Our hike up from Bocas das Ambas Ribeiras was just a warm-up for the next hike, up Ribeira da Torre. This valley is intense! There’s not much to say about the route except that it was steep and unshaded. But spectacular. Again, the trail was a cobblestone path (although it turned into a stairwell carved into the bedrock when we got closer to the top of the valley). The trail passed through some small villages along the way, right past the front doors of the houses. Once or twice we passed under the shade of someone’s garden of banana trees, until we passed the final village and began the steepest part of the track. We climbed higher and higher until we could see over the ridges clear to the ocean in all directions. The sun was brutal, but I’m glad it was such a clear day because the view of the water was gorgeous.
At the top of the mountain, we crossed suddenly into the planaltu, which was reforested about ten years ago. From hot sun and bare rock we crossed abruptly into shady and wonderful-smelling pine forest. That night and the next we were to be hosted by fellow volunteers Scott and Melissa, so we found their house, relaxed, ate lunch, played cards, and explored while we waited for them to get home.
The next day our hosts showed us around their stomping grounds, this time the zone at the top of the mountain. We walked around the southern side, which overlooks the port town of Porto Novo (where the ferry comes in) and the island of Sao Vicente. This area had much more subdued terrain than the ribeiras, with rolling hills and shallow canyons along the seasonal riverbeds. This is an area where people pasture their animals, and we met a little baby burro. Very cute.