazilian who works at this restaurant and has lived on Madeira Island for 8 months. We talked a little, he told me what life is like there.
Then I went to the other side of Pico with the drone to take some videos. There is a military building there, a kind of white globe that is very iconic and ended up becoming the symbol of Areeiro. I’m already telling you to be very careful when flying drones in this area, do it far from the globe, the military building, because it is prohibited to fly over military buildings in Europe. There were times when my drone lost signal with the radio, but in the end everything went well. The restaurant employees said that a while ago a recording team was there with a super expensive professional drone, and they lost the equipment because the military building blocks the signal from this type of aircraft flying nearby.
PR1: Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo
I then made some videos, when I decided to go towards Pico Ruivo. It was already 3pm, I asked the staff how long it would take to get there, and they told me around 3am. I had no idea of the challenge that lay ahead, nor of the beauty of that place. I started by going down the trail, the landscape is breathtaking. Incredible, unbelievable how a place can be as beautiful as that. The trail is full of ups and downs, tunnels and springs. I recommend that you take a flashlight, as inside the tunnels it is not possible to see the ground, which is soaked in water.
A little shop in the middle of the mountain
On the way I met Lea and Célia, two super cool French women, they were making their way back to Pico do Areeiro, PR1 and then to Achada. Along the way we took photos, made drone videos and talked a lot. I admit that this PR is one of the most beautiful on the entire island. I left Areeiro at 3:00 pm and arrived at Pico Ruivo at 6:30 pm. There is a little house with beds for rent for 20 euros per night, but they were all full and none were available. I bought some things, beer, food and went further to set up the tent, about 100 meters ahead.
Sunset at Pico Ruivo
It was almost night, I went ahead and pitched the tent. There were some people nearby also camping, about 6 tents. I had one of the most beautiful sunsets of my life, there at Pico Ruivo. I spent a few minutes with my beer in my hand, just enjoying the view. When the sun set, I ate something, bread, water, juice, fruit and went to sleep. Day completed successfully, total of 13.23 km.