Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you’re moving too fast
Enchanted by the photos of my cousin’s adventure a few months earlier, I knew the next time I was back in Portugal I would take the scenic yet very windy drive through the Serra in search of waterfalls – the Poço do Inferno! Which translated into English means Hell’s Well. Fun.
I quite enjoyed the drive, it’s certainly one of the most curvy-licious mountain roads in our region, going straight through wild forests and turning sharply into small tightly squeezed villages.
It’s like going on a little scavenger drive through lush landscape in endless greens of Manteigas, but most of that landscape sadly lackluster in color and dried from the lack of rain.
We finally went on our small exercusion, not that we were avoiding going, more like indupling ourselves in slower mornings, taking advantage of a little bit more time with the older folk and loved ones before coming back to the states.
So right after lunch on one of the last days, we hoped in the car, delighted in the sunlight and headed up and through the mountains.
….we are not going to grandmother’s house, but to waterfalls we go!
Nestled beneath a shady cool tree, we left the car and made our slow easy walk up to find this hellish waterfall.
I still remember feeling quite enamored with the intense natural scents and freshness, a moment of pure breathable bliss…..
We almost would have walked past the supposed Poço, until spotting fellow adventurers heading up a staircase along a large boulder. But no waterfall in sight.
Could it be on the other side? Hmm seems unlikely.
What’s beneath the bridge? Hmm piles of rocks, seems like the formation of a stream. Bits of water…
Hmm this was supposed to be the waterfall! Which a few months ago had been flooded with water and gushing through…
Now a barren cluster of moss, fern, eucalyptus and pine covered boulders.
Well not all is lost in the slightest bit!! We are here, it’s somewhere new, I mean the drive itself was quite wonderful — we’re making the best of it! Great lighting, lovely sights, and endless views of Mother Nature; what else could we want!! Another reason that makes the Serra da Estrela oh so beautiful.
Quickly we found ourself carefully making our way both around and up the boulder, that if flowing with water would be misting us with its freshness.
This is also when my cousin proceeds to tell me she really doesn’t do heights. Not a great place to mention — but all I could muster up was something along the lines as “no time like the present, than to face the fear head on. Plus you’ve got rope. lol” She chuckled and on we went to the base where you’d normally be able to snap a photo with the waterfall as your background.
With none in sight, we still happily snapped photographs.
Despite the lack of water, the air was fresh and the sights just lovely — the formations and colorings in the rocks, the greens growing and thriving all together. Simply lovely!!
Do you love my explorer outfit and stance? I’ve realized from candids other have taken of me on travels, I do this a lot ha..
We made our way back down, and continued onward, my cousin stopping to pause on a shady lookout, while I made my way up the steep road.
The sun was shining brightly but not in an over exposed way. It was light and soft, creating a hazy film like glare onto the pine trees.
The natural flare bokeh, you know how much I love when Mother Nature adds that into photographs.
The beautiful stone and rugged terrain of these Serra boulder like mountains, a sparser than norm sea of multi-variational pine trees — a gorgeous backdrop against the serene blues of the sky.
It may be because of the altitude, the greens up here near Poço do Inferno in Manteigas, remain greener, more vibrant and denser in tone than farther south where the golden hues of dryness catch the eye.
I came back from my exploration of wandering at the gorgeous natural sights, snapping some candid photographs of my cousin, as she often does to me. She looked so tranquil and at peace. A nice little reminder for her to go to this photograph if she ever needs a place of bliss for her mind to wander off to…
We ventured down to where the waterfall would become a rushing stream, but now empty. Quite sad how the lack of rain can affect something like this so quickly and drastically.
I hope to come this year and it and be a waterfall, worthy of singing a song for! But it is quite a lovely spot to come back out. And with more time, to hike and explore that area of the Serra Natural Park.
During Summer, nights are even longer in Portugal than they are back in the US. Even with plenty of sun left in our day, we wanted to make sure we had lots of natural light on our windy down mountain drive back home. And with some time to enjoy our afternoon espresso and treat, and get in some quick dinner shopping. Because you know its Portugal and and afternoon sans expresso and lance is just not acceptable.
We were nearing golden hour, so of course my wanderlust mind was feeing drawn to the golden warm hues that would soon cast down onto a certain part of the Serra mountain near our home. The bareness of this region, especially during summer months when rain is rare and winter snow has long melted — the bareness becomes a thick blanket of dried grass that reflects against that summer golden hour glow in the loveliest of ways!!
To add to its affect, other than the wind gustling past, and your running car, you hear nothing.
Simply your breath and heartbeat catching up the hums of the wind — simple quietness.
For a brief moment looking back at these photos I am reminded of the mountain peaks of Mount Lemon in Arizona. During the winter, lush green and covered with a thin fluffy blanket of snow, but in the summer hot, yet fresh and cool, the trees providing much needed freshness while most of the surrounding mountains give way to the season’s heat and sun woes.
Goodness Serra da Estrela is such a beautifully breathtaking natural wonder. I’m so proud, honored and happy to be from this region in Portugal🧡💚