An exploration above El Jaral, Guia de Isora
Last Friday I fulfilled a wish of several years. I explored the paths above El Jaral, some of which I have known about for about 6 years, but never attempted before. I was pleasantly surprised to find the paths had been cleared recently, making them easy to follow and walk. Unfortunately the clearance work was not quite completed, and one section of about 1km is extremely overgrown. So overgrown that the path is hard to see, and in some places where you can see it, it is impossible to walk in because of shrubs with trunks the size of small trees. I hope that the Cabildo or Ayuntamiento (the Island council, or the local council), whichever it was that commissioned the clearance, will complete the work this winter.
The area is rich in a variety of plantlife, but there were few flowers at this time of year. It was still surprisingly green, but it would be a spectacular route in spring, when there would be a profusion of flowers. However, there were also lots of birds in the shrubby areas, including blackbirds, blue tits, spectacled warblers and chiff-chaffs. We were sitting having our lunchbreak in the overgrown bit of path, when a chiff-chaff hunting insects in the shrubs nearby came really close. It did not hurry away, so we got a good look at it. There were also kestrels and buzzards in the sky. The whole walk, although it started from a village, and later passed through a farmed area, felt like we were miles from anywhere. And the views were great, in all directions, to Guia de Isora, the coast and other western islands, across to Mt Tejina, and up to the mountains above.
We started the walk along the road past the old school. The tarmac soon runs out and becomes a track till it reaches a finca on a steep slope above us, from which a farmer watched us as we found the path start just after his entrance. Immediately the path entered the Barranco del Pozo, high on its left hand side, then it began to descend, crossed the streambed and climb the opposite slope. At times it was quite steep, but in the morning this climb was in the shade, which made it easier. Gradually we climbed towards the Casa Don Tomás, a small abandoned house on a rocky outcrop overlooking the barranco from the other side. As we grew near it you could not see it, so I had to turn around to look at it, after we had passed below it. Crossing a minor streambed, and then a fenced farm with dogs and goats by the sound of them, the path came out on a track in El Choro. We turned left up the track continuing the ascent, with a couple of shortcut paths where the track had big loops, passing some prosperous looking vineyards and potato fields. After the fields the track deteriorated and became very rough and stony, but we continued up till we reached the edge of the Barranco Niagara. The views into the barranco were lovely and we walked up the edge of the barranco accompanied by the sound of goats calling.
We passed a cave on the right of the path, and reached a rocky platform above it, and shortly after saw our path to the left, with and arrow and ‘El Jaral 3 hrs’ in white paint on the wall. This was the start of the overgrown part of the path. At first it was alright, though narrow, but soon it became apparent that there were various parallel goat paths, which was fine until we needed to do a descent to cross a barranco. We found we had lost the correct path, but after a little hunting we found it again, although it was not always possible to stay in it, we could see where it went. This carried on well until we reached a ridge where my GPS track downloaded from Wikiloc (thank you ‘javiersanp’), indicated we should turn left along the ridge, but it was hard to see the path. We continued along the ridge following the track for some way until, with great relief, we reached a cleared pathway leading down the ridge slope to the right. From here on the path was again easy to walk.
Going down the slope the path came close to the Galeria Saltadero de Aguilar, a water mine, one of many that perforate the mountains in Tenerife, drawing out the groundwater. The obvious signs of it being the block-built building and a metal pipe taking the water away. We continued the path up the opposite side of the valley. A path to the right goes up the ridge, past a large abandoned farmhouse, and on to La Chifira. That will have to be another day’s exploration. We continued down the ridge following the cairns accompanying the cleared path. We ignored a sign indicating the path going steeply down, and were glad we did as we later rejoined the path as it descended the slope. The rehabilitated path had either added or reinstated some zig-zags in the path which made the slope more manageable. The path then rounded a rocky promontory and descended a flight of rock steps to join a track to yet another Galeria. Turning left we walked along the track, which became a tarmac minor road, till we reached a crossing of the Camino del Cumbre, a fine old stone path which goes up towards Las Cañadas. We turned left for the steep descent to El Jaral village, arriving at the top of Calle Niagara.
A GPS track of this walk can be found at:
Posted on October 4, 2011, in West Tenerife and tagged Barranco El Pozo, Barranco Niagara, Davillia canariensis, El Choro, El Jaral, Guia de Isora, Kleinia neriflolia, Tenerife. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.