21st June 2019

Portugal

For the fourth time in three months I find myself at the check-in desk of KLM, twice more than planned. This time the destination is a bit closer, Lisbon, Portugal. I’ve been to Lisbon before and liked the city, the nature, the people and the weather, so it seemed like a perfect PCT side trip.

In an attempt to NOT lose my trail legs, I would hike from Santiago do Cacém, 160km south of Lisbon, to the Southwestern-most point of continental Europe, Cabo de São Vicente. This hike would take 10 days for a total of 217km.

The trail was very different from the Pacific Crest Trail. Even fewer people hiking and each day I would get to a town, sleep in a real bed and eat a real meal. This also meant that my pack was way lighter than on the PCT.

For the first 150km the scenery was pretty similar. That part of Portugal is known for its cork tree forests. Occasionally an old house, some abandoned, some not.

Down in the Algarve, the trail became more hilly as it closed in on the coast. The last stretch to the cape was the most enjoyable of the hike, making me think that I should’ve followed an alternative trail which followed the coast for multiple days. But maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed the ocean views that much then.

Just ten days after started in the middle of Portugal, I reached the end of the Rota Vicentina. The cliffs separating me from ocean were creating a stunning scenery. The hike was over when I reached the lighthouse and felt out of place with all the tourists in cars. A short hitch later I was at my final destination: Lagos. Where I would take some surf lessons before going home.

The days surfing went by with light speed. By the second day I was hooked. Life was good spending the day at the beach, enjoying the sun and ocean, and trying (mostly failing) to catch waves. It is definitely something I’ll pick up later during my travels, after the PCT.

That was my epic PCT side trip. Now I’ll go back to the trail and finish my hike northbound! I’ll start where I ended my hike over a month ago. I’m ready and excited to get going again. My next post will be about my hike from Wrightwood to Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram.

Happy trails!

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