Two dramatic crossings of the Barranco de Erques, Guia de Isora
Today, usually a walking day, it is raining light intermittent but sometimes heavy rain, somewhat like a wet summer day in England. So I decided not to go walking, but to go for a swim in the local indoor swimming pool, and then catch up on another blog I have not had time to do recently.
This walk was done a week ago, on 5th April, 2014. It starts in Vera de Erques, Guia de Isora, by the school as did my blog of March 24th, 2013, going up the same path to the old farmhouse at Pajar de la Coruna, but turning right there instead of left as we did then.
The path from Pajar de la Coruna towards the Barranco de Erques is somewhat overgrown now, mainly with soft growth such as the local marguerite. The wildfire of 2012 burnt all the shrubs from this area and now the ground flora is regenerating but there are as yet no big shrubs, apart from a few larger Tree sow-thistles (Sonchus canariensis).
Because of the fire devastation, the path was not much walked for the last 18 months and for this reason it is hard to see. It crosses a number of minor valleys before it reaches the major barranco of Erques. With a GPS you will be able to follow the path with confidence but without one you will have to look hard for the cairns and path edging stones to find the path – see the link to a downloadable GPS track below.
The place where the path crosses the Barranco de Erques, which incidentally is called the Barranco Ucasme there, is just above a junction of two barrancos, the first one we crossed being the Barranco de Juan Viña. At the junction the two watercourses enter a narrow gorge and then emerge lower down at an impressive cliff called Tonásaro. We had a fine view of this half-way down the path on the other side of the barranco.
At the side of the path descending into the Barranco de Juan Viña is a cliff, at the base of which are a number of caves which were inhabited in the past by herdsmen who looked after goat herds in this area. The caves are called the Cuevas de Pi. The path ascends the other side and turns a corner into the next barranco, with another cliff to the left of the path. At the base of the cliffs a profusion of plants were growing including a lot of the Tenerife vipers bugloss (Echium virescens). Unfortunately in the second barranco the cliffs have had rock falls and in places it is hard to get around the fallen rocks. In one place the path is blocked also by a large shrub with a trunk like a tree which appears to have fallen from the cliff after dying in the fire. We had to divert down the steep slope to find a way around this as it was impossible to move it.
The path then descends to the watercourse not far below a sharp drop in levels where an impressive waterfall must flow in storms. Then a gentle slope takes one out of the barranco. The north-facing slopes on the way up are covered with lots of flowers, especially the delightful Palomera (Pericallis lanata), and its relative, Cineraria (Pericallis echinata).
Out of the barranco the path meets a track, where we turned left for a few yards before turning sharp right onto a footpath again. This led alongside fields, and it can be seen that there are a number of fields in this area, many of them still cultivated. There are no houses, apart from a ramshackle wooden one which is probably just used as an occasional dwelling. This area is known as El Cedro, and is quite a surprise when you come upon it so far from other cultivated land.
After a while the path does a 90 degree turn to the right to join another track, but here we made the mistake of turning left, which made it difficult to find the path down. We should have continued straight on, on the track. The track turns to the left after a while and then to the right and soon after that the path we were looking for goes off to the left, marked by a cairn.
Once found that path is very easy to follow down the ridge, as it has cairns and edge stones all the way. It approaches an area with pine trees, where the main path goes left to cross a barranco and then joins a major access track which will take you down to the village of Tijoco Alto. However, if you go that way you will miss the impressive view of the cliff Tonásaro, and views into the beautiful Barranco de Erques. So instead of turning left, we went right, past the pine tree, on a minor path marked by cairns.
The path is narrow and rough, but a lot easier to follow than when we first walked it a few years ago. Remember to look to your right to see the impressive cliff Tonásaro, and you can divert to a rocky knoll to get a better view of it. Otherwise just carry on down the ridge, and when the path gets near the edge of the barranco, as it does a few times, take the opportunity to look up and down to appreciate its beauty.
When the path joins a track going downhill, start looking very soon for cairns for a path going right, which will take you back to the Erques barranco for the crossing back to Vera de Erques. This is another beautiful crossing, but the descent has a lot of loose stones in places so it needs careful attention to walk down it safely.
The path out of the barranco is more gentle with lovely views along it. Near the top is an abundance of a fairly unremarkable plant which is very common in Tenerife, and is another Canary endemic, Ratonera (Forsskaoleo angustifolia)
Emerging from the barranco the path joins a track, go left downhill for about 30 metres and then turn right onto a footpath which then descends to an asphalt minor road and follow that to the right to return to the village of Vera de Erques.
The walk was 11.5 km / 7.2 miles with 718m / 2357 ft of ascent and descent. It took a small group of us 5.5 hours to complete. The GPS track can be found at the following link:
Posted on April 12, 2014, in Botanical interest, Walks in Tenerife, West Tenerife and tagged Barranco de Erques, Bladder campion, Echium virescens, Forsskaoleo angustifolia, Guia de Isora, hiking, Montaña Tejina, Mt Tejina, Pajar de la Coruna, Palomera, Pericallis lanata, Ratonera, senderismo, Silene vulgaris, Sonchus canariensis, Tenerife, Tenerife vipers bugloss, Tijoco Alto, Tree sow-thistle, Vera de Erques, walking. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.