Exploring around Las Lajas barbecue park above Vilaflor
I apologise for the long silence on the blog. I have been away a couple of times, and have been busy with other things that needed doing in the interim, including lots of fruit preserves with the autumn harvest of quinces and apples among other things. One of my trips was a 6-day trip to La Palma walking in the north of the island on the GR130. It is spectacular walking, although strenuous, and we were lucky (in October) to have good weather all the days except one. That day we should have stayed indoors, but we chose to do a part of the GR130 which we thought was less challenging, although we still had to abort the walk before the finish due to torrential rain. If I find time, I will post more about this trip in the next week or two.
For today I am going to describe a walk I did with a group of intrepid walkers yesterday. We explored a path we had found last Saturday, and decided to follow it and find out where it went. We started the walk from the Las Lajas barbecue park off the road from Vilafor to Boca de Tauce and Teide. Having parked at the barbecue park we walked down the main track passing to the right of the bar and continuing down. At the fork of tracks we went on the left fork (straight on) and curved slightly to the right with the play area to the left till we saw two lines of stones focussing onto a path leading downhill at first, then rising gently to skirt the right-hand flank of the Mt Las Lajas. As we climbed the mountain we saw a small collection of birds flying ahead, including blue chaffinches and Canary woodpeckers, which are frequently seen in the vicinity of the barbecue park.
After a while we reached an outcrop of rocks with a signboard in front of them. We scrambled up the rocks to get an excellent view of a large part of the country we were going to be walking through on our circuit back to Las Lajas. At present, of course, a lot of the trees are showing the damage caused by the July fire but most in that area will recover, and some are already showing new shoots after the recent rain. Continuing along the path we moved around the mountain and came to another signboard, this time largely illegible, but it marks a right turn to another excellent viewpoint, looking more to the south than the previous one and including views to the rich farming areas of Ifonche and the plains of Trevejos, and on to the coast below.
Continuing downhill the path, which is used a lot by mountain bikers for precipitous downhill rides, is somewhat rough with loose stones, and with pine needles on some of the solid rocks making them slippy too. So we had to go down with care. We were passed at one point by 3 mountain bikers, who, I was glad to see, were well protected by helmets and other safety gear. As we went down I was trying to look out for a path going to the right which I thought might join with one we descended on lower down last week, but we did not see a well defined path so we continued down. After crossing a large attractive rocky barranco called the Brco de Cuervos (Raven’s ravine), we continued down till we reached a track, where we turned right.
We walked along the track for a little over 200m, ignoring a track turning to the left. When we got to a sharp turning left on the track we were following, there was a path going right on the bend, marked by two cairns, which we took. The path has a galvanized water pipe following it, and we were to follow this, more or less, all the way to the Galeria Encarnacion Santa Ursula. Initially the path, which immediately crosses back over the Barranco de Cuervos, is well defined and fairly well walked, although still with a lot of loose stones on it. After the barranco the path heads in a roughly north-westerly direction, beside the pipe. Here it is still well-defined with parallel lines of stones either side, until we reached the ridge where last week we turned left, going down until we reached a track lower down. Unfortunately, at this point the stone lines defining the path disappeared, and there was not much obvious wear on the path to indicate direction either, but we followed the pipe and soon came to the edge of the Barranco del Rey – a deep ravine. Here the pipe took us onto a path which was well marked, although rough underfoot, which zig-zagged down the side of the ravine.
Half-way down the slope a path went to the right, with the pipe, but since the main path appeared to go left, and the ravine appeared steeper to the right we went left. At the bottom of the ravine, some cairns guided us across the dry streambed and up the other side, then towards the right where there was a fork in the path. The right fork took us past a circle of stones, and then up the slope opposite, although there was a lack of cairns in the lower part of this slope.
At the top of this slope, where the ground levelled off we decided to stop for lunch. Afterwards, we discovered the cairns had again disappeared, and the obvious path, so from here on we followed, more or less, the water pipe, picking our way across the ridge strewn with loose stones. We came to the edge of another barranco, but this time not so deep, and we decided to keep close to the pipe at the base of some rocks and as it headed for the building at the Galeria which was just opposite. Between us and the building was the spoil heap of rubble dug out of the water mine (Galeria), and this was loose to walk over, so I chose to walk around the back of it, although most of my companions went straight over.
At the Galeria we joined a track, and from here to the end our walk was easy, even though uphill, all the way back to Las Lajas. The track from the Galeria joined another, bigger, track after about 300m, where we turned right, continuing uphill. The track zig-zags uphill for about 3 km with views up the side of the Mt Las Lajas which we set out on, and across the valley to the left and Mt Colorada (the red one).
The whole walk took us just under 4 hours, and was 11.3km / 7.06miles long. It involved approximately 450m of accumulated climbing, most of which was towards the end of the walk. I would only recommend it to those who are not put off by rough surfaces underfoot, and having to find your way without clear paths. The lack of clear paths makes it unsuitable for conditions of bad visibility, when you will miss out anyway on the fabulous views.
A downloadable GPS track of this walk can be found at:
Posted on November 25, 2012, in South Tenerife, Walks in Tenerife and tagged Barranco de Cuervos, Barranco del Rey, hiking, Ifonche, Las Lajas, nature, outdoors, Tenerife, Trevejos, Vilaflor, walking. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.