Sunbathing goats, snakes and Little Owls

With rucksacks packed with a change of socks, plastic bags, towel and special shoes for ford crossings we sent out on Thursday on our latest hiking adventure. We knew it was unlikely we would need any of it given the continued lack of rain, but we thought it was better to be over-packed than sorry for the double crossing of the Riberia da Foupana. Our hike began, where it did three weeks ago, in Foz de Odeleite. A small hamlet on the banks of the Odeleite and Guadiana. Today though the weather was quite different – blue skies and glorious sunshine.

Riberia de Odeleite
Blue Skies right from the start

The best way to attempt this walk is the other way round to what we did, however we were uncertain about the second ford crossing and so decided to begin on the banks of the Riberia de Odeleite. And I am so glad we did as within moments of starting the hike we were stopping time and again for the birdlife.

And there were the sheep on the other side of the river and the sunbathing goats!

It wasn’t long after this that MrB suffered an ankle injury, however he decided it wasn’t too serious and that we should keep going. At the time I was delighted but the following day we realised it probably had not been not the right decision as he was housebound with a swollen ankle and we had to cancel lunch with Jo.

Hemorrhoids hippocrepis

Still I guess we have the wonderful memories and we did get to see Owls and meet our first Horseshoe Whip Snake! These snakes are not venomous, and apparently if you have one around the house they are great for keeping down the rodents so I know Brian will love them! However they can be very aggressive towards humans and will bite if they feel threatened. This one, thank goodness, was obviously enjoying the glorious sunshine too much to be bothered by us but he does also demonstrate why they are often killed in traffic accidents!

Riberia de Odeleite

It wasn’t long before we were on the banks of the Riberia da Foupana, and heading toward our first ford crossing. You may recall this crossing from last year when MrB and I got wet feet, and I was nearly washed away. Very different today!

This section of the walk we have not done for years, and it was the first time we had done it this direction. There are fabulous views of the Foupana, and the path as with most of the paths are this walk very easy to stride along. Apart from if you take the shortcut, then you need to find your inner goat again! You will also need a good sense of balance if you need to use the steeping circles to cross the Foupana a short while later. We didn’t need to use the stones as this crossing was also dry, but I couldn’t resist!

I should probably mention all the flora at this point. It is still a little early for the full glory of Spring here in the Algarve, and so the camera never ended up in macro mode. However there was enough to keep this amateur botanist happy and the bees were certainly very busy amongst it all.

Once across the Foupana it soon became evident why it is better to hike this walk the other way round, there is a steady climb virtually all the way back to the car. Not particularly strenuous, and as the path follows the northern slopes there is lots of Almond Blossom. However you do just climb and climb and climb!

Riberia da Foupana looking very dry
Halfway up, and a very dry riverbed below

Once at the top there are multiple paths to explore. We decided to take the direct route back, but for a brief moment (ankle forgotten!) we did consider returning via the farm. Fortunately we were sensible as whilst the direct route is not as pretty it is quite quick. And there are some rather fabulous views of the Guadiana.

I know this is a rather long Six Word Saturday but I do hope you have enjoyed this walk. There probably won’t be a walk next week as we are back in England for a few days, but I will try to organise a few birding posts whilst we are away.

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.