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Rising to 2351 m above sea level, the mountain of Pico, in the island of the same name, is located in the Azores archipelago. It is the highest mountain in Portugal. Its volcanic origin is evident from its conic shape, visible from miles around. The Pico volcano is the last one in the Azores to preserve its original shape, in the other islands, several eruptions have transformed the volcanoes into caldera lakes.
A few years ago, when I visited the island, I managed to cling the mountain, and it was an unforgettable experience. The climb must be organized with a local guide, as the whole area belongs a natural park. To preserve some sensitive plant species, and the unique lava formations, the number of visitors has a daily limit. It took our group about 5 hours to climb the volcano. Once at the top, it is possible to descend into the crater and set up camp to spend the night. There are many opportunities for photography during the trek, but a unique photography is the one I am showing here.
Before sunrise, it is possible to do a short climb to the famous “Piquinho”, or small peak, a small conical formation inside the crater. Watching the sun rise from here is wonderful, and on a clear day, it is possible to see several other islands. As the sun rises, the shadow of the mountain extends into the sea. On this occasion, the full moon was also setting, so the shadow is pointing to it. After waking up at 4 am to start the climb to Piquinho, I was tired and cold, but it was well worth the experience.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor