Walk 9 – Boca de Tauce to Guia de Isora – (Posted 20th Nov, 2013) Despite severe damage in the 2012 forest fire the Barranco de Tagara, and its surrounding area, which this walk passes through is now recovering well, and the path through the barranco has been repaired.
Walk 10 – Circular from Chirche thru Barranco Peguerias – (posted 12th Feb, 2016) Unfortunately I have to report that the path through the Barranco Peguerias has become overgrown since the fire of 2012, and it is virtually impossible to find the path.
Walk 11 – Ifonche to Barranco del Infierno viewpoint – (posted 20th Nov, 2013) The main path used by this walk, up until point 11, is now way marked with yellow/white signposts and way marks to help navigation. Pictures below show the junctions of the paths to and from the viewpoint at point 11 and 15.
The plants mentioned, particularly at point 9, were badly affected by the 2012 forest fire, but are starting to re-grow now.
Walk 33 – Los Organos of La Orotava – (posted 26.10.2017) For a while the upper part of this walk was closed due to a landslip. I am pleased to find out that it is no longer closed. Super walk – Enjoy!
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Apart from the walk I did on August 8th, 2012 (see the gallery of photos posted on this blog then), I have not walked in the area of the Barranco de Tágara since the devastating fire there nearly a year ago. However, I had been interested in doing so while the forest is more open than before, as my friends and I believed there were paths there we did not know, and finding and exploring them would be easier. So yesterday we went to search out new paths.
We set out from the Mirador de Chio, or Narices del Teide, near km3 on the TF-38 from Boca de Tauce to Chio and walked a little way up the road towards Boca de Tauce and turned right onto a track heading across the malpais (aa lava flow) towards the caldera wall. On the caldera wall I spotted the La Palma groundsel (Senecio palmensis) hanging from a cleft in the cliff. It is an endemic of La Palma, but also of Tenerife. In the malpais were clumps of Shrubby scabious (Pterocephalus lasiospermus), now in full flower.
The track bends around to the left and on the bend below the cliff was a clump of the endemic Tenerife campion (Silene nocteolens). There were quite a few specimens in the area, mostly beneath rocks or rocky cliffs.
We made our way to the fire vigilance watch-tower at the back of Mt Cedro, the focus of a popular walk for our walking group – before the fire, of course. From there we took a path that was renovated not so long ago, heading downhill. It is now well defined, unlike when I first tried to follow it, upwards, before it was renovated! However, we had not gone very far down it when we came across a group of cairns, and some white paint spots, drawing our attention to a path going left which we had never seen before. We had a little discussion and decided to follow it.
The path headed left along the head of the Barranco de Tágara, with fine views down into it, from directions I had never seen before. It was not the best path ever, but was easy to follow with plenty of cairns and white paint spots. Having crossed the barranco head it headed downhill, getting steeper, and was a bit loose underfoot here. The last couple of hundred yards the cairns and markings disappeared, but we could see a track ahead and just made our way down to it. We found ourselves on a bend in the track where the path from Boca de Tauce to Guia de Isora, the PR-TF 70 passes very close, at point 7 in Walk 9 of the book ‘Tenerife Nature Walks’. This is where that path intersects a path shortcut, which we took, and this resulted in us ending up at point 12A of that walk.
We were now in the Barranco de Tágara itself, beneath its mighty cliffs and surrounded by trees with deeply charred bark and branches, but amazingly mostly still alive. It is a testament to the resilience of the Canary Pine (Pinus canariensis) that it can survive even such an intense fire as was concentrated in that Barranco last July. A few giant trees which had fallen due to the fire, and which last August we saw still burning, had, of course, died, but the vast majority are sprouting new green shoots up the trunks, giving hope for the future. Meanwhile it still looks a little bare on the ground, although there clearly had been a good showing of Teide marguerites (Argyranthemum teneriffae) this spring, now mostly over. Other ground flora is regenerating rapidly, including Teide wallflowers (Erysimum scoparium) and Pine forest cistus (Cistus symphytifolius), so next spring should have a great show in the Barranco.
We followed the yellow/white marked PR TF-70 through the Barranco and found the path had been cleared of obstacles such as fallen trees, rocks, etc, which we had encountered last August. There were some rough bits, especially crossing a near vertical streambed, just after passing the Galeria (water mine), but it was all walkable.
However, as we left the barranco and turned the corner, we found a burnt tree across the path at head-height – easily ducked under – and soon afterwards a huge burnt tree still lying across the path at the point the path from the firetower joins the PR TF-70. It was easily skirted around, but I was surprised it had not been trimmed so the path was clear.
We continued to follow the PR TF-70 path, crossing the Barranco Peguerias, where you still have to go a little way down the streambed to get up to the path on the other side. Out of that barranco the path rises gently till it reaches the crest of a ridge where a signpost points the PR TF-70 downhill. This was where we left that path, as we wanted to explore a path going up the ridge. I had thought it likely this was a minor path, although looking down from above we had been able to see it clearly. It turned out to be a well-constructed proper path with steps in places, and rain-gutters too, so it was a pleasure to walk.
As expected, the path joined another path I have walked only once or twice, which crosses the Barranco Peguerias higher up than the PR TF-70. However, we did not turn right at that point to cross that barranco, but went left to cross the Barranco del Cedro, zig-zagging up the far side till we reached the track which accesses the Galeria Salto Gutierrez. The track was a bit overgrown and had some large rockfalls across it, showing it had not had vehicles along it for a long time. As we went along it we discovered why – Charaquete – had washed the track away, though we were able to cross on foot without much trouble.
After that barranco we started looking for the path to go back up to where we started. However, we walked right past it as it was badly eroded, and the cairns had fallen. Fortunately the track did a hairpin bend and crossed the path again, where we did see the cairns for the path and started following it up. At first it was very steep, and with the erosion of the path, needed a lot of effort and concentration in placing of feet, but higher up it was less steep and was easier walking, till we reached the malpais. In the malpais it was harder to see the path, and the cairns, but they were there and guided us to a new bit of National Park path, very clearly delineated, on which we went left.
The National Park path clearly replaced the previous path I had on which I crossed the malpais several years ago, and it wound its way to the road right opposite the Mirador where we had parked. We had seen the signboard for the path when we started, but had not seen the path, which went to the right from the signboard behind the crash barrier.
The route took us around 6 hours, was 15.4km long and involved 622m of climbing.
On Wednesday we were unable to complete our planned walk from Vilaflor as the track we intended to follow from near the firetower above the town was cordoned off. So we had to turn around and find another route. We had climbed to there on the Camino Pino Enano (Dwarf Pine path) from near the football pitch by the Hotel Villalba. So we explored a point where a track leaves the road just above km63 on the road from Vilaflor to Boca de Tauce, where I had discovered there was a path going up to the Sombrero de Chasna, thanks to Tico Acoran’s contribution to Wikiloc.
We went up the track which forked, took the left fork and soon saw some cairns and a faint path leading up onto a rocky ridge. It zig-zagged a bit on the way to the top of the ridge and then turned to the right to head straight up. We noticed a small galvanized pipe in an old water channel, partially covered with stones, was to our right when we were on the ridge, and this channel was key to not getting lost! This was as far as we went on Wednesday as we did not want to climb further that day, but decided to return on Saturday to start our walk there.
On Saturday we parked one car at the Las Lajas barbeque park and one at km 63, and walking from there we followed the same route up to the first level bit. We noticed the cairns on this flatter stretch led us over to the right of the ridge so we could enjoy the view over the forest, looking down onto the Pista Agua Agria which leaves the main road a little down from where we started. Those who suffer vertigo, however, might prefer to stay with the water channel as the path is on the edge of a precipitous slope. The path then rejoined the water channel until it reached the foot of a steeper slope where the cairns led us round to the left up a zig-zag easier route than the water pipe. On the next flatter part we passed a ruin of an old shepherd shelter.
We followed cairns where they were there, often diverting from the water channel for an easier path, and where there were no cairns we stayed near the water channel, till we reached a wide open space, where we could see no onward cairns, only a very large cairn which appeared to be one of a series we had seen that appeared to be in a straight line, perhaps marking a boundary. We should have stuck to the channel, as from the left of it a path went across the barranco on the left and then another brance of the barranco. We then followed cairns up a slope till we reached a well-worn path. However, when we looked from above we saw another path which stayed on the right bank of the second barranco until reaching a dark cliff which the water channel disappears into, where it crosses in front of the cliff to join the path we had joined lower down.
We were now in the valley to the western side of the Sombrero, and we began to see the occasional flowers, mainly Malpica del cumbre (Carlina xeranthemoides), with a few Flor de malpais (Tolpis webbii). Higher up we saw some of the Teide knapweed (Cheirolophus teydis). All of these are Canarian endemics, so great treasures, even though common in the area.
We continued up the valley past the Sombrero and on up to the edge of the caldera where we got a great view of Mt Teide and Las Canadas for an excellent lunch stop. We then made our way to National park path no. 31 which descends a little west of the way we came up, and followed that path down as that comes out on the main road near to Las Lajas. It is a pleasant walk through pine woods, going gently downhill.
As we came nearer the road we found ourselves walking through an area of pine forest affected by the fire in July. However, the fire had clearly swept through quickly, burning the pine-needle carpet (pinoche) and singeing the trees but not damaging them badly. The undergrowth shrubs such as the sticky broom (Adenocarpus viscosus) and the Escobon (Chamaecytisus proliferus) had been burnt and killed where the fire had hit them, but others a few metres away had been missed by the fire. We had noticed higher up some more severe damage to trees high up next to the rocky crags of the caldera rim. There the fire had lingered and burned rather than rushing through, and some of those pines will not revive.
Arriving at the Las Lajas barbeque park, we were able to take the car down to the other one parked below. It would have been possible to walk this part to make a circle, but we tend to like a shorter walk on Saturdays. The walk took us 3.5 hrs, was 8.63 km / 5.39 ml and involved 550m / 1806ft of climbing.