Exploring a new circular walk above Ifonche
This walk was done on Friday, when the hot calima weather was starting, so we were glad of the shade of the pines. The initial climb was the hardest, so we got that out of the way before it got too hot. We set out from the crossroads by Bar El Dornajito at the far end of Ifonche village, going up the hill. Whilst still on the minor tarmac road I spotted a late flowering Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis) beside the road. As I was away over their main flowering season I missed seeing the masses in flower, but this was a delightful reminder.
Where the tarmac road did a 90º turn to the left we went straight on following a track. We continued straight on up where the GR131 was signposted off to the right, and again where a track went to the right.. The track finally stopped by a house, but from there a footpath started, continuing straight on up.
After a while the path descended into a shallow barranco, the Barranco del Agua and continued along its bottom to a junction. The most well-worn path turned sharply to the left here, but we went straight on up the barranco following cairns. It was a bit rough underfoot on this stretch but manageable with boots. The path continued up the bottom of the barranco till nearly reaching a wall of cliffs, where it turned sharply right, up the slope out of the barranco and onto a ridge.
As I climbed out of the barranco I noticed the sun filtering through the pines above and highlighting the pink flower of the Pine forest cistus (Cistus symphytifolius). At the top, from the ridge there was a great view through the pines down to Roque Imoque and Ifonche village. We then walked up the ridge, following the cairns, till we reached a slightly flatter area with a small semi-circular walled structure, probably a shepherd shelter. At this point is a crossing of footpaths. We continued straight on, slightly uphill, turning left after a few yards to follow a narrow, cairned path around the bottom of the hill, Alto de Chimoche.
After about 10 minutes walking we reached a path junction and turned left, and shortly after at a fork in the path we took the right fork. We then continued following this path until we came to a disused water channel across our way. This again is a crossing of paths, and again we continued straight on, over the canal and immediately descending into a barranco, the Barranco de la Fuente. Crossing the streambed, we followed the path out the other side and continued in the same direction, following the path and its cairns until we met a track. Here we wasted a good deal of time as the map showed the track forming a loop, both ends of which reached a track descending from Mt Teresme. However, our investigations of the lower part of the track loop proved it did not exist. The track ended and although there was a path continuing, with cairns, it soon died out, as did another alternative. So we returned to the point where our path from the barranco crossing joined the track, and went along the higher part of the ‘loop’ on the map. This did join the downhill track from Teresme and we turned left to walk down this track.
We continued down this track, which is easy to walk, till we reached a bar gate at a junction of tracks. We turned left to continue downhill down the same ridge we were on, till we reached a point where the track went sharply to the left. In the next few yards we looked to the right for cairns, which marked a footpath zig-zagging down a steep hillside to meet another path where we turned left. We were now on the main, well-known and well-trodden footpath from La Quinta, Taucho, to Ifonche. We continued along it, with its ups and downs around barrancos, till we reached Ifonche, near the Bar El Dornajito again.
On the way, in the biggest barranco we crossed, which was again the Barranco de la Fuente, there were some plants in flower despite the drought. A few Roof houseleeks (Aeonium urbicum var. meridionale) were in flower on the cliffs as we entered this big and very scenic barranco, and some Tenerife Bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus campylocladus) in the path. At the streambed crossing there were some plants of the rare endemic, Tenerife sea-kale (Crambe scaberrima) in flower hanging from the cliff on the other side, and a bit off the path up the streambed was a Poleo de Monte (Bystropogon canariensis) in flower. In the streambed by the path exiting, a huge shrub of Shrubby burnet (Bencomia caudata) was also in flower, with its long knobbly catkins. The other side of the barranco had the purple flowers of Palomera (Pericallis lanata) and some of the local endemic marguerites (Argyranthemum foeniculaceum), in addition to more pine forest cistus. This floral richness even in a time of drought shows just why this is part of the Reserva natural especial del Barranco del Infierno which houses great biodiversity including many rarities.
The whole walk took us 5 hours, but that included one large and two small diversions looking for paths, so without those it would have taken about 3.5-4 hours. It would then have been around 11km/6.9miles long and involved about 400m of climbing.
A GPS trail of this walk without our diversions can be found at this link:
Posted on May 13, 2012, in South Tenerife, Walks in Tenerife and tagged Argyranthemum foeniculaceum, Barranco de la Fuente, Canary endemics, Cistus sympytifolius, Ifonche, Reserva natural especial Barranco del infierno, Sonchus canariensis, Tenerife, Tenerife endemics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.