Today's first picture is from yesterday. I meant to attach it instead of yesterday's second image but I made a 'wrong click'.
Today Pat went on another bus ride and did some more writing.
The others decided the weather would be suitable for some summiteering, so the five of us went up to Encumeada, a pass at about 1100 metres, in Whitey.
Sunny though it was at 10am, clouds were clearly making their way in. However, a delightful paved pathway through eucalyptus woodland, from which today's second picture was taken, took us down to Grass Bridge and then inexorably up to Bocca do Cerro, at 1300 metres. We were still half a mile away from and 350 metres below the fog-bound summit of Pico Grande.
The paved way is called the Royal Path, and was used by generations as a means of crossing the island in the days before the current network of roads.
By now the cloud had come in as expected. Our Cicerone guide had been discredited as we were about half way round Route 19, which Paddy Dillon claims to be 9 km in total. We had already walked nearly 10 km!
Paddy's route seemed to me to be inappropriate for the conditions, so after lunch I took a final picture of the summit party (see above) and retraced my steps from Bocca do Cerro. The first 3 km were in mist, with unseen mewing buzzards and very visible flitting firecrests - intent on their foraging and oblivious to human presence. Nobody had been willing to join me, so I'd left them to scoff at my suggestion that they pay attention to micro navigation and the possible need for 'pacing' in order to get them to the planned descent path to the north of Pico Grande.
I arrived back at the café at Encumeada at about 4.15, after a 19 km outing in about 6 hours. Shortly before that I received a message from Dave saying that they were back at the lunch spot and returning the same way - 'Eta 6.30'.
Hang on - 6.30 is dinner time! Ho hum...
Here's what I've managed to extract from them concerning the three hours or so between leaving them at Bocca do Cerro and hearing from them again from that same spot. (I knew I should have brought my Kindle.)
"We summited without difficulty. Fantastic but brief cloud inversion. Descent to Paddy Dillon's route. Thin path. Little evidence of people having gone this way. Then fog. Missed 'plummeting descent' and ended up back on the ridge, where a superb cloud inversion started to emerge. Unwise to continue on Dillon's route as now 3pm. Returned to lunch spot then a quick descent in two hours to waiting Whitey, arriving at dusk - 6.10. Uneventful drive home thanks to the dynamic duo of navigational genius Keith and his assistant, Lady App."
Dinner is served between 6.30 and 9 o'clock, so no problem with that - just in case anyone was worried!