Sunday, 14 September 2014

Two Springs Walk

View from Degollada de Ifonche

Summer is not a good time for walkers in Tenerife. The sun is at it's most powerful and this combined with the high temperatures make it very uncomfortable for walking. During this period, I usually plan which walks I want to do during the coming walking season, which I start as soon as the temperatures become a little more bearable, usually in the latter half of October. One of the last walks I did before the weather got too hot was to investigate some newly recovered and signposted paths to two springs in the Ifonche region. I had noticed the signs when walking in the area and took the opportunity to investigate them and in doing so, created a very interesting circular walk. Starting from close to the parapente launch point, at the foot of Roque de Los Bresos, I walked the camino rural before picking up the sign to the Fuente de Las Pilas in the Barranco del Rey. I have crossed the barranco at this point on many occasions in the past but never knew of the existence of the spring until the installation of the signs, so I was grateful to whoever is responsible for them. A pleasant path led me through trees and bushes initally, before descending to the rocky stream bed of the barranco, arriving a short time later at a neatly tended 'garden' surrounding the Fuente de Las Pilas. It was clear that someone was tending to the area around the spring as the plants and flowers were obviously planted and cared for. The spring flowed gently through a three-tiered rock 'water feature' creating a very peaceful and pleasing ambience. Leaving the spring, I continued along the rocky barranco floor to soon reach the top of a very dramatic dry waterfall in the Barranco del Rey. Peering over the edge was very exciting although it may not be to everyones taste as the drop is very sheer but it did give a stunning views into the deep part of the barranco below the El Refugio restaurant. Returning along the barranco, I climbed out and followed the dirt road from the restaurant to the Ifonche road, which I followed to the El Dornajo restaurant. This road is very quiet and largely traffic free so it is a pleasant walk.

Sign in the Barranco del Rey

La Fuente de Las Pilas

La Fuente de Las Pilas

Top of the waterfall in the Barranco del Rey

Barranco de La Fuente

Montaña Carrasco

Cave on the newly recovered path to La Fuente El Chorillo

Leaving the road just beyond El dornajo, I followed a sign to the Barranco del Infierno and soon located a path into the Barranco de La Fuente, which is the upper section of the Barranco del Infierno. This part of the walk was very scenic with stunning views into the barranco. Where the path left the barranco to follow the Camino de Carrasco at the foot of Montaña Carrasco, I left it for a newly recovered path whose existence I had not previously suspected when walking in the area. 

This path was a delight to walk and passed numerous caves before arriving at the La Fuente El Chorrillo. This spring was not quite as impressive as the Fuente de Las Pilas but this area was obviously tended as well as there were numerous flowers planted around the spring, one of them a large beautiful pink flower that I couldn't identify. 

Looking inland to the pine forest

Continuing from the spring, the path began to climb and I had fantastic views back to Montaña Carrasco and also inland towards the pine forests. Soon, I arrived back close to the parapente launch point after a walk of around 3.5 hours.     

Above the clouds near the start of the walk

If you want to download this GPS track, click on the Wikiloc logo in the top right hand corner of the map and download from the website.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Tenerife in Bloom

Tajinastes in Vilaflor

Recently, I have been training in the Tenerife hills for my imminent Pennine Way hike in the UK by carrying my rucksack weighing around 13 kilos, which is roughly what I'll be carrying on the walk. During my training I have been impressed by the beautiful floral displays I have seen on my walks, which as most of them have been in the south of the island has only highlighted that despite what many people believe, the south of the island is not a barren wasteland, good only for sunbathing or propping up a bar. The area around Vilaflor has been particularly stunning this year, helped no doubt by the rain in the winter and reinforced by a rather late season day of rain a couple of weeks back, which left Teide with a covering of snow in April! The Vilafor/Ifonche region has been a riot of colour with the dominant bloom being the California Poppy, although there have also been plenty of Corn Poppies as well. In the main plaza in the centre of Vilaflor, there were fine displays of the red Tajinastes just coming into bloom when I paid a visit the other day. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

'Winter' comes to Tenerife

Roque Imoque and the snow capped mountains of Las Cañadas

Here in Tenerife we have, at times, had quite a cool 'winter' with decent amounts of rainfall, which in the higher regions fall as snow. This weekend saw wintery conditions in the mountains and northern parts of the island, although here in the south, the 'bad weather' resulted in no more than a handful of showers in an otherwise sunny day. Today, (Sunday 16th Feb) I have been out walking in the Ifonche region and the weather was quite superb with clear blue skies, although, because of the altitude, it was quite chilly at times. The area looked particularly attractive with a backdrop of snow covered mountains above the pines. Of course, when the weather is bad in the mountains, this can be quite dangerous at altitude and over the weekend a group of walkers had to be rescued while trying to climb to the summit of Teide. 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Last Walk of 2013

New Years Eve saw beautiful weather across the island and I took the opportunity to check out some alternative paths above the tiny village of Las Vegas in the south-east. This is a scenically stunning part of the island and it looked particularly good as I set off into the hills, the recent storm having left the countryside looking very green. One surprise on the walk was the sight of almond blossom in bloom in the Barranco de Las Vegas, which is very early as it normally appears sometime during late January. Here are a few photos from the walk.

A stone oven used for drying fruit and baking bread

Leaving Las Vegas

Distant view of the mountains around the Las Cañadas National Park

Aeoniums, known locally as Bejeque

Descending into the barranco. Although the walk later crosses the Barranco de Las Vegas, this one is unnamed on the map.

Climbing out the opposite side of the barranco

This helicopter spent an age practicing manoeuvres above the Barranco de Las Vegas, it was a relief when it finally flew off

Entering the Barranco de Las Vegas

Cliff formation in the bottom of the barranco

These beautiful flowers are Cineraria

The Barranco de Las Vegas

The Barranco de Las Vegas

Almond Blossom in the Barranco