I must have walked about 30km which wasn’t what I had planned when I left my stony bedroom. I had planned to get to Ayaguares only about 4 hours away, have a leisurely lunch then carry on for an hour or so and find somewhere nice to camp before the final leg.
Didn’t work out like that.
After a pretty good night with the cloud briefly touching every now and again I could see my surroundings for the first time. I looked back down the path I’d climbed the night before.
This was the Degollada de la Manzanilla where a sign informed me that I had made my bed at 1190mt.
Even though the vastness ahead seemed devoid of any signs of human life there were tracks winding through it and I could make out some mysterious complex miles into the empty quater. And hear the sound of a digger working somewhere.
A while later I may have come across the explanation of the mechanical noises when my planned route was interrupted by this sign.
A pretty permanent looking sign which led me to believe that this wasn’t some minor rockfall like the ones I’d come across so far. Maybe I could skirt around it or climb over it but I didn’t want to get to the bottom of the valley to find I couldn’t and have to come all the way back again. So I followed the sign for the S57 pointing me towards Ayaguares. And very nice it was too. It slowly gently descended across the dry rocky landscape under towering pinnacles and around great boulders. First through thinly scattered pine and then scrub which on closer inspection contained a wealth of colour.
The reservoir or Embalse de Ayaguares grew closer until I could look down on a higher one the Embalse de Gambuesa which had a lovely looking collection of houses and gardens drawing sustenance from is waters.
The bar in the village was not the kind of place for a leisurely lunch however with no food on offer, so after a cafe con leche and a look at their photos of guys using the vaulting poles I’d seen on La Palma, it was back on track.
As I started my climb out of the village I stopped for a chat with a fella sat outside a roadside house advertising his massage services. Phill from Gloucester, whose been coming to the canaries during the winter for 20 hrs. He told me bad weather was forecast so it was just as well I was coming to the finish. He also asked if I’d like to talk on his internet radio show next Tuesday,broadcast on fm in the uk, radio winchcombe. If I’m here I will.
I knew there was a long steep climb ahead so I somewhat reluctantly pulled myself away and carried on towards La Montana in search of food and rest. A tough climb it was.
At last I came to the top of the switchback road at the gap of Cima Pedro Gonzalez but I was too tired to stop and admire the view. The whole way was now on road which I find harder going and I was aware of tender feet for the first time. Walking along the ridge top I looked down upon Palmitos Park, a very popular tourist attraction set deep at the back of a ravine. A “wildlife” park it had a range of animals in captivity including 4 or more Dolphins in these pools.
The next disturbing sights were the over the top opulence of the villas of Montana Alta, an area Phill had described as the Beverly Hills of Gran Canaria. These pictures cannot convey the scale of the wealth on show, or perhaps debt, because there were a lot of for sale signs.
The Palm tree lined avenues, all named after composers, had broad pavement, there were no pedestrians, and scores of parking spaces for car that weren’t there.
A glorious folly of an urbanization that now has a large ugly unfinished concrete housing complex fenced off at its entrance.
By the time I got to La Montana lower, a real village, it was obvious I had run out of camping options. So after stocking up on some food and water it was a dash to the finish. It was road and suburbs and camel ranches and go cart track and Aqualand all the way.
It wasn’t really the relaxed and victorious end to my trail across the Canaries I had hoped for so I put off the last few km to the Maspalomas faro for a day and headed straight for the hostel I had just booked on line. Phill had told me about it and about a great tapas bar next door.
The tapas were excellent, the best i shad this trip. The accommodation is awful, the worst I’ve had this trip.
So my next post will be the last of this trip and I must include my kit review. Speaking of views, here’s mine.