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Walk 3 from the book ‘Tenerife Nature Walks’ revisited on a very clear day

View from Degollada de la Mesa

View from Degollada de la Mesa with clear views of the islands of La Gomera (left) and La Palma (right)

We revisited this walk on Wednesday, 20th January, but did do some minor variations. We walked in a clockwise direction, to ensure that we walked the ridge while it was clear of cloud, though on that particular day it was not a problem as it turned out. 

View to Masca

View to Masca 

 

The main variation we made was on the return from the Albergue de Bolico (point 11 in the book). After taking the path up from the Albergue till reaching the track, we walked only 450m on the track before turning left onto a footpath to cut through the laurel woods rather thancontinue on the yellow/white marked trail on the track. That path took us through the woods joining the book’s route at point 5. These changes resulted in a walk that was only 14.52 km long and took us under 5 hours.

Tenerife viper's bugloss (Echium virescens) on the ridge above Masca

Tenerife viper’s bugloss (Echium virescens) on the ridge above Masca

 

 

Tree heath (Erica arborea) which grows widely on the top of the ridge either side of the path.

Tree heath (Erica arborea) which grows widely on the top of the ridge either side of the path.

 

The day we chose turned out to be exceptionally  clear, and we had the best ever views from the    ridges we walked on. 

A Raven (Corvus corax) on top of a Century plant (Agave americana)

A Raven (Corvus corax) on top of a Century plant (Agave americana)

 

Fleytas walk (10 of 12)

A lovely shady cobbled section of the path above the Albergue de Bolico

Fleytas walk (8 of 12)

A view to Las Portals and Buenavista del Norte from the Masca ridge

Fleytas walk (9 of 12)

Canary holly berries (Ilex canariensis)

Recently cleared obstruction to path

Recently cleared logs which were previously obstructing the path through the woods

Fleytas walk (12 of 12)

Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis) on the track down to the Erjos lakes.

Two dramatic crossings of the Barranco de Erques, Guia de Isora

A view towards Mt Tejina and Las Fuentes, and the mountains of Teno from the path up to the Pajar de la Coruna

A view towards Mt Tejina and Las Fuentes, and the mountains of Teno from the path up to the Pajar de la Coruna

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.

A cairn on the path from Pajar de la Coruna to the Barranco de Erques showing the shrubs burnt in the 2012 fire, and the explosion of undergrowth

A cairn on the path from Pajar de la Coruna to the Barranco de Erques showing the shrubs burnt in the 2012 fire, and the explosion of undergrowth

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis). This was by the path and one of the few bigger plants in the area

Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis). This was by the path and one of the few bigger plants in the area

 

 

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).

Entering the Barranco de Juan Viña with a Tree sow-thistle on the left

Entering the Barranco de Juan Viña with a Tree sow-thistle on the left

 

 

 

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.

Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) is a common plant in the damper cooler areas of Tenerife

Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) is a common plant in the damper cooler areas of Tenerife

 

 

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.

 

The Cuevas de Pi which were formerly inhabited by goat herdsmen.

The Cuevas de Pi which were formerly inhabited by goat herdsmen.

 

 

 

 

 

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 cliff with the obstructions on the path below it, viewed from the watercourse of the barranco

The cliff with the obstructions on the path below it, viewed from the watercourse of the barranco

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).

Palomera (Pericallis lanata) on a north-facing cliff to the barranco

Palomera (Pericallis lanata) on a north-facing cliff of the barranco

Tenerife vipers bugloss (Echium virescens) a Tenerife endemic

Tenerife vipers bugloss (Echium virescens) a Tenerife endemic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

An easy section of the path crossing the Barranco de Erques for the second time

Looking back into the barranco as the path approaches El Cedro

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.

A view of the cliff called Tonásaro, from the other side of the barranco

A view of the cliff called Tonásaro, from the other side of the barranco

 

 

 

 

 

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.

At times the path on the descent comes close to the edge of the Barranco de Erques. Here with a  Purple spurge (Euphorbia atropurpurea) on the edge

At times the path on the descent comes close to the edge of the Barranco de Erques. Here with a Purple spurge (Euphorbia atropurpurea) on the edge

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.

The path descending into the Barranco de Erques for the return crossing back to Vera de Erques

The path descending into the Barranco de Erques for the return crossing back to Vera de Erques

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Ratonera (Forsskaoleo angustifolia) is another canary endemic plant

Ratonera (Forsskaoleo angustifolia) is another canary endemic plant

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:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=6547484

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 Short but Challenging walk above Vera de Erques, Guia de Isora

View to Mt Tejina from the path above Vera de Erques

View to Mt Tejina from the path above Vera de Erques

This walk is challenging because of the steep climb of about 630m which starts the walk.  After that you can relax more and enjoy the views.

I walked this route on 16th March and we were very lucky with the weather.  There was a layer of cloud below us a lot of the time, threatening to come up and envelop us, but it never did.  We remained in sunshine the majority of the walk, and were able to see most of the views.  It was the first time since last summer’s fire that I had walked up there, and we certainly saw the damage the fire had caused, but the recent rains and the riot of spring annual flowers, softened the starkness of the burnt landscape.

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Tree sow thistle – Sonchus canariensis

We started the walk from near the school in Vera de Erques which is by a turning circle at the end of the excellent road up to the village.  There are several parking places around there.  As you stand facing the school look for a small tarmac road going up to the right of the school.  Near the bottom of the road is a signboard describing the path we took, the map showing that the path continues up to Las Cañadas after we left it at Pajar de la Corona.

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Cliff celery – Tinguarra cervariaefolia – beside the path and Roque de Ucanca in the distance

The tarmac road is very steep and gives a good stretch to the leg muscles for the start of the walk.  After passing beyond the village the tarmac comes to an end and a path continues up past a finca with a chain-link fence on the left.  Soon the path is in the open above the village, with the occasional pine tree or almond tree or large shrub of Tagasaste or Escobón providing shade.  Otherwise the scrub is low, mainly of Narrow-leaved cistus (Cistus monspeliensis) with its small white flowers.

Occasionally there was a shrub-sized Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis), in full flower.

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Approaching the old abandoned farmhouse called Pajar de la Corona. The pink flowers in the foreground are Mallow-leaved bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides)

As we got higher we began to see the areas affected by the fire, with the burnt out shrubs above as blackened sticks, but with ground herbs and Asphodels (Asphodelus aestivus) growing under them. The Asphodels are bulbs which would be below ground when the fire struck and have now grown up with nothing to shade them, so making an excellent show in many areas.

As we got higher we began to see the areas affected by the fire, with the burnt out shrubs above as blackened sticks, but with ground herbs and Asphodels (Asphodelus aestivus) growing under them. The Asphodels are bulbs which would be below ground when the fire struck and have now grown up with nothing to shade them, so making an excellent show in many areas.

The old bread oven near the old farmhouse Pajar de la Corona.

The old bread oven near the old farmhouse Pajar de la Corona.

Finally an old house appeared on the horizon, and gradually got nearer, this was to be the highest point of our walk, called the Pajar de la Corona or Casa del Pino Redondo.  This is an old farmhouse, the centre of a small community earning their living in the past from grazing a herd of goats, milking and processing the milk into cheese.  As we approached the farm the ground was covered with the pink flowers of Mallow-leaved bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), a widespread Mediterranean wild flower.  We had a look at the old buildings and the separate bread oven serving it, before arriving at the cross-roads of paths above it where we took the left turn, descending into the Barranco Cuéscara.  Here the path was obscured by lots of grass, field marigolds (Calendula arvensis) and other annual herbs together with fallen burnt trees and shrubs, so it was hard to pick it out.  However, concentrating on looking for the lines of stones which bordered the path, we found our way across, and then down the ridge we reached.

Red horned-poppy (Glaucium corniculatum)

Red horned-poppy (Glaucium corniculatum)

Coming out of the barranco a sprinkle of red flowers caught my attention, they were Red horned-poppy (Glaucium corniculatum). The burnt area had small areas where the flames had missed, which housed some older plants and shrubs that added interest and colour to the landscape.  These included more Tree sow-thistles, some Bitter spurges (Euphorbia lamarckii) and some Tenerife viper’s bugloss (Echium virescens).  Everywhere the ground was covered with fresh grasses, field marigolds, Charlock (Sinapis arvensis) and other herbs.

Gradually the path descended towards the near-deserted village of Las Fuentes to the east of Mt Tejina.  After descending the one ridge for some distance the path turned sharply to the right to cross the Barranco de las Carreras.  Here I looked up to the right to see the old goat farm, which was still operative before the fire but now appears to be deserted.  Presumably the lack of grazing after the fire put an end to this rural business, which is sad as I always enjoyed seeing the goats grazing the area.

Tenerife viper's bugloss (Echium virescens) a Tenerife endemic

Tenerife viper’s bugloss (Echium virescens) a Tenerife endemic

We arrived in the village of Las Fuentes at the top and walked down the village street on the ridge, down through the open area in the village, past the fountain on the left and continuing towards Mt Tejina till nearly at the last house, opposite which we went down a track to the left.  After passing a few fields, on a bend in the track a path went down to the right, which we took.  About 350m further on the path comes close to the track going up to Las Fuentes, but just before reaching the track we turned left up a small slope onto another path, which we would follow all the way back to Vera de Erques.

View down to Acojeja and the coast from above Las Fuentes

View down to Acojeja and the coast from above Las Fuentes

Looking from Las Fuentes, Vera de Erques did not look far away, but the path had some hidden secrets, the first being the second crossing of the Barranco Cuéscara, involving a steep descent and equally steep ascent before levelling off again. Then, descending a rocky ridge, another old farmhouse appeared to the right of the path.  Opposite the entrance to the farm is an old cistern (covered), and three old washing places (lavanderos).  From this spot there is a small path down behind the cistern where you can get to an old cave housing the oldest winepress in the area.  However the entrance is almost blocked by a large Escobón shrub so it is difficult to see (even if you know where it is!)

Casa Montiel is to the right of the path - another old farm settlement

Casa Montiel is to the right of the path – another old farm settlement

We continued along the path which passes an old tile kiln and an old well with watering trough for animals.  The latter is normally dry, but after the recent rains it contained some water this time.  Then the path crossed one final barranco – Bicacaro – before arriving on the main road to Vera de Erques on a bend.  We turned left to return to our start point just 350m away.

The whole walk took us 4hrs 37mins and was 9.8 km / 6.13ml.  Total accumulated ascent and descent was 670m.  The track can be viewed and downloaded as GPX trail at:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=4154935