Now that was a day’s walk. 25 km of rough tough mountain hiking with 800 mt of ascent and nearly 2000mt of descent. I thought that the last third of the route, the downhill stretch would be quick but the paths were what Paddy Dillon described as very rugged so you can be sure they were.
Knee jarring, ankle twisting, shin spraining bolder paved paths. I prefer it when I get to a section that Paddy describes as gentle walking.
Still, the gods were kind to me today with cloud lifting for most of the morning and late afternoon with just a shortish stretch of the highest ground blanketed in the mist. The wind also got too strong at one dodgy route forcing me to take the road for awhile to save myself from being blown off the mountain.
I started out from Chipude under the dramatic bulk of La Fortaleza a sacred mountain to the natives of Gomera who practised divination and sacrifice up there.
I had set off in my waterproofs as it was raining to start with but I must have made the right sacrifice because the sun came out and the glories were revealed at every turn.
The day’s section took me an hour or so longer than it should because I stopped so often to take pictures.
This part of Gomera and the national park had been badly damaged by fire a few years ago but it is recovering very well and even some of the pines seem to be sprouting new growth.
There were impressive views down the ravines and canyons.
Then I turned and climbed to higher ground and entered the cloud again.
They were clearing some of the dead wood and replanting. The tracks became closed in with vegetation as I returned to the laurel forests that depend on lots of “horizontal rain”
Unfortunately the cloud hid the huge Roque de Agando from me but after that I descended into more sunlit vistas.
I was signed down a steep and rocky path for quite a way before being signed back up again behind massive cliffs. A long drop and climb but very little distance covered. They seem to be keen to keep you off the roads. Then began the rugged downhill terrain. The rough rock and Boulder paving meant you had to watch your step and not the scenery but there were more easy going stretches to soak up the surroundings on.
I came to a lovely flatish piece of land with glorious views that had white painted rocks around it, the sign that it is for sale. That got the imagination going. It even had a donkey.
Some simple houses were grouped together in the shelter of a rock face overlooking the sea.
The final leg down to San Sebastián was the real ankle hazard and it would have been too easy, in a hurry to finish for the day, to put paid to any more exploring of the Canaries GR 131.
But I made it down intact and after admiring this house
I found a bar for a pint and tapas and made my way to the ferry port for the boat to La Palma.
I’m going to give myself tomorrow to sort some things out ( my packs shoulder strap has come away and needs sewing) and make my way down to Fuencaliente where the serious stuff will begin.
Sounds and looks impressive father. Better the equipment giving out than your legs. Keep her lit!
Ta milo. Just been rambling round a volcano that went up in ’71 ! Now im lighting it up with a wine grown right next to me. Big few days ahead. Need fortification!
Glad to see you’re going to have a bit of a rest day, Steve, after your feet’s exertions amongst the boulders. Seems like you’re building up to the toughest stage yet! Hows your eye by the way? Enjoying the nightly bulletins immensely – as Pa would say “bloody marvellous” – hope he’s watching! I might email Jeremy. Ax
Hi Anne, had a good day, all going according to plan so far. Yes the big challenge is the next 3 or probably 4 days. I need good weather and its been unseasonably cold so at 2500 mt is gonna be freezing. The eye is ok but has strange refractions of light at times. Do tell J he might enjoy it. Hope your well. Xx
Keep on rambling our Steve,thoroughly enjoying the experience, la gomera looks absolutely stunning. Good luck with the next bit we’re with you all the way Love and hugs xx
Ahw shucks thanks hon. Your love will see me through!