Friday, 29 November 2013

Walking in Arico

View from the Lomo de Tamadaya

This week, I walked from the beautifully preserved village of Arico Nuevo to El Contador, high in the mountains above Arico. The walk, which was quite strenuous, is around 20 kilometres long, took 7.5 hours and involved around 4,600ft/1,400 mtrs of ascent. After leaving Arico Nuevo, I followed an old camino real to Villa de Arico from where I picked up the PR -TF86 path to El Contador, a recreation zone/barbecue area in the pine forest. From there, I followed another branch of the PR-TF86 back to Arico Nuevo. The scenery, particularly around the Roques de Tamadaya is stunning. Below is a video of photos and video clips taken on the walk. 

Unfortunately, the batteries on my GPS unit expired during the walk so the track is incomplete. However, most of the route is here and the missing section is easy to follow back to Arico Nuevo as you just stay on the PR-TF86 and follow the signs back to the village. Please refer to the first paragraph for the full specification of the walk.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A walk around Cabezo del Viento, Anaga, Tenerife

View to Teide from Mirador de Jardines

I started this walk from the stunning Mirador de Jardines viewpoint from where I had breathtaking views across to the peak of Teide as puffs of cotton-wool like cloud threatened to obscure the volcano. 

V iew to Santa Cruz harbour along the Barranco de Tahodio

The walk initially followed a path above the Barranco de Tahodio with it's reservoir and views down to the harbour in the islands capital of Santa Cruz. 

Roque del Agua

Soon however, the path plunged into dense laurisilva forest as it climbed up to the next mirador viewpoint on the walk at Pico del Ingles. If anything this was an even more impressive vantage point than the Mirador de Jardines although this was tempered somewhat by the coach parties milling about so I didn't hang around for long. 

The village of Los Catalanes

Descending steeply now, I plunged once again into the forest, eventually emerging to yet more postcard views of Roque del Agua and the small village of Los Catalanes nestled quietly in the floor of a beautiful valley. I paused for a while to take in the peace and quiet as I enjoyed the views of the laurel forested mountains surrounding Los Catalanes. 

Views of Roque de La Forteleza

Continuing, I followed the path as it circled around the flanks of Cabezo del Viento, soon passing the scattered houses at La Forteleza from where I had excellent views of the imposing Roque de La Forteleza.

Cabezo del Viento

A fairly steep climb soon led me back into the forest and I plunged steeply down the wooded slopes before emerging from the trees once again and more stunning views into the Barranco de Tahodio. A short walk back up the camino rural and I was back at the car after a scenically impressive walk, in what is for me, the most beautiful area of Tenerife.

Monday, 9 September 2013

A Circular walk from Los Cristianos to Montaña Rasca

The coastal walk from Los Cristianos to Punta de Rasca passes through the Malpais de Rasca, a protected volcanic area on the southern tip of the island. After climbing the cliffs from the seafront the early part of the walk follows the Guaza plateau before dropping steeply down to the beach at the resort of Palm-mar. From here, the path through the malpais is followed to the lighthouse at Punta de Rasca, which is a good spot for a break. From here, the path carries on along the coast to the coastal town of Las Galletas but on this occasion I was heading inland to the volcanic cone of Montaña Rasca. The path continues through the malpais passing numerous spurges and prickly pear plants before climbing steeply to the summit marker. From here there is a superb panorama of the coast as well as excellent views inland of the summit of Roque del Conde and Teide itself, the summit of which is just visible peeping over the caldera wall. From Montaña Rasca, a trail is followed back down passing vineyards to the road and the Palm-mar arch. After a short walk along the road, the route strikes off again on a path onto the Guaza plateau for the second time. After crossing  the plateau, a path descends back down into Los Cristianos.

 Los Cristianos as seen on the climb to the Guaza plateau
On the Guaza plateau

Roque del Conde & Teide from Palm-mar

Lighthouse at Punta de Rasca

Heading towards Montaña Rasca

Palm-mar from the summit

The summit marker

Looking inland from the summit marker
Montaña Guaza and vineyards from the summit
Approaching the Palm-mar road

Returning to the Guaza plateau

Returning to Los Cristianos

Download a GPS file of this and other trails at my Wikiloc page

Friday, 12 July 2013

Chinyero and Montana del Estrecho

Montana Chinyero, with Teide & Pico Viejo in the background

In 1909, to the north-west of Teide, the last ever eruption on the island took place. The cinder cone of Montana Chinyero was formed during this eruption and a circular walking route of 5.7 kilometres was renovated and signposted in 2009 to mark the centenary of the event.

The path runs through pines and lava fields

As you circle around the dark volcano, there are excellent views of the cone itself, as well the lava flows that spewed from the ground, looking now like a black, stormy sea, frozen forever in time. The lava flowed into the Santiago valley but so legend has it, was stopped in it's tracks before reaching the villages of Santiago del Teide and Las Manchas by statues of Santa Ana and the Virgin of the Peace, which were placed in front of the advancing flow.

La Gomera and the Santiago Valley from Montana del Estrecho

The walk is easily accessed from the TF38 road to the Las Canadas National Park from Chio, there is space to park a car on the right shortly after a 'Chinyero' sign, the start of a track leading to the path is across the road heading into the pines. I usually walk this route in an anti-clockwise direction so I turned right when the path crossed the track and climbed higher up into the forest. As the climb levels out, there are superb views of the Chinyero cone and the surrounding lava flow.

Montana Negra (right) as seen on the climb to Montana del Estrecho

The route is easy to follow as it is well marked by finger posts and yellow paint marks on the rocks. One of the most interesting sections is where the walk actually crosses the lava flow as this gives you a good idea of the size of the sea of lava as it flowed down the valley en-route to Santiago del Teide.

Path junction after the lava field

Once across the lava, the walk turns left for the short walk back to the TF38 but a good diversion is to cross the track here and climb a steep, narrow path of loose stones and soil up the flank of Montana del Estrecho. Once on the track above, it encircles the mountain a number of times as you gently ascend to the summit.

Refuge on Montana del Estrecho

The ever-changing views on the ascent as well as from the summit make this a worthwhile side-trip as you are afforded excellent aerial views of Chinyero and the lava fields as well as Teide and Pico Viejo among many others.

Chinyero erupting

On the summit you will find an old refuge where you can sit and enjoy a break as you take in the views. To resume the walk just retrace your steps and pick up the Chinyero signposts once again. Overall, the walk takes around 3 hours and is a leisurely but spectacular introduction to the scenery in this area. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Ruta del Agua & the Barranco de Badajoz, Guimar

San Juan, Guimar 

The Ruta del Agua (Water Route) is a walk from the San Juan district of Guimar to the old hydro-electric station built in 1924 for the supply of electricity to the town and surrounding district. This took advantage of the very steep terrain and the numerous water gallerias that fed water downhill via a network of tajeas, or water channels.

Plaza de San Juan

Although I climbed up from the TF28 in the middle of Guimar, it is possible to omit this section and start the walk from San Juan, thereby saving your legs for the very steep climb to the hydro-electric station. The walk has been signposted by the local authorities but much of the information on the signs has been either destroyed by the sun or vandalised, leaving the signposts with a blank plate on top.

Heading into the hills at the start of the walk

Once the Plaza de San Juan is left on an extremely steep lane to the left of the church, the route is quite easy to follow. Above the buildings, the spectacular bowl of mountains in which Guimar nestles becomes a prominent feature that demands your attention as you puff your way uphill.

Water rushes downhill in one of the water channels

 Fairly early on the in route, you begin to encounter some of the water channels and it's good to see so many still in use on this walk as many of them criss-crossing the island are sadly dry & disused having been replaced by more efficient but less aesthetically pleasing plastic or metal pipes.

The old hydro-electric station

Very steep staircase alongside water channel

As I climbed, the mountains forming the walls of the Barranco de Badajoz, an objective for later in the walk, created an impressive backdrop. Soon, the hydro came into view and standing aside to allow a 4 wheel drive vehicle to pass, I was surprised when  the driver stopped and offered me some of the freshly picked 'melocotones' (peaches) from her basket. I took two and thanked her as she assured me that they were 'natural'.

Heading into the barranco

Continuing, I reached the old hydro building, the disused insulators still attached to the wall being the only clues as to it's former use. The route from here descended incredibly steeply on a stone staircase alongside a water channel plunging downhill and I followed it until around halfway down the hill where the stairs suddenly stopped at the point where a landslip had demolished the staircase.

In the barranco

After picking my way carefully over the rubble, I continued following a narrow path along the water channel with a fairly steep drop off to my left and continued descending steeply to the floor of the Barranco de Badajoz. Now the walk changed in character completely as I followed a wide dirt track gently uphill into the barranco.

Barranco walls towering hundreds of feet above

Here, the immensity of the mountains forming the barranco walls was brought into sharp focus as the great towering pinnacles soared hundreds of feet up into the sky. Eventually, I reached the head of the barranco where I found the remains of an old pumping station surrounded by the imposing walls that signalled the limit of my progress and I turned around and retraced my steps back down the barranco.

Looking back into the barranco

Reaching the outer extremities of habitation, the track became metalled and I strolled back passing 'huertos' heavy with grapevines and other fruit, eventually arriving back in Guimar after a fascinating walk through the history of the region. 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Puerto de Erjos to Las Portelas

Large Leaved St.John's Wort

Yesterday, I set off from a fairly cold and cloudy parking spot by an information board at Puerto de Erjos overlooking the Erjos Pools to walk the Cumbre be Bolico and Cumbre de Masca ridge to the village of Las Portelas in the El Palmar Valley.

Looking down onto Masca

The weather was cold and misty enough to cause me to put on my fleece, which doesn't happen very often but once I had entered the laurisilva forest the wind dropped and the temperature improved somewhat. 


This spring has been a very good one for flowers and although they are now a little past their best, there were still plenty of colourful blooms to add colour to the scenery on this section with plenty of yellow Large Leaved St.John's Wort and Echium Augustifolium decorating the path at the edge of the forest. 

Looking along the Cumbre de Bolico

As I reached the Cumbre de Bolico, I dropped out of the cloud and fantastic views opened up into the Masca valley far below. 

Las Portelas comes into View

I followed the ridge for some distance, stopping often to enjoy the views, which now included the El Palmar valley, where I could see my next objective, the village of Las Portelas. 

Descending to Las Portelas

Dropping off of the ridge, I soon found myself in the village and began the long climb back up onto the ridge passing the Albergue de Bolico hostel on the outer edge of the village. This looked shut but had an observation terrace with a telescope for observing the nearby mountains so I took advantage of this before continuing the long climb back onto the ridge. 

Climbing from Las Portelas
After a fairly strenuous climb I arrived back at the Cumbre de Bolico and re-traced my steps to the car after 4.75 hours of walking.  

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Exploring the Barranco de Tagara

Montaña del Cedro

I have been busy recently with guiding so haven't had much time to explore new routes or update this blog but yesterday I managed to check out a route I haven't walked before around the Roques del Cedro close to the perimeter of the National Park. I started the walk from the Mirador de Chio on the TF38,  the bulk of Pico Viejo forming an imposing backdrop as Teide peered over it's shoulder like a big brother keeping an eye on his wayward younger sibling.

Roques del Cedro

The walk started with a short walk along the road, which ploughs a furrow through the impressive lava flow that emanated from the Narices del Teide (Nostrils of Teide) on the flank of Pico Viejo in 1798. The origin of the eruption is quite visible on the slopes of Pico Viejo with the black 'smudge' of the 'nostrils' and the resultant lava flow forming a dark trail down the mountainside.

Pico Viejo with Teide peering over it's shoulder 

Leaving the road, I headed towards the Roques del Cedro on a wide dirt track that follows the base of the ridge before leaving it for a fairly steep path up to the pass between the Roques del Cedro and Montaña del Cedro. As I reached the pass, a vast panorama opened up before me to the south-west, while to my right, I had occasional glimpses of the peaks of the Teno Mountains partially hidden by ragged clouds flapping around the mountaintops like flags in the wind

Tagara Fire Tower

As I rounded Montaña del Cedro I came across the Fuente del Cedro, flowing from a small cave opening in  the mountain below a religious shrine. As the path levelled out, the Tagara fire watchtower came into view and as I descended to it, the first evidence of the devastation caused by last summers wildfires became evident. The path now descended steeply past the tower and it was on this stretch that the stunning views combined with the need to divert fairly regularly around large blackened pine trees blocking the path.

Above the Barranco de Tagara

This sad sight was mitigated somewhat by the now stunning views into the Barranco de Tagara, a huge rent in the landscape descending towards the bulk of Montaña Tejina far below by the deserted village of Las Fuentes, which was easily identified by the white chapel on it's summit. I had sat by the chapel a couple of weeks earlier for a break looking inland at the sharply rising ground feeling as though I was on the top of the world but I now looked down on Montaña Tejina reduced to a fairly insignificant green hill below. As I continued to descend, I reached an area where the path joined the well marked TF-PR70 footpath from Guia de Isora to Boca Tauce and had to spend a few minutes negotiating the numerous large blackened trunks of fallen pines blocking the way.

In the Barranco deTagara

After a painfully steep section of the path, it soon began to descend into the Barranco de Tagara. The scenery here was simply superb and had a 'lost world' feel to it and I felt that no other person had ever set  foot here before. This illusion was soon dispelled as the smell of freshly cut wood and the sight of sawn logs and sawdust at the side of the path indicated that the clearance after the fires and the recent storm was already under way. Reaching the streambed of the barranco by the Galeria de La Madre, I began the very steep climb up the opposite wall of the ravine, stopping regularly to absorb the views and the remote feel of this impressive barranco, the silence broken only by the wind in the fire blackened pines.

Pico Viejo & Teide reappear

After the steep climb out the the barranco, the climbing eased and after criss-crossing the Barranco del Fraile, I continued steeply up to the Boca de Chavao as Pico Viejo and Teide made a dramatic reappearance through the pines. From the pass, the route followed the broad track from the early part of the walk back to the road after five hours of fairly strenuous but spectacular walking.