Another circular walk above the Barranco de Tagara

Teide wallflower (Erysimum scoparium)

Teide wallflower (Erysimum scoparium)

We did this walk last Saturday, starting from the Mirador below Pico Viejo, (rather confusingly called the Mirador de Chio) near km 3 of the TF-38, in the National Park. The first half followed the route taken by our walk on July 4th, but when we reached our lowest point, instead of turning right as we did then, to complete a circle, we turned left.  I was introducing my winter walking friends to the new path down from near the El Cedro firepower, which we had discovered on the July walk.

Malpica del cumbre (Carlina xeranthemoides) a Tenerife endemic thistle common in the drier parts of the island.

Malpica del cumbre (Carlina xeranthemoides) a Tenerife endemic thistle common in the drier parts of the island.

The new path had been further improved since we had used it before, and the lower part was much clearer and easier to walk. We all enjoyed the excellent views into the dramatic and beautiful Barranco de Tagara. The barranco was the worst-affected area during the forest fire in 2012, and was like a war zone after it – see my blog at the time.  It was lovely to see that the barranco is recovering its natural beauty. Most of the trees, which are Canary Pines (Pinus canariensis), are recovering well, with green sprouts appearing all up the badly burnt trunks. So instead of a broad green canopy, there are lots of green lollipop sticks! However, that lets more light reach the forest floor and the ground herbs are making the most of it, growing up and even flowering at this time of year.

A view down into the Barranco de Tagara, recovering from the 2012 forest fire

A view down into the Barranco de Tagara, recovering from the 2012 forest fire

I was amazed at the number of different flowers, which I had not expected at this time of year. We have had a little rain recently, and it has been quite warm, so some flowers we would see in spring have already started flowering.

Flor de malpais (Tolpis webbii), a Canary endemic of the high mountain area.

Flor de malpais (Tolpis webbii), a Canary endemic of the high mountain area.

On the north side of the El Cedro mountain there are a couple of water springs. They have been tunnelled in a little to increase the flow. Because there is always water there, there are always birds around too. And there are a wide variety of plants too, including the Tenerife endemic Night-scented campion (Silene nocteolens), which I did not get a good picture of, Mountain parsley (Pimpenella cumbrae), which was not in flower, and the Moralito (Rhamnus integrifolia) an evergreen shrub which is a Tenerife endemic also. Before the fire there were a few of these shrubs but yesterday I could only see one small one, but that is better than none.

One of the water springs on the north side of El Cedro mountain

One of the water springs on the north side of El Cedro mountain

We descended on the path past the firetower, and a few metres after passing it on our left we reached a cairned path on the right which we took for a short while, till we reached the new path going left marked by cairns and white paint spots, which crosses above the Barranco Tagara, with fantastic views down into it.

When we reached the track we crossed it, found the yellow/white way marked path from Boca de Tauce to Guia de Isora, the PR TF 70.  Initially we went a few metres straight along it to have lunch at the lovely viewpoint on the top of the small hill called Mt Tafosaya (point 8 on walk 9 in the book ‘Tenerife Nature Walks”.

A small specimen of the evergreen Tenerife endemic shrub Moralito (Rhamnus integrifolia) on top of a rock near the water spring

A small specimen of the evergreen Tenerife endemic shrub Moralito (Rhamnus integrifolia) on top of a rock near the water spring

It was warm and sunny and the view was great, although clouds were beginning to gather below us. We sat chatting and lunching and enjoying the scenery and ended up spending 30 minutes at the viewpoint!

After lunch we returned back to where we joined the PR TF 70 and continued in a southerly direction, back towards Boca de Tauce, and followed it until we came to the track on the bend with a fine view of Pico Viejo and Teide (see the last photo below), which is point 3 on walk 9 in the book.

Canary mountain figwort (Scrophularia glabrata) on Mt Cedro

Canary mountain figwort (Scrophularia glabrata) on Mt Cedro

From this bend we took the track descending gently on the Teide side of the caldera wall, and stayed on it till it reached the main road TF-38 near Km 3.

I noticed that on the left of the track as it ran next to the caldera wall the National park had clearly cut down some burnt shrubs and a few pines, and consequently a vast number of native plants had sprung up, including many of the iconic Teide Vipers bugloss (Echium wildpretii). In a year or two when these come to flowering there will be a lovely show there in May/June.

A Teide marguerite (Argyranthemum teneriffae) flowering in a sheltered position

A Teide marguerite (Argyranthemum teneriffae) flowering in a sheltered position

Despite our long lunch break, the walk only took a group of 8 fit walkers 3hrs 40m. It was around 10 km/6.25 ml long, with only 420m /1379 ft of ascent, although quite a lot of it does come at the end of the walk.

An unknown caterpillar we saw on the ground beneath pines near the firepower.

An unknown caterpillar we saw on the ground beneath pines near the firetower.

This very hairy caterpillar was seen, on its own, on the ground below pines near the firetower. I tried looking it up, and thought I had cracked it as the Pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa), so called (the english name) because the caterpillars tend to follow each other walking in long processions. However, I looked up the list of species for the Canary Islands and that moth is not found here. So has anyone any ideas?

Further research on this caterpillar leads me to think it is probably Calliteara fortunata which is a Canary endemic species whose caterpillars feed on Canary pine trees (Pinus canariensis), Retama (Spartocytisus supranubius) and escobon (Chaemacytisus proliferus). 

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About Sally Whymark

When I retired and moved out to Tenerife a few years ago, one of the things I really wanted to do was go walking in the mountains. The scenery is very dramatic, and varied. The views are amazing. The native birds and butterflies and other fauna are remarkable. But the flowers - they're just stunning. Little did I know how this would fire up my interest in plants. While living in England, I had always had an interest in flowers and plants, indeed I ran a plant nursery with my husband for many years, but had not spent a great deal of time pursuing botany. But when walking in Tenerife, I noticed all the unfamiliar shapes of the local flowers, and longed to find out more about them. There are literally hundreds of species endemic to just Tenerife (or even just one part of it), the Canary Islands, or Macronesia (the Atlantic Islands, including Madeira, Canaries and Azores). They are so exciting, and so many of them are really showy as well. So I have started this blog to share with you my excitement at all the great sights I see when walking in Tenerife. I hope you'll enjoy it - and want to come here and experience it for yourself.

Posted on November 18, 2013, in West Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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