Last day today on La Palma. Guess I’ll have to come back soon 😉
Had a last lazy walk in the north east and visited the cascade of Los Tilos inside the Barranca del Agua. Nice but not that thrilling. Afterwards I had a walked up a forest road far up the Barranco del Agua to visit the weather measuring point Espigon Astravesado, which offers a great view from a rocky crest, high above the canyon. Made acquaintance with some Canary birds which were absolutely not shy and joint me during a short break.
Back on my way to the Hotel I made a short stopover in Puerto Espinosa to put my feet in the Atlantik Ocean. Again got some company, a colorful crab this time.
I’ve lost the sight to the north a little bit during the last days. So I went up there to walk a 5h track (700m downhill, 700m uphill, 12Km) down to Don Pedro. The way down leads through a mostly dry rocky creek bed, dark and mystic, restrained in a narrow canyon, covered by old laurel and overgrown with fern. Even some prehistoric petroglyphs, spirals scratched into the rocky surface, could be seen.
Arriving in Don Pedro, the small hamlet was also covered, not by fern but by clouds. Apart from that not much could be seen because of the fog, there was not that much worth to be seen in Don Pedro 😉
The way down was very interesting and so was the way up. High above the canyon ground that made the first part of the track, the way back to the starting point follows the ridge of the mountain and instead of being dark and wet it seemed to me like walking through a green, blooming garden when passing abandoned fields and meadows. A nice and varied track.
The day started with some really fine weather. Bright sun, light eastern wind and about 17°C. One of the remaining tracks on my wish list starts at La Cumbrecita, a deep trench in the southern caldera border, but still 1312m high. The access to La Cumbrecita is limited, so I decided to leave the car at the Visitors Center above El Paso and take a Taxi (8€) for the last kilometers. The chosen track is a bit “challenging”. Overall 400m uphill, 1300m downhill and with some tricky section where the track is secured by chains and steel cable or steel steps mounted to the steep face. Therefore the track description in tracking guide says: “Ask for the conditions.” I’ll asked and together with the ranger the following conclusions where made:
The rangers don’t know the exact conditions of the track, because they walk the path once every week and no one had after the last rain (sounds promising!)
If I’ll find the track to be “too” dangerous, I will not continue but return to La Cumbrecita. Regardless where I am at this moment (sure!)
I register at the rangers point at La Cumbrecita (no problem!
I will leave my phone number at the Visitors Center, so they will be able to contact me. (?)
As soon as I reach the Mirador La Cancelita, after that point the track is easy, I will give the Visitors Center a call, that I’m save and well (things start to scare me a little bit)
When I’m back at the Visitors Center, I’ll give them a short report about the condition on the track. (I’d love to!)
Short after La Cumbrecita the path dives deeply into the Barrancos and leads one on narrow tracks through old Canary Pines, which cling to the steep slopes. The track remains narrow, sometimes rampant but most of the time abruptly descending, always slippery by bare rock, gravel or pine needles. After approximately 2/3 of the track, the fun began. Gravel slides had filled up the track and extreme caution had to be taken. Passed this, the next challenge appeared. In order to climb down to the next Barranco ground, two options where offered. One on the upper side, secured by chains and easier to climb but… unfortunately completely destroyed by rock slides. So let’s try the other way, crossing a blank steep cliff on steely steps down to the ground of the canyon. One or two of those steps where bent by some heavy rocks and fairly useless. Makes the climbing even more interesting 😉 Crossing the canyon ground to get to the exit was the next thrill. 45° steep loose gravel, two meters above a 12m high rock step… ok done with that, now get to the exit. Exit? Gone. 3m to climb on wet naked rock to get to the former exit. On the next 500m of the path there where again some gravel slides, more or less routine if you made it up here ;). Climbing trough the last challenge, the next canyon without save entrance and exit but with gravel, loose rocks and some water and the hard part of the track was done.
The rest of the tracks leads trough sparse pine woods, later almond trees and succulents, always steep and gravelish down to the Mirador de la Cancelita. Made my call to the Visitors Center and went down the hill to Los Llanos. The last part of the track starts a bit boring on a gravel road, but later on it passes nice residential houses above the city of Los Llanos. Found a taxi and after 6h I was back at the Visitor Center. As promised, I gave them a short report about the conditions on the track and when I showed some of the pictures I’d made, one’s brow furrowed. I Suspect the track will be closed until one of the rangers had patrolled it and considered it to be safe.
Sorry, too many pictures… But there were so many overwhelming impressions and the whole track leads through such a great scenery with fantastic views inside the Caldera de Taburiente and to the surrounding mountains… Before it gets boring just play “Guess the right path” on picture °20 to °27 😉
Today I’ve visited Santa Cruz, capital of La Palma. The city center of Santa Cruz is protected by preservation order since 1990 and there are only a few new buildings are disturbing the historic character of the town. The core of the city was built at the end of the 15th century, pillaged by pirates in the mid of the 16th century and rebuild. Therefore most of the oldest buildings are from 1560 and afterwards. The heart of the town is formed by narrow, mostly on-way streets with typical colorful residential and patrician houses, a lot of them with wooden balconies. Historic churches, abbeys, administrative buildings and fuzzy shaded plazas with Bars and Cafes complete this ensemble. When leaving the direct core of the city, one may find some old residential houses that are not in a very good shape. Unfortunately some of them fall into disrepair and/or are for sale. These are sings of the current crisis in Spain, where maintenance especially of an old historic building is expensive while people fight against unemployment and dept.
The east side of the city center is dominated by the “Avenida Maritime” with a grate view to the harbor and some representative administration buildings.
Guess I will have a Street Photography walk there before I leave. Beside a lot of historic buildings you may find even more interesting people in the streets of Santa Cruz.
Today I had a great walk in the rain forest of La Palma. The track (8,5Km, 500m up and down again, 3,5h) leads you deep into the Barranco de la Galga. While walking on forest roads at the beginning and the end of the track, one walks on narrow trails most of the time, always rampant, wet and slippery on forest floor or moss covered rocks. Water trickles out of the rock face everywhere and various kinds of birds fill the dark wet forest with their sounds.
When reaching the top of the track the Mirador de la Somata Alta, there offers a great view to the north eastern coast of La Palma.
Over steep slope the path touches some signs of civilization, a farmhouse, a water pipe and some French fries fields and after a short but intense ascent, it dives back deep into the narrow canyon.
Fine walk in an impressive scenery! Keep your fingers crossed, that the weather will remain as good as today. There are some tracks on my wishlist, which requires dry conditions 😉
Very strong wind and some rain on the east side of La Palma, so let’s check the south. Storm and some more rain in the south, so let’s check the west. Very strong storm and heavy rain in the west, so… but wait. Somewhere down on the left was a bright spot. Let’s give it a try. Puerto Naos. Strong wind, high waves and a nice restaurant to enjoy the bright sun, a good baked sole (always try the ichthyologists’ version ;), a beer and a Cortado. Nothing spectacular today, but I had a relaxing time.
I’m writing these lines, while enjoying a Jameson at the hotel bar. Unfortunately Carlos, one of the two funding members of the “Duo Carlos y Esther Santana”, really…, tries to spice up “Save the last dance for me” with some organ driven blue notes. Not only does he look like an insurance sales representative with a massive Mariacron intoxication, no, these blue notes resist and Carlos Santanas shipwrecking is piteous. Fortunately Esther wasn’t seen here during the last 30 minutes…
Let’s talk about some pleasant stuff. Had a great tour, deep inside the Caldera de Taburiente. Starting north of Los Llanos at the parking at Baranco de Las Agustinas, there is a taxi service that carries you up 1000m the Mirador los Brecitos. Cheap amusement, only 51€ per taxi. Ok, the lift takes about 30 minutes, the street is really steep and rockslides (may) occur. Therefore, wait at the parking and join with some other hikers. That might reduce the costs significantly. Starting at the Mirador Los Brecitos, the path leads through the typical Canary pine wood, almost keeping its altitude, for about 1h. The track is usually covered with pine needles, sometimes bare rock, but always 30 – 80cm wide, with the steep slope to the left and several meters of nothing to the right, offering some views to the caldera flanks. After 1,5h the “Playa de Taburiente”, a wide gravel filed and hikers camping area passes by and a 300m altitude steep decent on narrow serpentines, down to the ground of the Barranco follows.
Every turn a new a fantastic view. By the way, choose the “Solos expertos”-variant to ensure that there is no visible track but massive rock climbing fun 😉 Safely arrived at the Barranco ground, the path leads though the narrow stony creek bed, all the way down to the parking. Overall 200m up, 1000 down, 14Km and 5,5h to go. One of the best tracks I’ve already walked on the Canaries.
Dos Aguas, where the streams of two creeks join and will be caught immediately by human build appliances to ensure the islands water supply. Video: Dos Aguas
Let’s start with the “Yay”. The satellite image and web cam at the observatory had shown no clouds at the northern caldera flank. Muchachos-weather. The cloud base was near 1200m, so there may be no clear view to the caldera, but at least the top was sunny.
Go on with the “Woohoo”. The freezing fog that kicked me ass yesterday had left a great surprise. The whole upper caldera edge was covered with ice. It looked (sorry for the phrase) AMAZING!
Had a 4h walk today, starting at Mirador de los Andenes (Street LP4 KM 32.5, 2297m). Normally 3h should be enough but I had to make some unplanned stopovers to enjoy the view. The track follows the caldera edge, up to the highest spot of La Palma, the Roques de los Muchachos (2426m). Passing some prehistoric petroglyphs and the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos the path leads you mostly on the wind covered inner side of the caldera edge and provides great panoramic views. Today even the Pico del Teide on Tenerife could be seen.
Great track, great scenery, great experience. That’s what I’m here for 😉
While there is still a little muscle soreness, caused by yesterday’s uphill lava sand challenge, today only a small 3h track at the caldera flanks near Roque de los Muchachos (2426m) was planned. Good plan, but bad execution. While the visibility was 20 meters at most, there was… no temperature 😉
First plan-B, follow the street down to the west shore and visit Puerto de Tazacorte. This picturesque little place is located directly at the sea side end of the Caldera de Taburiente and offers some older buildings, a mole sheltered black lava beach and some surprisingly cheap beach bars. “Grundnahrungsmittel” is great German word, isn’t it? The best English equivalent may be staple food and my favored Grundnahrungsmittel on the Canary Islands is the classic Café Cortado Natural. 60c with a great view to Puerto Tazacorte, the Mole and the beach, and a relaxing seat in the sun.
Second plan-B, increase the internet fun. The connection quality and bandwidth in the hotel is annoying. This morning I’d tried to go for a Spanish prepaid card at the Voodoofone shop in Santa Cruz. It started unfriendly but in fluent English, felt like to be taken to the cleaners and ended with me leaving the shop without any money spend. On my way back to Los Cancajos I made a short stopover at Orange Movil in Los Llanos. Warm welcome, communication using gestures, smiles, giggles, online translators and two other sales people, left with the expected prepaid contract.
Currently no plans for tomorrow. Guess I will ask the satellite picture and make another plan-B tomorrow morning.
Starting at Los Canarios (650m) the track (overall 15Km) leads down to the very south shore of La Palma, to Faro de Funcaliente.
Passing Volcán San Antonio there is a first interesting point at Roque Teneguia. Native Palmeros covered this rock formation with prehistoric Petroglyphs. Unfortunately most of these rock carvings are worn by erosion and disrespectful tourists. Following the path up to the top of Volcán Teneguia, one soon recognizes that the Teneguia provides everything a serious volcano on early retirement has to. Steep flanks, the smell of sulfur and some hot spots on the surface. The remaining track passes wide pumice and lava fields, ending at the south shore at the two lighthouses of Funcaliente. Next to those navigation marks there is a still operated saline. Really interesting!
Not that interesting, but more kind of a sporty challenge was the way back to the starting point in Los Canarios. Always steep, straight up from 0 to 650m the path was covered with loose black sand and gravel. Two steps forward, one back. Not funny and only exhausting. I’m done.
I’m pretty sure, tomorrow will be a bit more relaxing
The Day started promising with a really good breakfast on the hotel patio, clear skies and nearly no wind. For today, 2 “warm-up” walks where planned. I’ve started at … but wait. I’ve started with the strong expression that La Palma is a somehow chilling island. Driving to my first starting point, the Cumbrecita south of the Caldera Taburiente, I had to recognize that driving on La Palma is relaxed. People seem to be more “laid back” then on Tenerife, which I’ve visited several times. OK, good start.
Starting at la Cumbrecita (1312m) the first track is more or less a lazy walk on a very good path with a rampant end, climbing 100m difference in altitude. On the whole track, mostly shadowed by Canary Pines, 1,15h including some photo breaks, I’ve had a fantastic view inside the Caldera Taburiente and to the northern caldera flanks.
Second track. A short round, starting at “Refugio del Pilar”, up to the top of Pico Birigoyo (1807m). The first half of the walk follows the west flank of the Cumbre Vieja, always slightly upwards. At the turning point, south of Pico Birigoyo, the path rises north crossing some wide fields of pumice gravel. A bit windy and dusty. Finally, when passing the last pine, the north eastern Passat winds sucker punched me right in the face. Damn, this wind was strong, almost breathtaking. Covering my cap and my glasses I made the last meters to the top nearly creeping.
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