Category Archives: Anaga

A couple of walks in the laurel forests of Anaga

I have been busy lately and not had a lot of time to write about some walks I have done recently, but I am just going to share some photos of the scenery and flowers.

Forest bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), a  Canary endemic which grows in the laurel forests

Forest bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), a Canary endemic which grows in the laurel forests

Woundwort - (Stachys ocymastrum) seen on the edge of the forest area

Woundwort – (Stachys ocymastrum) seen on the edge of the forest area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canary Arum Lily (Dracunculus canariensis) a Canary endemic, beside the path. The large white spathes are past their best, and drooping, but it is a remarkable plant.

Canary Arum Lily (Dracunculus canariensis) a Canary endemic, beside the path. The large white spathes are past their best, and drooping, but it is a remarkable plant.

A Cleopatra butterfly (Gonepteryx cleopatra) feeding on Pitch trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa). The Cleopatras are spectacular large yellow butterflies, but very difficult to photograph with their wings open. Lots of them were flying in sunny spots in the forest and at the forest edges.

A Cleopatra butterfly (Gonepteryx cleopatra) feeding on Pitch trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa). The Cleopatras are spectacular large yellow butterflies, but very difficult to photograph with their wings open. Lots of them were flying in sunny spots in the forest and at the forest edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers and buds of Climbing butcher's broom (Semele androgen).  The flowers, and later the berries, are on the edges of what looks like leaves, but are actually modified stems, or cladodes.  This species is a Macronesian  (Atlantic Islands) endemic associated with laurel forests.

Flowers and buds of Climbing butcher’s broom (Semele androgyna). The flowers, and later the berries, are on the edges of what looks like leaves, but are actually modified stems, or cladodes. This species is a Macronesian (Atlantic Islands) endemic associated with laurel forests.

Annual houseleek (Aichryson laxum ), another Canary endemic associated with the laurel forest, liking shade and damp.

Annual houseleek (Aichryson laxum ), another Canary endemic associated with the laurel forest, liking shade and damp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canary Guelder rose (Viburnum rigidum), a Canary endemic common in the laurel forests

Canary Guelder rose (Viburnum rigidum), a Canary endemic common in the laurel forests

An open area of the Pista de las Hiedras (Ivy Lane!)

An open area of the Pista de las Hiedras (Ivy Lane!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large-leaved St John's wort (Hypericum grandifolium), a Macronesian endemic associated with laurel forests

Large-leaved St John’s wort (Hypericum grandifolium), a Macronesian endemic associated with laurel forests

A view of the rugged landscape of Anaga

A view of the rugged landscape of Anaga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Canary speckled wood butterfly (Pararge xiphioides).  They are very plentiful in the dappled sunshine in the woods

A Canary speckled wood butterfly (Pararge xiphioides). They are very plentiful in the dappled sunshine in the woods

Anaga sow-thistle (Sonchus congestus). A Canary endemic

Anaga sow-thistle (Sonchus congestus). A Canary endemic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canary Figwort (Scrophularia smithii). A canary endemic

Canary Figwort (Scrophularia smithii). A canary endemic

Capitana (Phyllis nobla). A Macronesian endemic associated with laurel forests

Capitana (Phyllis nobla). A Macronesian endemic associated with laurel forests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Tree Heath (Erica scoparia)- Tejo in spanish. Very common in the exposed ridges and edges of the laurel forest

Red Tree Heath (Erica scoparia)- Tejo in spanish. Very common in the exposed ridges and edges of the laurel forest

The walks I took to see these delightful and very special plants can be found at the following links.  The first one is a very easy walk, suitable for people who do not do much walking, which lasted 1.5 hours. The second was longer, taking just over 4 hours, with more climbing and descent, but still not a particularly arduous walk for those used to walking.  Both walks can have slippery surfaces, especially on slopes, when damp (very frequently in these forests!), so good footwear with good grip, and sticks if you use them, are advisable.

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=6444196

 

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=4547100

 

A varied and mainly gentle walk in Anaga from Mirador Jardina

The view from the Mirador Jardina, with the Canary endemic marguerite, Argyranthemum broussonetii in the foreground

The view from the Mirador Jardina, with the Canary endemic marguerite, Argyranthemum broussonetii in the foreground

We like to do some walks in Anaga when the weather is good, and had not done one so far this winter. However, last Wednesday, February 12th, we decided the forecast was just about alright for a walk there.  This walk was ideal for this time of year as it combined some walking in the laurel forest with some out of forest on the south side, where there were a lot of flowers to see. It also featured some spectacular views.

The narrow footpath initially passes through prickly pears and brambles, but with great views

The narrow footpath initially passes through prickly pears and brambles, but with great views

We started the walk from the Mirador Jardina which is on a bend in the main road between Las Canteras and Cruz de Carmen. The walk was a figure of eight, so we visited twice a crossing of paths on a ridge, and walked all four of the paths joining there. We left the Mirador on a track on the southern side, and continued down it for about 700m, by which time it was tarmac. Along the edge of the track, on a low cliff, I spotted some Canarian shrubby plantain (Plantago arborescens), which was flowering, so it is easy to see how it is a plantain, even though the leaves and habit is so different from the common species. There were also examples of the Canary endemic marguerite which is common in the laurel forest, Argyranthemum broussonetii, with its large daisy flowers and large soft leaves.

The slope above the track was covered with the yellow flowers of the ubiquitous Bermuda buttercup, (Oxalis pes-caprae) between bushes of Tree heath (Erica arborea), which were in flower beside the road. We left the track on a bend, joining a narrow footpath going left.

Canarian shrubby plantain (Plantago arborescens) beside the track

Canarian shrubby plantain (Plantago arborescens) beside the track

The footpath hugged a slope with views down to the Tahodio reservoir, the sea, and the knife edge ridges running down to the sea from the central ridge. Then it reached a lookout point before plunging into deep laurel forest. Springing from the forest floor were some large arrow-shaped leaves, with a few odd-looking, striped and hooded flowers hiding beneath them. These were Arisarum simorrhinum, which has no English name that I know, but one of its many local names is Candil. They are worth looking for if you see the leaves.

The Tahodio reservoir in the valley below the first bit  of footpath

The Tahodio reservoir in the valley below the first bit of footpath

Soon we were delighted as we started to see lots of Canary bellflowers (Canarina canariensis) with their beautiful orange flowers, and also some purple cineraria flowers, (Pericallis echinata) brightening up the forest floor. The path began to climb, still in forest, towards our highest point of the walk, Pico del Inglés. We came out on a road near the crest of the central ridge where we saw in flower a beautiful bush of the Canary endemic Gesnouinia arborea, which again I do not know an English name for. However, its spanish name is Ortigón de los Montes, or Mountain nettle, since it is of that family.

Canary endemic Canarian bellflower (Canarina canariensis)

Canary endemic Canarian bellflower (Canarina canariensis)

We had to walk a little way along this quiet road, till we reached the Mirador Pico del Inglés, where we were glad to see a yellow/white liveried signpost for our path, as it was difficult to see, plunging downhill beside the Mirador. It zig-zagged down, passing an abandoned building and continuing along a ridge, going downhill all the way. There were some very luxuriant ferns, and several clumps of the little green Two-leaved orchid, Gennaria diphylla. Half-way down the slope we met the path junction at the waist of our figure-of-eight, and continued down on the left-hand path.

 

Ortigón de los Montes -literally Mountain nettle - Canary endemic (Gesnouinia arborea)

Ortigón de los Montes -literally Mountain nettle – Canary endemic (Gesnouinia arborea)

After a long descent under laurels and tree heaths the path broke out into the open with another fabulous view, and immediately, more flowers. The highlights were the rich blue spires of the Tenerife vipers bugloss (Echium virescens), and the yellow broom-like flowers on the Canary whin (Teline canariensis). The path wound around above the small village of Catalanes and passed beneath a dramatic cliff, at the foot of which were patches of colourful flowers.

The path descending from Pico del Ingles under trees, brightened up in places by the Anaga sow-thistle (Sonchus congests)

The path descending from Pico del Ingles under trees, brightened up in places by the Anaga sow-thistle (Sonchus congestus)

After the cliff the path began turning to the right, reached a junction near an old house, and we continued to the right around the nose of the ridge to reach a couple more houses, behind which we started to ascend the ridge again. This stretch had fabulous views towards Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where we could see the port, and the Auditorium with its unusual roof. There was also a great view towards Teide.

Bermuda buttercups (Oxalis pes-caprae) brighten the view where we emerged from forest above Las Catalanes.

Bermuda buttercups (Oxalis pes-caprae) brighten the view where we emerged from forest above Las Catalanes.

As we climbed the ridge, we entered the trees again, and reached the path crossroads again, where we went left, descending a path somewhat eroded by bikes, after a while we left the main path onto a minor path going right. This bit was a bit overgrown, and at times we fought our way through. However the path was well-walked and we were in no danger of losing it, and as time went on, where it entered the deeper shade of laurel trees, it improved. In this area we saw many of the distinctive seven-fingered leaves of the Canary arum lily (Dracunculus canariensis). However, it was too early for the huge white spathes that accompany the flowers.

Dramatic cliff above and blue-flowered Tenerife vipers bugloss (Echium virescens) beside the path

Dramatic cliff above and blue-flowered Tenerife vipers bugloss (Echium virescens) beside the path

Climbing gently in the forest we finally rejoined the first path we had taken, and we returned on it to the track, and then the Mirador where we started. A dramatic and flower-filled excursion which we all thorougly enjoyed.

A patch of purple Cineraria (Pericallis echinata) with yellow-flowered Canary fennel (Ferula linkii) in their midst situated in a shady spot at the foot of the cliff

A patch of purple Cineraria (Pericallis echinata) with yellow-flowered Canary fennel (Ferula linkii) in their midst situated in a shady spot at the foot of the cliff

The walk was about 12 km / 7.5 miles long, with about 580m of climbing and descent, and took us 4 hours 40 minutes. Our thanks to Wikiloc contributor nacho1951 for sharing the GPS track to such a lovely walk. You can find his track on this link:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=5154537

Canary whin (Teline canariensis)

Canary whin (Teline canariensis)

A varied circular walk in Anaga

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Heading downhill in the shade of the laurels at the start of our walk

Anaga is the north-east peninsula of Tenerife whose rugged landscape houses the biggest area of the remaining laurel forests which used to cover much larger areas in the island.  In the summer the laurel forests are lovely to walk in due to the deep shade, and there are quite a few flowers in and at the edges of the laurel forest which flower late into the summer.

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Roof houseleek (Aeonium urbicum var urbicum) beside the path. Most have already finished flowering, so this one was late.

The route we decided to explore was a circular walk using some paths we already knew, but also one whole section that was entirely new to us. We like to explore new paths in the summer when there are fewer of us, so that we can then offer new walks to the group in the winter months, when the numbers swell considerably.

The walk was a circular that could start and finish at Cruz de Carmen, which is at the top of the backbone ridge which runs the length of the peninsula. That would mean all the downhill at the beginning, and all the uphill at the end of the walk, so we decided to start half-way down the slope, so we would end with a downhill stretch. So we drove down the road signposted to Los Batanes and parked halfway down the zig-zagging road.

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A view to the village of El Batán abajo (lower), and beyond that to Chinamada on the far ridge.

We then had to walk down the road for a little way to find the path going off the end of a hairpin bend and heading downhill through a tunnel of laurels. we came out at the road on the next hairpin and the path then plunged steeply down to the road again.  We were now on the edge of the laurel forest, so as we walked along the road for quite a way we had some lovely views. The vegetation was more open, and there were small fields dotted on the less acute slopes.

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The old stone lavenderos (public washing places) near a spring in El Batán arriba (upper)

We turned left onto a minor road signposted ‘Bejía’ and then took a path leaving on a bend to the left of a rocky ridge. It descended steeply to the village of Bejía, rejoining the minor road before entering it.  Then just before another bend we turned right onto a yellow/white waymarked trail to El Batán abajo, which we entered from the top, after passing a columnar rock above it, called Roque los Milanos.  We walked down through all the village till we reached the square overlooking the deep ravine beyond. The village was decked out with streamers and other decorations as the annual fiesta was due to start in a day or two.

We knew we had to leave on a path going down from the square, and after a little bit of descent we reached a signboard describing the textile industry which was important in this area in the past.  The signboard was by a path junction where we turned left, and this began the part of the walk which was entirely unfamiliar to us.  The path descended steeply past a number of houses, and then on down to the ravine streambed, where there were still some rainwater puddles in the hollows of the rocky streambed.  From these puddles, some of which were quite large, were emerging numerous small frogs about 5cm long, and from the largest one a lot of croaking could be heard. This is a rare experience on Tenerife!

A cairn on the corner of the path between El Batán and Chinamada

A cairn on the corner of the path between El Batán and Chinamada

We crossed the streambed and then the path ran along level for a while, crossed a tributary streambed before starting up a steep ridge with a zig-zag path. The lower part of the ridge had lots of wild Jasmine (Jasminum odoratissimum) shrubs, with their tiny yellow flowers. Higher up there were lots of Shrubby houseleek (Aeonium lindleyi) in flower beside the path and on cliffs opposite. The path went in and out around different ridges and at one point went down to pass along the base of a red-brown cliff. Growing in a recessed shady layer of the cliff alongside the path was a lot of Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris).

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) beneath a cliff beside the path

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) beneath a cliff beside the path
The tomato-like fruit of Canary nightshade (Solanum vespertilio) a rare Canary endemic

The tomato-like fruit of Canary nightshade (Solanum vespertilio) a rare Canary endemic

The path was easy to follow for its whole length, but was in places a little rough underfoot. Nothing we could not cope with as experienced Tenerife walkers, but not as good as the yellow/white waymarked trails.

More bends along the path and we were approaching Chinamada when I stopped in my tracks. A large shrub in front of me had thorny stems, and looked familiar even though I have only seen it once before. It was a specimen of the rare Canary endemic, Canary nightshade (Solanum vespertilio), and I was pleased with myself for recognising it, even before noticing that it had some fruits on it, about 1cm in diameter, looking a bit like miniature tomatoes. The Solanum family does, of course, include both nightshade and tomatoes, as well as potatoes, and other crop plants.

A view to the Roque Taborno

A view to the Roque Taborno

The path reached a tarmac road at Chinamada, and we turned a sharp right onto another footpath to begin our ascent to Cruz de Carmen. The path is a yellow/white waymarked trail, so it is easy to follow. We were now back onto paths we knew, and had some shady sections to look forward to for most of the climb, whereas we had been climbing in the open on the last bit. However, it is not all climbing, there are some steep bits, but in between some relatively gentle bits with fine views.  Halfway up, and just before plunging into the deep laurel forest where few views can be found, we enjoyed a fine view to the odd-shaped Roque Taborno.

Milky cineraria (Pericallis appendiculata) is a typical plant of the shady laurel forest, which flowers in summer

Milky cineraria (Pericallis appendiculata) is a typical plant of the shady laurel forest, which flowers in summer

We reached Cruz de Carmen and had a well-earned rest before completing the circuit by following the yellow/white trail signposted for Bajamar until we got back to the car.

The route was approximately 15km and 700m of climbing and descent, I cannot be more specific as my GPS had trouble finding itself at both the beginning and the end.  It took us 5 hours 40 minutes on a warm summer day.  However, the great variety of habitats we passed through, and the dramatic scenery, made it a very rewarding route.

Part of the path as it nears Cruz de Carmen in the thick laurel forest

Part of the path as it nears Cruz de Carmen in the thick laurel forest

 

 

 

I was unable to record a GPS track of my own, but we were following the GPS track in the link below, contributed by Pedro Gonzalez:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=2859730

North to South in the Anaga peninsula

The path above Taganana with Aeonium lindleyi on the wall

Last Friday a friend and I did a great walk from Taganana in the North of Anaga to the village of Maria Jimenez on the south coast near Santa Cruz. It was a scenic and varied walk, with parts through farmland, laurel forest and dry south-facing zone. We were lucky with the weather, despite some cloud near the summit when we were in the forest zone, we were able to enjoy the views of the rugged landscape the rest of the way.

Scabiosa atropurpurea in the path above Taganana

We reached Taganana on the bus no 946 and started out on PR-TF 8 which starts near the church, and is signposted and waymarked with yellow/white livery.  This path is also called Las Vueltas de Taganana. You follow the road round the barranco and just after passing a Pharmacy on the right, look for the turning left up a steep cobbled street.  At the top of that street follow the signs round to the left in front of some houses and then on upwards, becoming a path, although still well-cobbled.  The walls at the side of the path were well hung with plants of Aeonium lindleyii with its yellow flowers.

Small Copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas) on the path

As we climbed away from Taganana, I saw in the path some Scabious (Scabiosa atropurpurea) plants I had never before seen in Tenerife.   Apparently they are probably an introduced species and only found in certain localities.  Around the same area I also caught sight of a Small Copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas).  Although the book I have about Canarian butterflies says this butterfly flies all the year round, I have only ever seen it in the summer myself.

Sanguino (Rhamnus glandulosa)

Higher up the fields either side of the path started giving way to shrubs such as Tree Heaths (Erica arborea) and various evergreen laurel-type species such as Faya (Myrica faya) and Sanguino (Rhamnus glandulosa).  The latter is of the buckthorn family and one specimen beside the path was full of berries.  You can see in the picture the lumps on the leaves (glands) which give it its latin name.

 In this open shrubby area I also saw 3 Cleopatra butterflies (Gonepteryx cleobule), a bright yellow species similar to and related to the Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) butterflies in Britain.  Interestingly, both species feed on buckthorn species as caterpillars, which may explain why I saw the Cleopatras in that area.  Unfortunately I was unable to get a picture of any of the 3 as they were too busy chasing each other!

Laurel forest Parsley (Cryptotaenia elegans)

Soon afterwards the path plunged into the deeply shaded thick laurel forest.  It was damp in the forest, and higher up the path became quite slippery so we were glad we were climbing rather than descending.  However, due to the dampness there were lots of plants to see including the majority of the flowers I saw that day.  These included Canary Islands Buttercup (Ranunculus cortusifolius), although they were nearly over, Laurel forest Parsley (Cryptotaenia elegans), a delicate umbellifera a bit like Cow Parsley, Reina del Monte (Ixanthus viscosus), Large-leaved St John’s Wort (Hypericum grandifolium) and Milky Cineraria (Pericallis appendiculata).  All of these species are typical of the laurel forest and are all Canary endemics, except for the Buttercup, which, despite its name, is a Macronesian endemic as it is found on some other Atlantic islands.

Part of the path through the laurel forest with Woodwardia radicans ferns on the left. The dark lump on the tree trunk further up is Laurobasidium lauri.

In the laurel forest I also noted four different types of fern, including the magnificent and huge Woodwardia radicans which, in places, covers the banks of the path with its giant drooping fronds.

Low down in the laurel forest there were some trees with huge laurel-like leaves, much bigger than any of the other species seen in the forest.  I believe them to be Delfino (Pleiomeris canariensis), which is one of the less common trees of the laurel forest.  However I am reluctant to definitely identify them as Delfino until I have seen them in flower or fruit to confirm the identification.  I was pleased also to see a fine specimen of the fungus Laurobasidium lauri which grows only on Canary Laurel (Laurus novocanariensis) trees.

Still in the laurel forest, and after about 2 hours of walking, we reached a signpost with two alternative routes, and we turned left.  We were now on the ridge running the length of the Anaga peninsula.  After a little more climbing we took a right fork in the path and began to gently descend, still beneath Tree Heaths, so we could not get our bearings well.  When the path began to descend more steeply, the shrubs diminished in height and we finally had a view down to the south coast, and Santa Cruz.  Even further down we suddenly came upon a break in the bushes which gave us a view along the valley we were descending into, the Valle Brosque.  The path descended rapidly, zig-zagging to make it bearable.  There was a strong wind blowing on this stretch of the walk and we had to take care we did not lose our balance with the gusts on bends.

The view down to the village of Valle Brosque

Beside the path as we descended were areas between the shrubs covered in Houseleeks which I believe were Aeonium canariense, though the flowers were distorted possibly by the drought.  They weregrowing with Shrubby Plantain (Plantago arborescens) and Tomillo (Micromeria).  The shrubby cover included Tejo (Erica scoparia ssp platycodon) as well as the Tree Heath.  This is another heather species which grows tall like a tree, but not as tall as the Tree Heath.  Further down the shrubs belonged to the xerophytic zone, dry-tolerant species such as Bitter Spurge (Euphorbia lamarckii), Canary Spurge (Euphorbia canariensis), Mosquera (Globularia salicina), Incienso (Artemesia canariensis) and Prickly Pears (Opuntia spp).  There were also a number of trees with leathery evergreen pinnate leaves which I was curious about, that turned out to be Carob Trees (Ceratonia siliqua), planted to provide fodder for animals.

Houseleeks (prob. Aeonium canariense) with shrubby plantain (Plantago arborescens) on the descent to Valle Brosque

The path was coming down to a group of houses when we reached a signpost indicating another path to the right going up to the ridge, or an alternative to the left stating there was a bus-stop 60m away.  We went that way, but were not hopeful about the bus.  At 60m, or there about, we reached tarmac.  Seeing no information about bus times, we decided to carry on walking down the valley towards the coast road where we knew there were buses every 10 mins at that time of day.  However, the walk on the road was about 4.5 km and took us an hour to walk down.  Half-way down we met a small bus coming up – the 916.  We thought if it passed us again on the way down we would hail it.  However it did not overtake us till we were nearly at the coast road and had taken a pedestrian street, so missed it.  However, we did not wait long at the bus-stop on the main road.

The walk was a total of 14.9km / 9.3ml, and involved around 880m/2900ft of climbing.  It took us 4hrs 50m.  If you looked up the times of the 916 bus before you went you could shorten this by 4.5km and 1hr.

A dramatic walk in Anaga

The view down the valley to Igueste shortly after commencing the climb on the footpath

On Friday of last week I walked with two others a dramatic route in Anaga. It was a walk we had seen on Wikiloc contributed by user Davidz1000 but thought it unsuitable for summer walking due to its length and the long climb without shade. So now the weather has cooled, we thought it would be a good time to try, as the weather forecast said there was 0% chance of rain. Anaga can have a lot of cloud and rain even when the rest of Tenerife is sunny and dry, and if the cloud had been low we would not have been able to enjoy the exceptional views.

We decided to take the bus from Santa Cruz to Igueste de San Andres to start the walk.  That was a dramatic ride to start with.  The road goes through San Andres and then up a dry cliff and in and out of headlands and inlets, overlooking a couple of isolated small beaches.  Hanging out of the cliff in places was sea rosemary in flower (Campylanthus salsoloides), though I was unable to get a photo from the bus and did not see any after getting off the bus.

Broussonet's sage (Salvia broussonetii) across a small barranco on the edge of Igueste

From Igueste we set off up the barranco, and right from the start we had yellow and white paint markers to guide us.  The first 2 km was up a tarmac country road, but, while I am not a fan of walking on tarmac, it was a quiet road with farms growing exotic fruits either side, so it was quite pleasant.  I was also thrilled to see my first flower of Broussonet’s sage (Salvia broussonetii) even though it was past its best, and across a small barranco so I could not get close-up.

 

At the end of the 2km the yellow/white markers guided us up a steep concrete track to the footpath that left the track on a bend.  A rusty old sign pointed the way to Casillas.   From here on, until the summit road, we walked on a good well-defined, easy to follow, footpath with signs where needed.  The vegetation as we went up was of the thermophile (warm-loving) zone mixed with the xerophytic (dry plant) type.  There were lots of verodes (Kleinia nerifolia), and canary spurge (Euphorbia canariensis), bitter spurge (Euphorbia lamarckii),  cornical (Periploca laevigata).  The thermophile element was represented by, among other things, wild jasmine (Jasminum odoratissimum), wild olive (Olea europaea), almacigo (Pistachia atlantica), mosquera (Globularia salicina) and a lonely drago tree (Dracaena draco).

A view of the hamlet of Casillas on the ridge

The path reached a ridge and turned to the right.  A path went left to pass near the Drago tree, but our, marked, path went on up.  At one point it passed close to a rocky, fern-covered wall which shaded a small valley full of shrubs (and a few brambles!), a haven for birds by the sound of it.  Finally we reached the top of the ridge with a dyke running through it.  We could see the view on the other side, with a valley very different from the one we had come up.  On the far side the valley looked dry and barren, but on the slope below us, which clearly caught the prevailing winds, there were green shrubs of canary holly (Ilex canariensis) and tree heaths (Erica arborea).  And the top of the valley, which we were later to walk through, was deep green laurel forest.

Canary smilax (Smilax canariensis) beside the road near La Ensillada.

Shortly after arriving on the ridge, we reached the tiny hamlet of Casillas.  Perched precariously on the ridge are about eight tiny cottages and a couple of cave houses.  Most are in ruins but three have been recently repaired and appear to be still used, probably as weekend retreats, with television aerials!  The path from here on is shaded by shrubs and trees, and it is clear that water seeps out over a rock a bit further on, near to yet another house which is inhabited, with a cultivated field next to it.  Not much further on the path passes close to a rushing stream falling over a waterfall, and continues into thick laurel forest until coming out on the road to Chamorga.

Tree pellitory (Gesnouinia arborea)

Turning left along the road, we began to make our way along the main ridge of the Anaga peninsula by alternating using the road and the old paths.  The paths were largely of packed clay under laurel woods, and were very slippery.  Fortunately we seemed mainly to be climbing on the paths, or going level, as going down could well have resulted in some muddy bottoms!   The most noticeable plant along the paths was the fern with huge leaves (Woodwardia radicans).

On the road sections there were more flowering plants, including Canary smilax (Smilax canariensis), Canary foxglove (Isoplexus canariensis), Canary geranium (Geranium reuteri) and Tree pellitory (Gesnouinia arborea), all of them Canary endemics linked to the laurel forests.

Eventually we reached the start of our path down to San Andres.  There was an old signpost at the start, but that was all.  The path was good, though steep, while under the laurel forest cover, but as we got into the open after the forest the path became more overgrown.

The view down to San Andres from the edge of the laurel forest

On the edge of the forest I had the pleasure of seeing the rare endemic plant Canary nightshade (Solanum vespertilio).  It was only the second time I had seen it.  This time it was not in flower, but I did notice something I had not noticed before, that it has some pretty viscous-looking prickles on the stem.  Near it there was also a shrub of white bugloss (Echium leucophaeum) in flower, there were lots of other plants of it around, but not in flower.

 

In places it was really difficult to get past patches of brambles, and in some places the path was very narrow due to land slippage on the steep slope.  In other places it was difficult to tell if we were still on the path.  So this section of the walk was slow due to the conditions underfoot.

White bugloss (Echium leucophaeum), an endemic plant of the Anaga region

As we neared signs of civilization the path became better, in one part well used by a herd of goats.  Other sections were tracks of concrete, or earth, with more sections of footpath, till we skirted a sports centre on the edge of the village of San Andres and came onto a road which took us to the coast road in front of the village.

 

The walk was 18.9 km long with about 900m of ascent (and descent) and took us six hours 45 minutes to complete, but it was well worth it.

You will find a GPS track, map and more photos (by the user Davidz1000) at the following link:

 

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=251224