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  • Writer's pictureCarolina Delgado

The Mountain

Narrative of a journey to the island of Pico in the Azores in 2017, accompanied by a photographic selection.


This photographic collection tells the story of a trip where I was put to the test towards nature. From the intensity of this hard relationship comes my work, which intends to show how I experienced and interpreted the landscape of Pico Island. It was in overcoming the endless path of the slab, the fog of the lagoon path or the stormy climb up to the peak mountain, that my photos emerged from the effort to overcome myself and deal with the adversities that were imposed by the experience gained in these places.

The Slab

The journey began on the way of the slab, near the airport of Pico Island. From the beginning, this island has dazzled me. I had never seen anything like this, a landscape so hard and wild, where the vegetation was shallow and the black basalt predominated, giving shape to the small houses, which isolated seemed to be born from the topography of the landscape.

On this pedestrian route I walked on a long slab of basalt almost always by the sea. To walk directly over the irregularity of the basaltic rock was a long and painful task, making the arrival to São Roque last longer than the group had anticipated. However, still on this journey, I could not help noticing the constant presence of the huge mountain peak that stood out in the clouds whenever I turned to the inner side of the island.


From São Roque, we left for Terra Alta, where a jeep awaited us. It was a big surprise when we got to this place because we found a little wild paradise at the end of a road that faced the sea.

Already inside the path of the lagoons, the time began to change and we found ourselves in a dense fog, which forced us to go on and on. In the midst of this monotonous and dangerous road, there was a time when part of the fog dissipated, letting one peek at an incredible prehistoric lagoon, the Peixinho Lagoon. We stopped and left the jeep to record that moment but for a little while, because minutes later, the fog returned to cover the entire surrounding landscape.

After this adventure, we stopped at Lajes do Pico, where once again the mountain showed itself, but this time in a different way. As the sun set behind the island, for the first time in the whole trip the mountain revealed itself in its totality, imposing a great respect. It was not only his most dazzling view but the most stormy one. It was at that precise moment that I felt a strong tightness in the stomach just thinking that the next day the group would climb to the top of that giant mountain, staying there for the night.

The Conquest

We had arrived at the Mountain House around five o'clock in the afternoon. I was afraid I would not make it to the top of the mountain before nightfall, but I started the course without thinking about it again. It was a very difficult climb and I did not feel like taking photos all the way up.

After two and a half hours of great effort, we finally made it to the peak crater. I did not expect what appeared before my eyes, an exaggerated volcanic landscape surrounded by walls 30 meters high. Minutes later I returned to feel calm to enjoy the place, but first we had to find a refuge inside the protected crater and sheltered to mount the camp. I fell asleep with the image of the sunset over a sea of ​​clouds in contrast to the dark crater.

We spent a very troubled night because of a strong storm that lasted for hours. We woke up, tidied up the tents, and started down the road we had so hard climbed the day before. We walked under a dense fog on a cold winter dawn arriving at the Mountain House, completely worn and soaked.

The Reward

We quickly reached Madalena to catch the boat to Faial Island, where the priority was to find a comfortable house to rest, wash the trash and reorganize the trip. Suddenly we were in paradise, but the most interesting thing is that from anywhere in Horta I was constantly looking at the mountain of Pico. He looked at the mountain with other eyes, feeling that he already knew her. It was always with this distant "but close" vision that I bid farewell to Faial, always reminding myself of all the experience I had lived on the island of Pico in just three days.

Technical Data (Equipment and Support):

© Carolina Delgado Photography

Camera – Canon EOS 600D

Technique Used - Digital

Support – Satin Photo Paper 270g/m2

- written in 2018

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