Category Archives: South Tenerife

Botanical exploration in the Barranco Añavingo during May

A view up the barranco before it narrows dramatically

The Barranco Añavingo is at the top of the Güimar valley directly above the town of Arafo.  It is not easy to get to, but once  there the path is easy to follow up and back down the barranco, though it is rough and the brambles are rampant! The accessible part ends abruptly with a cliff which would be a waterfall when raining.  So its a there and back walk, but worth the effort of reaching it.  It is carved out of a steep slope forming the head of the valley, where there is often cloud lingering, and because of its unique environment it houses some interesting plants.

Madama (Allagopappus dichotomus)

Due to the being on the edge of the cloud forest zone, there are a lot of trees of that zone, and there are also some endemics of the local area, including the delightful pink Scabious, (Pterocephalus dumetorum), which is common in the Güimar area.  The flower is similar to the scabious in the National Park, which is the same genus, but the leaves are a soft green instead of grey.

Rosalito salvaje, a pink Scabious (Pterocephalus dumetorum).

The trees present include Maytenus canariensis, which was sporting ample fruits when we visited, Canary holly (Ilex canariensis), Palo Blanco (Picconia excelsa), Madrono (Arbutus canariensis) and Canary Laurel (Laurus novocanariensis).  Unfortunately, because of the rampant bramble bushes, it is difficult to leave the path to get a closer look at all these plants.

Maytenus canariensis, with fruit. A relatively rare small tree typical of the transition zone from thermophile forest to cloud forest.

The plant we had made a special effort to see, the knapweed relative, Cheirolophus metlecsicsii, was well into the barranco.  It is very rare, and we only saw it in one place.  A very small group on a rocky ledge surrounded by the rampant brambles.  The only blessing being that they perhaps help to protect the rare plants from unscrupulous people, who might steal or destroy them.

 

The rare knapweed relative Cheirolophus metlecsicsii, a Tenerife endemic. Not a good picture due to the distance from which it was taken.

Half-way up the barranco the path improves and then leads up some steps to a ledge below an overhang.  This is apparently the site where a statue of a saint, I think it was Saint Anthony, stands.  It is the subject of a local pilgrimage up the barranco.  However, at the time we visited it had been removed for repair.

A view higher up the barranco, with Shrubby burnet near the path

We continued up the barranco until the ‘waterfall’, a shady cliff covered with  Tostonera (Adiantum reniforme), a fern with kidney-shaped leaves which loves damp shady banks and cliffs.

The walk we did reached the barranco by the shortest (and only) route that I know, though I am not sure if it is the easiest. It took us 3.5 hours and was approximately 6 km there and back, although the GPS may well have been inaccurate given the steep sides of the barranco.

 

 

 

Shrubby burnet (Bencomia caudata)

The time taken was lengthened by the need to trim back brambles, as well as by my dallying while looking at plants!

Pimpinella dendrotragium, a canary endemic of the umbellifera family

Circular walk from Villa de Arico through El Rio

Common Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus) were flowering along a lot of the route

Common Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus) were flowering along a lot of the route

This is a walk using the Camino Real, (Royal Road) the main road commissioned by the Spanish crown following conquest, and now a signposted footpath, on the first half. On reaching El Rio the route takes us up a steep hill till we reach another signposted footpath leading back to Villa de Arico. On both footpaths the views are panoramic, and the scenery varied with some very scenic barrancos to cross.

Annual Asphodel (Asphodelus tenuifolius) is smaller than the Common. While it is also not so common, there were quite a lot on this route

Annual Asphodel (Asphodelus tenuifolius) is smaller than the Common. While it is also not so common, there were quite a lot on this route

The photos were taken on February 4th, 2017, and it is a good route to walk in the winter as the vegetation is greener, and often the views clearer. The route has little shade, so it’s not so good in the summer.

 

 

 

A good cobbled section of the Camino Real, with a rock-floored section between 2 walls in the distance

A good cobbled section of the Camino Real, with a rock-floored section between 2 walls in the distance

We started the walk from near the roundabout on the TF-28, where the road up from the south motorway TF-1, joins it. Continuing along the TF-28 through the town, past various bars, shops and a bank, we continued walking on the road until we saw a fingerpost sign for the footpath on the left-hand side. The initial descent onto the path is quite steep, but we then reached a lovely cobbled bit of path, setting off to cross the barranco streambed and up the other side to join a minor road for a short distance.

More of the Camino Real

More of the Camino Real

 

The minor road, and the yellow/white waymarks took us up to the TF-28 where we walked in front of a couple of houses, then, by a yellow/white marked post up onto a gravel path at the edge of the road for a few yards to a gate, inside of which the path descended sharply again to cross a barranco and up again. A short stretch along the back of some houses brought us to a minor road heading down to the left which we followed and took the right fork shortly afterwards. This led us straight onto a long stretch of Camino Real in the countryside away from houses and the main road. In places it was in very good repair, including good cobbled parts, other places it was rougher, and in the barrancos there were cobbled paths with chunks missing through erosion, but all easily passed with care.

The Camino Real rising out of a barranco, but with a chunk missing ahead.

The Camino Real rising out of a barranco, but with a chunk missing ahead.

As we approached a farm, which used to have a goat herd which grazed the land we had just walked across, we reached a tarmac minor road which we followed into the centre of El Rio. On reaching a crossroads we turned right, passing a small shop on our right, crossed the main road by the church and continued uphill past it on a tarmac road. After a sharp bend a path up to the right with metal railings took us onto a shortcut of cobbled road past the village’s ‘Lavaderos’ – public washing places – and joined the tarmac again higher up. We continued walking until we reached a footpath going right with a fingerpost pointing the way back to Villa de Arico.

Another part of the Camino Real

Another part of the Camino Real

The path was clear but not well signed, just a few cairns occasionally to help you, with a few deviations for crossing barrancos but trending generally straight across the landscape. The difficult part is when you reach a minor tarmac road crossing the path, you go right a few yards and then left at a signpost, still on tarmac through another barranco, then between some houses out onto another minor road and then straight on at a junction with a dead end sign, and continue on when it becomes a dirt track.

Aulaga or 'Chicken wire plant' (Launea arborescens). A great survivor in this arid area

Aulaga or ‘Chicken wire plant’ (Launea arborescens). A great survivor in this arid area

When you come to a place where there are some ugly recent earthworks, you will find the path to the right, squeezed against a tall fence. Take care down the slope into this last barranco as some of the loose rocks and earth have fallen on the path. At the streambed go right to reach the path up again which will take you to the top edge of Villa de Arico, where you walk straight down to the church and beyond to get back to the start.

Part of the footpath returning to Villa de Arico

Part of the footpath returning to Villa de Arico

The walk was 11.8km/ 7.75 miles approx, and takes approx 3.5-4hrs. There is approx 500m of accumulated climbing, but mostly in small ups and downs.

A beautiful clump of Palmer (Pericallis lanata) in one of the barrancos

A beautiful clump of Palmer (Pericallis lanata) in one of the barrancos

 

 

 

 

The tiny flowers of the Canary madder (Rubia frutescens)

The tiny flowers of the Canary madder (Rubia frutescens)

The Barranco del Infierno, Adeje, in summer

'Sea Rosemary' - Romero marino (Campylanthus salsoloides) was still in flower in July - it flowers over a very long period

‘Sea Rosemary’ – Romero marino (Campylanthus salsoloides) was still in flower in July – it flowers over a very long period

The view to Adeje from the first part of the walk

The view to Adeje from the first part of the walk

I have not visited the Barranco del Infierno for several years because much of that time it has been closed to the public, but it is now open again. The paths have been considerably improved, although they are still rough in places and do need good suitable shoes or boots. Numbers are now limited to 300 people per day and this makes it much more comfortable to walk. This means you need to book your visit in advance, which is easy on the website. I was able to book in July the day before, but I suspect at busy times of year it will be necessary to book much further in advance. The website is: http://www.barrancodelinfierno.es/en/

Mignonette - a local endemic species of it - (Reseda scoria)

Mignonette – a local endemic species of it – (Reseda scoparia)

Maple-leaved Lavatera (Lavatera acerifolia)

Maple-leaved Lavatera (Lavatera acerifolia)

July is not the best time of year to visit the Barranco because much of the vegetation is shutting down for the summer, losing leaves, and so on. In fact I was not expecting to see many flowers at all, or to see much water in the waterfall and stream, but in both cases I was pleasantly surprised. So it was still an enjoyable and interesting experience. We did make a fairly early start, though, at 9.30 and finished our visit when Adeje’s church clock was striking 12.00. It was already getting quite hot in the sun in the barranco, so we were pleased to finish early.

 

Tolpis crassiscula - a very local endemic - was in flower up the cliffs in lots of places

Little Teno Lettuce – Lechugilla de Teno -(Tolpis crassiscula) – a very local endemic – was in flower up the cliffs in lots of places

Flowing stream and pool - a rare sight in south Tenerife

Flowing stream and pool – a rare sight in south Tenerife

The Barranco is an amazing landscape. It starts at the top of Calle Molinos, a very steep street right at the top edge of the old town of Adeje. There is an entrance office where you buy or show your tickets, and an area where a briefing is given about the rules of entry, and where helmets are provided for visitors to wear. After that you make your way into the Barranco along the well-defined path, which you are not allowed to leave. The path is both the way in and the return route, so as the day goes on returning visitors meet incoming visitors, and in places the path is so narrow, that one or other has to give way. The fact that entering visitors are in time batches, and the total numbers are limited, means this is not such a problem as it would be with uncontrolled numbers.

Part of the waterfall at the end of the walk - it is so high it's difficult to photograph all of it.

Part of the waterfall at the end of the walk – it is so high it’s difficult to photograph all of it.

A view on the way out of the narrow gorge part of the Barranco

A view on the way out of the narrow gorge part of the Barranco

At the start of the path the barranco is wide and there is view across it to the flat-topped Roque del Conde. As you walk further into the barranco it narrows, until it becomes a very narrow gorge, and finally ends with a 200m sheer cliff down which the water falls, down into a small pool which then flows out into a stream with various rock worn pools on the way. In the first, open, part of the barranco has an ecosystem dominated by Euphorbias, like most of the coastal areas. The middle part contains a thermophile ecosystem with a greater variety of plants, many of them requiring a moister atmosphere than the first part. In this part are examples of typical plants such as the Almaciga (Pistacia atlantica) ,Tree Bindweed – Guaydil (Convolvulus floridus), Maple-leaved Lavatera (Lavatera acerifolia) and Ceballosia (Ceballosia fruticosa). All of these, except a few Lavatera, had already flowered and so I was unable to get pictures. The other abundant plants that were in flower in this area were the Balo (Plocama pendula) and the Mataprieta (Justicia hyssopifolia) both of which are Canary endemics.

A fine specimen of the rare local endemic 'Cliff cabbage' - Col de risk - (Crambe scaberrima)

A fine specimen of the rare local endemic ‘Cliff cabbage’ – Col de risk – (Crambe scaberrima)

Returning through the wider part of the Barranco

Returning through the wider part of the Barranco

The remaining part, the gorge, contains little on the ground between the sheer walls apart from the stream, the path, various Canary Willow trees (Salix canariensis) and Sweet Chestnut trees (Castanea sativa), and brambles. The only really interesting plants were water plants and the local endemic plant, Lechugilla del Teno (where it also grows) (Tolpis crassiscula), which is listed in the Red Book as vulnerable. I was pleased to see a large number of these growing and flowering beside the path and up the cliffs.

Hyssop-leaved Justicia (Justicia hyssopifolia) flower

Hyssop-leaved Justicia (Justicia hyssopifolia) flower

A nature walk in the dramatic Barranco de Badajoz, Guimar

Looking up the barranco as it narrows.

Looking up the barranco as it narrows.

I have wanted to visit the Barranco de Badajoz for a long time as I was aware of its historical interest and biodiversity. However I always thought it was a rather short walk for my energetic walking friends, and too difficult underfoot for my less active friends. However, I was proved wrong on both counts when I finally visited it on Saturday, 19th March.

Approaching the canal bridge across the barranco after which the path becomes very rough

Approaching the canal bridge across the barranco after which the path becomes very rough

The Barranco de Badajoz is known historically for being the last stronghold of the resisting guanche population after the spanish invasion. However, I was interested more in the wide range of interesting and endemic plants that grow there. Usually such a barranco would be extremely difficult to walk up, due to large boulders, etc, but this was not the case until the last 100m or so before the end point where the barranco becomes almost vertical some hundreds of metres high.

The lush greenery where a side ravine joins the main barranco.

The lush greenery where a side ravine joins the main barranco.

 

The path up the barranco is a driveable (4×4) track for a great part of the way, and then becomes an easy sand/gravel path until you reach a decaying and unused concrete water channel bridge overhead just below the Galeria Izana. Only then does the path deteriorate to a rubbly scramble through bramble bushes till you reach a very narrow gorge, only a couple of metres at its narrowest, where the cascade chain begins.

The final end to the trail, the narrow gorge through which the water gushes after a near vertical fall of 2-300m.

The final end to the trail, the narrow gorge through which the water gushes after a near vertical fall of 2-300m.

 

We began our walk from near the church in the village of San Juan in the Guimar valley where there are a number of parking places and a nice friendly little bar for our end of walk drinks. However, if we had wanted to shorten the walk further we could have driven a further kilometre to park on the side of the barranco itself, or even further than that.

A rare Canary endemic broom Teline osyroides

A rare Canary endemic broom Teline osyroides

 

On entering the barranco it is fairly wide, with small farms either side on the slopes. Gradually as you walk up the barranco sides close in and get steeper and the farms get fewer and then disappear. Half way up the barranco is a concrete and cobbled ramp which takes you past a gallery entrance on the left and through a narrow gorge on a bend in the barranco. Afterwards the barranco widens again but from this point on, the richness of the plant life and the breathtaking scenery are amazing.

Flowers and leaves of Atlantic Island Buckthorn - Sanguino - (Rhamnus glandulosa)

Flowers and leaves of Atlantic Island Buckthorn – Sanguino – (Rhamnus glandulosa)

Immediately after the gorge there is a group of evergreen small trees including Atlantic Islands buckthorn – Sanguino in spanish -(Rhamnus glandulosa), Spiny Buckthorn – Espinero – (Rhamnus crenulata), Canary maytenus – Peralillo – (Maytenus canariensis), and mixed in with them some Wild Olive (Olea europea). Also luxuriant growth of shrubs and climbers such as Shrubby Burnet – (Bencomia caudata), Forest Bindweed – Corregüelón de monte – (Convolvulus canariensis) and Madder – Azaigo de risco (Rubia peregrina ssp agostinhoi).

Canary Maytenus (Maytenus canariensis) and its fruits

Canary Maytenus (Maytenus canariensis) and its fruits

At the sides of the path and tracks can be found Pinnate Rue (Ruta pinnata), False sages (Sideritis oroteneriffae), Viper’s Buglosses of two species (Echium virescens) and (Echium strictum), an endemic broom (Teline osyroides) and Canary St Johns Wort (Hypericum canariensis) among many other things.

Rough-leaved bugloss (Echium strictum) in a mass of vegetation - another Canary endemic

Rough-leaved bugloss (Echium strictum) in a mass of vegetation – another Canary endemic

 

 

 

 

 

On the steep slopes are forests of ferns, lots of native sow thistles (Sonchus sp.), native Cinerarias (Pericallis sp.) and so much more. Even in the luxuriant brambles near the end of the trail an endemic of the stinging nettle family can be found (Urtica morifolia).

Pinnate Rue - Ruta pinnata - a Canary endemic.

Pinnate Rue – Ruta pinnata – a Canary endemic.

The walk took us 3.5 hours at a leisurely pace with plenty of time to look at the plants. We walked 8.5 km / just over 5 miles and climbed approximately 310m on a gentle incline. As mentioned above, starting the walk 1km further on, and finishing a little sooner could have reduced the distance by 2-3 km, and, as it is a there and back walk one can walk as little or as much as desired. However, I do recommend going past the concrete and cobble ramp and through the gorge to see the best biodiversity.

The flowers of Shrubby Burnet (Bencomia caudata), a Macronesian (Atlantic islands) endemic

The flowers of Shrubby Burnet (Bencomia caudata), a Macronesian (Atlantic islands) endemic

You can find various walks to the Barranco de Badajoz on the wikiloc.com site to help you get to the beginning.  Clearly the higher reaches of the barranco with high vertical cliffs does not lend itself to accurate GPS tracks.

Vicia cirrhosa - an annual vetch which scrambles over other shrubs is another Canary endemic

Vicia cirrhosa – an annual vetch which scrambles over other shrubs is another Canary endemic

Exploring the PR-TF 71 signposted path from Las Lajas Recreation park above Vilaflor

PR-TF 71 (1 of 12)

A signpost where the path crosses a track

PR-TF 71 (2 of 12)

The path skirts Montana Colorada with fine views, and in the foreground Tenerife Birds Foot Trefoil (Lotus campylocladus)

About a year ago this newly signposted path was opened between Adeje and the Las Lajas Recreation park (BBQ area/picnic spot). We have walked previously the route up from Adeje, and the stretch between Taucho and Casas de Teresme, but not discovered before where the path went above that. So on Wednesday 3rd February, we decided to walk down from Las Lajas to explore it.

 

Unfortunately because there is no road access between La Quinta (Taucho) and Las Lajas, we had to start by walking down and end by walking up, which is not what we usually like doing. However, the weather was clear and sunny and the route so delightful, with beautiful views, and lovely spring flowers, that it was worth the effort.

PR-TF 71 (3 of 12)

A lovely view to Roque Imoque and Roque de los Brezos near Ifonche, through pines and a carpet of yellow Tenerife Birds Foot Trefoil, a Tenerife endemic.

The walk starts from the BBQ park at the end of the straight entrance track where a signpost with the yellow and white livery points right. About a 50 to 100m from the signpost there is a footpath going to the left with no signage or paint markers to indicate which way the route goes. We stayed with the track and that turned out to be the correct decision.

PR-TF 71 (5 of 12)

Mountain Figwort (Scrophularia glabrata), a Canary endemic, next to one of the yellow/white paint markers

PR-TF 71 (6 of 12)

Pine forest Cistus (Cistus symphytifolius), a Canary endemic

 

We walked down the track as it zig-zagged down the slope, for 2.9km till we came to a yellow/white fingerpost pointing to the right onto a path. This was where the scenic part of the route really began. The little path, marked by cairns and occasional yellow/white paintmarks led down to the edge of a barranco and followed it uphill to a crossing point. In this area of pine forest we started to see lots of blue chaffinches. On this less frequented path they were not too shy, though I did not have time to stop and get photos.

PR-TF 71 (7 of 12)

Another view to Roque del Conde with the pretty pink Mallow leaved bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides) in the foreground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A gentle climb again, walking through pine woods, brought us to another barranco crossing. After this we started to get fine views down to the Ifonche area, with the pyramid shaped mountain called Roque Imoque standing out. The flat-topped (slightly sloping) Roque de Conde could also be seen. Then the path went downhill, past a small block building to cross a track running behind a round topped red mountain called Montana Colorado. Later we crossed the same track again and found ourselves walking along the flank of the mountain with even better views. It was from this point, on the side of the mountain that we looked down and saw 3 mouflon, running away through the trees below. Mouflon are wild primitive sheep native to European mountain areas. However, they were introduced to Tenerife and are a threat to the endangered plant species that grow here, especially in the Teide National park. Consequently they are being hunted to keep numbers under control. Since the hunting has become serious, in the last few years, I have seen more mouflon than before, probably because groups have been disturbed. It also may be that we have been exploring more areas remote from roads, where fewer walkers reach! As we continued the view was different, looking to the right of Mt Teresme down to El Cedro, a remote farming area at about 1300m, Tijoco Alto and down to Callao Salvaje on the coast. The track we were following then went into thicker forest with lush undergrowth predominantly of Pine Forest Cistus (Cistus symphytifolius) and Escobon (Chaemacytisus proliferus). All this undergrowth has regrown since the 2012 fire which devastated this area of pine forest. It is remarkable to see how resilient to fire the Canary pine (Pinus canariensis) is. Some of the trees were burned so badly they lost all their branches and foliage, but they now have green shoots growing out of the nodes at intervals all up the trunk and are again flourishing.

The path through the pine woods shortly after leaving the track

The path through the pine woods shortly after leaving the track

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The track took us to an open area with abandoned fields below us, where the track was next to a large red pipe, which we found good to sit on for lunch! This had brought us to the point we had walked to from below on another occasion. On hindsight we should have turned around and gone back the way we came. It would have been quicker and shorter than the way we decided to go. Even then the walk would have been 4.5 hours or a bit more, with about 650m of climbing. However, we normally walk in circles and the only other path up that I knew in the area was the track which we had started out on. I knew the way to it from where we were, but wasted some 25mins trying to do a shortcut which did not work out and we had to retrace our steps. (I have deleted this from the GPS track below.) However, the route did involve losing more height continuing down the yellow/white marked trail nearly to the Casas de Teresme and turning left on a bend just in sight of the next yellow/white signpost, onto a track descending into a barranco.

The track took us to the Galeria del Rosario which is in a deep cleft surrounded by cliffs. My walking group calls it the ‘Hot water gallery’ because they say the water in the channel by the building is warm. It is a beautiful spot. Crossing the streambed we joined a path zig-zagging up a steep slope, criss-crossing the large red water pipe several times on the way. At the top of the path we joined a stony track and continued up it to a junction of tracks where we turned left, uphill. From here on, the track is quite easy walking, it’s just a long slog of zig zags up the slope until we saw the signpost where we left the track earlier, then we continued up the way we came down, all the way to the BBQ park. We had actually walked nearly 20km, with 883m of climbing, and it took us 5 hours 45mins including the shortcut which went wrong. However, without that excursion it should take 5hrs 20m and be only 17.09km, with slightly less climbing.

Shortened version of Walk 15 in the book

 

 

Near the beginning of the walk, the path leaving the Casas del Contador

Near the beginning of the walk, the path leaving the Casas del Contador

Walk 15 in the book Tenerife Nature Walks starts in the village of Las Sabinita, climbs up to the recreation area at El Contador and descends to Villa de Arico.  This walk, which we did last Saturday, 12th December, starts and ends at El Contador, and takes in some of the best scenery in that longer walk.

Approaching the start of the old path we climbed up after the descent on the track.

Approaching the start of the old path we climbed up after the descent on the track. The path leaves from the base of the large pine on the left.

 

We parked at the El Contador recreation area.  This is reached from the roundabout on the edge of Villa de Arico, from where it is signposted up a 7 km single track road.  The road is tarmac all the way to El Contador, although in places it is in need of repair, so it needs to be taken slowly.  There are a few passing places, but we have hardly ever met another vehicle on it, so it’s not so bad as it sounds.

From the parking area we went right, towards the east, following the tarmac to a left-hand bend where there are two signposts, one for the track leading uphill, and the other, straight on, for the path we were to take.  The path passes a group of houses, probably originally a large farm, and plunges downhill from a signpost by the houses.  It crosses a valley and continues a few hundred metres before joining a track.  Turn right on the track.

In order to take in another path in the area, we continued on the track, mainly downhill, for about 1.9km.  Not far from where we joined it we passed a path steeply coming down from the left to join the track.  This was where we would later return.  As we went on down the track we passed on the left is a well-tended farm with vines in terraces up the slope above the track. Continue down until you reach a rather neglected track joining acutely from the left near some neglected vines in some nearby fields. We turned left here and head up the neglected track till it reaches the edge of the pines, as shown in the photo. The track there heads sharp right towards a reservoir, but we take an old but neglected path which heads up beside the large pine on the left in the picture. Initially the path is not very clear, but look up the slope and you will see the stone reinforcements at the side of the path as it zig-zags up the hill on a ridge with great views to the left.

The neglected old path ascending the ridge

The neglected old path ascending the ridge

Nearing the top of the ridge, cross over a large water pipe to reach the other side of the ridge, but do not go too close to the edge, which is a cliff. Also there are some large cracks back from the edge of the cliff, so do not walk on the rock between the cracks and the edge of the cliff. However, get as close as you dare, where it looks safe, to enjoy the delightful view down into the Barranco Tamadaya, a jewel of biodiversity, which is well worth a visit from below.

The view into the Barranco Tamadaya from the cliff.

The view into the Barranco Tamadaya from the cliff.

 

 

A little further on the old path reaches a well-defined yellow/white signposted route which we initially set out on, but left where we continued down the track. Here we turned right to join the yellow/white route and immediately descended to cross a minor barranco, Barranco de las Hiedras, which is one of the feeds for the Barranco Tamadaya below. The barranco is well-polished rock leading around a bend to a drop into the lower Barranco. The path goes up out of the barranco, crosses a ridge and descends into another feeder barranco, Barranco Albarderos, with a dramatic cliff above the path.

The cliff above the path in Barranco Albarderos

The cliff above the path in Barranco Albarderos

The path ascends out of the barranco and goes fairly level for a while with great views, and then climbs a pumice slope to a rocky pinnacle which is the highest point of this walk. There is a steep slope zig-zagging down into a sheltered area where we stopped for our lunch before continuing on the path.

The view across to the cliff as we descended after lunch

The view across to the cliff as we descended after lunch

We decided to continue downhill to take another look at an unusual stone building with a corbelled roof, which is at point 7 of the walk in the book. I have puzzled as to its original purpose, but, approaching from above, it was easier to see the walls supporting terraces on the slightly flatter area in front of the building. I now think it most probably was a very small farmhouse, built entirely of stones because they were the available material, and there was a shortage there of clay to make roof tiles.

The back of the stone building with corralled roof. It has an inscription 'Nov 1872' on its side

The back of the stone building with corralled roof. It has an inscription ‘Nov 1872’ on its side

 

After looking around the building we retraced our steps, climbing nearly 170m back to the highest point, so clearly if you do not want too much climbing, it is best to cut out the bit between the highest point to the stone building, and back. You will still have seen some beautiful views and exciting barrancos.

Returning up the ramp to the highest point on the rocky pinnacle

Returning up the ramp to the highest point on the rocky pinnacle

 

 

When we reached the junction, traversed by the big brown waterpipe, where we had re-joined the yellow and white waymarked route, we went towards the right on the waymarked route to follow it all the way back to the El Contador parking area. This walk was 10.56 km / 6.6 miles and took us 3hr 45m. It involved 586m of climbing and descent. A GPS track of it can be found at the following link, where it can be seen on maps, and downloaded:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=11708427

Returning to El Contador, with Casas del Contador in sight.

Returning to El Contador, with Casas del Contador in sight.

An easy downhill walk from Trevejos (near Vilaflor) to El Roque (near San Miguel de Abona)

Overlooking the Barranco Rodrigo, on the right as we descended

Overlooking the Barranco Rodrigo, on the right as we descended

This walk starts from the TF-51 road between Arona and Vilaflor, just after the last bend before Vilaflor, if you are driving towards Vilaflor. There is space to park along beside the road, remembering you need to be completely off the road itself, and, of course, not blocking the track you are going to walk down. As it is a linear walk you need to have planned your return to the start, probably by leaving a vehicle at the end, on the edge of the village of El Roque.

Walking through the pines near the barbecue park

Walking through the pines near the barbecue park

 

The walk starts along a driveable dirt track between fields, and after about 10 minutes of walking it bends to the right and starts to go gently down hill. After a further 10-15 minutes walking with fields on the right and scrubby shrubs on the left a track joins from the right but we walked straight on. Here the path headed down more steeply and was quite rough and stony from erosion for the next stretch so we needed to walk carefully. Again after 10 minutes we came to a junction where a track went right with walls either side, and so we went right. We followed that track for about 4 minutes, 250m, where we turned left on a track heading downhill again. After a short while this track ended and there appeared to be no path continuing, but with a little effort we found the path through the bushes.

View to Roque de Jama

View to Roque de Jama

This section of path passed a cave below the path on the right which may have previously housed livestock, and we continued downhill beside a channel for water worn out of the soft pumice rock. The path then joined another track in an open gravelly area overlooking on the left a finca with neatly tended vines. The track continued through some pines and wound around, past the finca entrance till we arrived at the Parque Cho Pancho, San Miguel’s BBQ recreation area. Here there was a signboad describing the rest of our route down to El Roque which was waymarked with green and white paint lines at intervals.

Heading for Roque de Jama

Heading for Roque de Jama

 

The BBQ park is well equipped with tables and benches and fire places, which all can use, but you do have to bring charcoal. We had our lunch there, and then continued down the path, which after a little while beneath pines, came out into open country with fine views down to the Roque de Jama and the surrounding countryside. We passed a pretty, but dilapidated house, near a stone threshing circle and continued down. The path, although not easy underfoot, was well maintained, and easy to follow. There were occasional signboards with interesting information about the area.

A section of the path on hard pumice rock

A section of the path on hard pumice rock

Beside the path as we descended were plants and shrubs typical of the area, some of them in flower, including the Canary Lavender (Lavandula canariensis), Cornical (Periploca laevigata), and the ubiquitous Pitch plant (Psoralea bituminosa). After about 45 minutes descent from the BBQ park we came to an attractive crossing of the Barranco Rodrigo, after which we shortly joined a minor tarmac road continued down towards the village. We had parked a car not far from where we joined the tarmac.

Pitch plant (Psoralea bituminosa) an introduced fodder plant

Pitch plant (Psoralea bituminosa) an introduced fodder plant

 

 

The walk took only two and a half hours, including a stop for our lunch at the BBQ park. It was 6.5 km long and we descended 640m. There is a GPS track of the route which can be downloaded from the following link:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8736621

If you go to the site for the link you will also find another San Miguel area track which I posted:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8736640

You could combine the end of that walk with this walk to make a circular from El Roque.  I would advise going up the path in this second link, and down the path from the BBQ site as described above, as it is easy on the legs, and safer.

Canary Lavender (Lavandula canariensis) in front of Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp)

Canary Lavender (Lavandula canariensis) in front of Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp)

Las Lajas Parque Recreativo (Vilaflor) to the Sombrero de Chasna

Near the start of the new path from Las Lajas park to the start of the climb.

Near the start of the new path from Las Lajas park to the start of the climb.

This is a walk that has a wow factor at any time of year, but after Mt Teide has had some snow, the view at the top of the walk is that much better. So yesterday (10th January) we decided to go on it, from the barbecue park of Las Lajas, above Vilaflor, around km 59 on the main road from Vilaflor to Boca de Tauce and Teide.

The new path below the road, gets very close to the road at this point

The new path below the road, gets very close to the road at this point

One of our group had noticed recently that there is now a new path going from the BBQ park to the point where we start the climb towards the Sombrero de Chasna. Before we used to walk down the road for nearly a kilometre to reach the start of the path, which is by a couple of ruined cottages. However, now there is a much better start to this walk, with a pleasant stroll through the pine forest, just below the road, which then crosses underneath the road to the start of the climb. The path starts by the toilets, which you can find by following the path from a sign saying ‘W.C.’ from the parking area.

Continuing on the new path avoiding the walk down the main road

Continuing on the new path avoiding the walk down the main road

From the ruined cottages the path begins to climb gently but soon splits up into various routes. We took a left turn, marked with large white paint arrows, which climbs quite steeply on a very clear path, however, going straight on is probably a gentler climb, and does join up with the same path higher up.

The tunnel under the main road to reach the ruined cottages where the path upwards starts

The tunnel under the main road to reach the ruined cottages where the path upwards starts

 

 

 

 

The path climbs through the pine forest and usually there are fine views to the coast, but yesterday they were blanked out by dust in the air due to a calima (weather from the east with saharan dust). Then the circular rocky outcrop, shaped a bit like a hat, which is Sombrero de Chasna comes into view, across a valley. Soon afterwards the path goes along a flatter piece of ridge with some fine old pines with old circular enclosures beneath them, probably a relic of the pastoral use the forest was formerly put to. Then, the top of the walk, comes into sight, the edge of the caldera wall around Las Cañadas.

A view up from the path to the Sombrero, a smaller hat-like rock to the west of the Sombrero de Chasna

A view up from the path to the Sombrerito, a smaller hat-like rock to the west of the Sombrero de Chasna

The last bit of the climb is steep, zig-zagging up a pumice slope, and as you approach the top you get a glimpse of the top of Mt Teide, and then more and more of it till you reach the edge of the caldera. There was snow lying in the dips, and shaded points on the climb, and on the north-facing cliffs of the caldera wall, and dusting the tops of Mt Teide, Mt Blanca, and Mt Guajara.

A view of the Sombrero de Chasna

A view of the Sombrero de Chasna

 

 

 

We walked along the edge of the caldera a short distance, enjoying the fabulous views, had our lunch break, and then descended towards the Sombrero. On this occasion we did not climb it, but passed by the path up it, and continued down into the valley below it. Here the path is quite rough and rocky, then arrives at a fork, where we took the right turn to rise gently back to the ridge we walked up. We walked down the ridge a short distance and then turned right onto path no 31, next to a map signboard, to continue our descent directly back to the BBQ park.

Lying snow on the path as Mt Teide first comes into view ahead

Lying snow on the path as Mt Teide first comes into view ahead

Descending the valley beside the Sombrero, passing a standing rock, with lines of snow on its north side

Descending the valley beside the Sombrero, passing a standing rock, with lines of snow on its north side

Another view of the Sombrerito from the path 31 as we descended back to Las Lajas

Another view of the Sombrerito from the path 31 as we descended back to Las Lajas

This walk was 9.67 km (6 miles) long with 513 m (1260ft) of accumulated ascent.  It took our group about 3.5 hrs.

 

 

 

A GPS track of this walk can be found at the following link:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8736595

The track can be viewed there on various maps, and printed out if required.

Revisiting the circular walk from Las Vegas (Walk 22 in the book)

The old water mill (El molino) is the stone tower below the round reservoir

The old water mill (El molino) is the stone tower below the round reservoir

I recently heard that some of the signage on this walk, (no 22 in the book ‘Tenerife Nature Walks’) has recently been changed. Whereas before this circular walk was signed with green and white signposts and paint marks, it is now largely yellow and white. This is because the authorities are signing and improving another, longer circle, which goes higher up. It is another walk I know and love, going up through the barranco past the impressive rock-climbing cliff called “Risco de Muerto” and then to the east to come down past Montaña Tames (an excellent lunch spot), and down to join walk 22 on its return to Las Vegas. There has also been a lot of work done repairing and widening parts of the very popular circle described in walk 22.

The old green and white signs are still there at point 7, though a bit worse for wear!

The old green and white signs are still there at point 7, though a bit worse for wear!

 

 

 

To avoid confusion, if you are doing walk 22, follow the signs which say ‘El Molino’ (the mill ) until you get to the mill, which is a stone tower below a round reservoir (point 6 in the book). There is a renewed signboard explaining how the mill used to work, as there is now no water channel to the top of it to make it more obvious. From this point on, follow the signs back to Las Vegas.

In places the green part of the paint marks have been overpainted with yellow - others have not been changed

In places the green part of the paint marks have been overpainted with yellow – others have not been changed

The new signage at point 8 of the walk

The new signage at point 8 of the walk

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Scilla haemorrhoidalis, a canarian endemic bulbous plant seen in flower yesterday (Jan 3rd) beside the path

 

 

Revisiting the Arona walk on Camino del Topo and Camino de Suárez

Sea squill (Drimia maritima)  beside a water channel

Sea squill (Drimia maritima) beside a water channel

I described this walk after we had done it in September 2013 in a previous post entitled “A delightful walk from Arona”.  I mentioned then that we did not often walk it in summer due to the lack of shade. However, this year July had a lot of cloudy weather, which continued into early August and we chose to do this walk on a cloudy day, the 2nd August. In fact when we reached the highest point we were in the cloud briefly, and had no views to the coast from the threshing floor between Roque Imoque and Roque de los Brezos, but we were below the cloud most of the time.

Prickly pear flower (Opuntia sp) near the old farmhouse half-way up the Camino del Topo.

Prickly pear flower (Opuntia sp) near the old farmhouse half-way up the Camino del Topo.

I am just adding a few pictures of the flowers we saw at this time of year. Some are typical of the time of year, others are normally over by this time of year, but the wet winter, coupled with the recent humid and cooler weather has extended the flowering period.

 

 

 

 

Canary Bird's foot Trefoil (Lotus sessilifolius) still in flower in July

Canary Bird’s foot Trefoil (Lotus sessilifolius) still in flower in July

 

 

Narrow-leaved cistus (Cistus monspeliensis)

Narrow-leaved cistus (Cistus monspeliensis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild aniseed (Bupleurum salicifolium) a Macronesian endemic which flowers in June/July

Wild aniseed (Bupleurum salicifolium) a Macronesian endemic which flowers in June/July

A view from the north side of Roque del Conde where the flat top is not so notable as from the south or west

A view from the north side of Roque del Conde where the flat top is not so notable as from the south or west

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canary tree bindweed (Convolvulus floridus), a Canary endemic which normally flowers in May.

Canary tree bindweed (Convolvulus floridus), a Canary endemic which normally flowers in May.

Canary spurge (Euphorbia canariensis) with its lovely red, 3-cornered seed pods

Canary spurge (Euphorbia canariensis) with its lovely red, 3-cornered seed pods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)

Small copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)