Serra do Caldeirão is part of a major mountain system, which geographicaly separates Algarve from the rest of the country. There are a few villages in these mountains and the closest town is São Brás de Alportel. All the region suffers from extreme demographic aging, with the youngsters feeling the strong call of the sunny and rich coast of Algarve or the far and bright Lisbon.
Economy in the region is quite primitive and I believe cork business is the main activity; production of Medronho, a strong liquor obtained with the berries of a small tree called Medronho has also an important role in the life of these people.
If the general situation was poor, the giganting wildfire which destroyed a good part of all vegetable life in these mountains in the Summer of 2004 didn't helped. An impressive number of cork trees was lost and the whole ecosystem was affected. This fire took six days before became under control and traveled for 120 km, which is a considerable distance in a country with something like 700 kms separating its southernmost from the farthest north.
Wildfire in Alentejo and Algarve, July 2004. Photos from the owner collection.
All these region may be pretty atractive for the tourist; half an hour driving from the crowded beaches, an ideal solution for a diferent afternoon. People will be impressed by the way tradition has been kept here. Everything looks pictoresque and the traveler will be astonished by the changes in landscape type, within such a short distance. Besides, absolutely naturtal products can be bought in the small villages: olive oil, "medronho", olives, fruit jams, oranges... and so on.
Please note the impact of the wildfire. This farm had an awful time, completely surrounded by flames. One year after, the consequences of fire are still exposed in the landscape.
Sometimes, cool events take place, even in this remote part of Algarve. Since 2005 the Rally of Portugal takes place in these mountains, and in 2007 with the aditional interest of beeing part of the WRC - World Rally Championship. The competition, which is based in Stadium Algarve (GCZ9WE), takes full advantage of the endless dirt tracks spreaded all over the hills and offer an unforgetable show for the lucky audience.
A Mitsubishi runs in the same track the geocacher will explore in order to find this cache. Rally of Portugal, 2005. Photo from the owner collection.
This is a multicache, which means the container will not be found at the given coordinates. Instead, you will find there a touristic panel, showing a map and interesting details about the region. It's kinda of a crossroad, as the main road is crossed by a dirt road. The spot is called Miradouro do Alto da Ameixeira. Take a look at the map. There are two red rectangles with numbers inside. It's the road numebrs. From the highest number, subtract the lower. That's gona be X.
At this point the geocacher will have to choose:
a) Takes the hard and shortest way, which is by far the more interesting one, and go by the dirt road. It's 5,9 km long and its main atraction is the fact that's the same track used in one of the stages of Rally de Portugal. Drive all the way to N37° 14.463 W7° 54.703. Report on road condition: last time I was there, a regular car could use the road although there was one critical point.
If you take option A perhaps you would like to download this support material:
Official Map of the Competitiom (1,5 Mb)
Track (formato .gtm) | Track (formato .kzm)
B) Takes the easiest and longest way, and drive around until you reach the same coordinates: N37° 14.463 W7° 54.703.
Either way you will end in the same place. Right there, you will find a small bridge. What's the speed limit to cross the bridge? That's gonna be be Y.
Latitude is N37° 12.K
K = X + 198
Longitude is W7º 57.Z
Z = 24 * Y + 19
One of the owners cachemobiles parked in the sugested picnic spot. A few meters out of the scene there is an improvised stone table. See waypoints for coordinates.
One of the owners and two other cachemobiles of our fleet right in the final cache location.