Useable weather at last for a hike above the clouds in the mountains of Madeira.
It’s a weird, precious pleasure, hiking above the clouds. You only fully realise just how precious it has been when you have to descend back in to the murk, out of the warming sunshine and its bright colours.
Hiking down into the crater of a volcano is also an uncommon pleasure and not without its specific hazards, but this volcano’s a particularly friendly one. For one thing Arieiro is not active - though never say never with volcanoes. Then there’s a sealed road to the rim where there’s a parking area, a friendly cafe and gift shop. The footpath and steps down from the peak have been cobbled for generations, recently this has been reinforced with stretched steel cables on rods so that many more can make at least a short hike.
Much further down, there are a couple of tunnels through the rock pillars. It’s a long way on to the Pico Ruivo and the mist was becoming unfavourable after the second large tunnel so I turned around, ready to hike about 250 m. upwards to the Pico do Arieiro.