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Monday, May 30, 2011

Hike La Gomera Valle Gran Rey to Arure 27 May 2011

Around 0930 on 27 May we set off on the hike from Valle Gran Rey to to small town of Arure - walk 31 in Rother's Walking Guide.
The walk started from the picturesque hillside residential area of Calera at the western end of Valle Gran Rey.
From here the track climbs steeply in countless zig-zags up the steep cliff with continuous spectacular views of Valle Gran Rey

Stopped for a picnic at a ledge at 550m above sealevel with magnificent views.
Heard the tinkle of a goat bell - took a while to locate the owner!

At the highest point of the hike, La Merica, 857 meters above sealevel, J has a yoga session

After several hours our objective, Arure comes into view
Looking back, Valle Gran Rey is just visible between the hills
10x zoom helps!

Close to Arure is the Mirador del Santo, built against the cliffside

All in all a superb hike. Plan was to take the bus back to Valle Gran Rey. However, the bus did not stop for us and we were faced with several hours wait for the next bus. A kind Spanish couple from the neighbouring island of Tenerife took pity on us and kindly drove us back to the boat.

La Gomera Valle Gran Rey 22 to 30 May 2011

Had a very rolly night at the Playa Chinguarime anchorage so on 22 May left and motored to Valle Gran Rey on the SW corner of La Gomera passing Playa Santiago on the way

The coastline has many steep headlands interspersed by Barancos
Valle Gran Rey comes into view
Dutch Link anchored below the steep cliffs

View of the anchorage from the puerto
J in dinghy tied up to Valle Gran Rey harbour wall
More views of the anchorage

Had a rolly night on 24-25 May. Swell and wind increased as night fell on 25 May - decided enough was enough as wind was increased to 18 knots and swell got worse and just as night fell, we motored into harbour and tied up alongside wall. Very expensive mooring - 27.5 euros per night to tie up to a very rough wall, no electricity, no toilets, no showers - could get water but had to arrange it in advance - all in all a bit of a rip-off. But no swell!
Harbour wall very rough
so used plank to protect fenders

27 May, friendly fisherman in boat moored in front of us invited us for a crab, shrimp, fish meal
Very good taste

28 May, wind and swell had died down sufficiently for us to anchor outside harbour again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hike La Gomera from Agulo to Visitor Centre Juego de Bolas 19 May 2011

Took the 0930hrs bus nr 2 on 19 May to the picturesque old town of Agulo on the north coast of La Gomera. From here we set off on Rother's Walking Guide route nr 42 - a circular route from Agulo to the Garajonay National Park visitor's centre , Juego de Bolas. Some claim this is the most spectacular of all the hikes on La Gomera. The route follows an old track to the top of the 500 meter high almost vertical cliffs which form a natural amphitheatre behind the town.

Looking at these cliffs as we walked to the start of the hike, we were somewhat puzzled as to where the route might go.
Signpost at start of hike
The track went steeply straight up stone steps between the terraces until the base of the cliff was reached. Then it zig-zagged upwards, clutching the side of the rock, all the time giving superb views of the town below
Looking up, it often looked unlikely that a track was possible

The effort that must have been put into constructing and maintaining such a path over the generations must have been enormous.
At times we crossed plastic pipes used to carry water, from reservoirs above, to irrigate the terraces
At 450 meter above sea level we reached the Mirador de Agulo, a balconied horizontal terrace with an amazing view. Unfortunately the visibility was not too good - usually Mt Teide on Tenerife is clearly visible.

Jeannette takes a break in a small cave on the terrace.
Shortly after the Mirador we reached the hanging valley and became engulfed in cloud. The dam of a water reservoir was just visible visible.
Much farming was evident on terraces in the hanging valley
By luchtime, we reached the Ermita San Isidro in the village of Palmita at an altitude of 700 metres.
About 30 minutes later we arrived at the Garajonay National Park visitor's centre , Juego de Bolas, 750 meters above sea level and our halfway point.

Scale 3D Model of La Gomera

From a lookout point above the centre, one had a good view of the surrounding farmland
Some of the trees were the Heather tree - which indeed looks like its name suggests but is actually a tree.
The route back to Agulo was less of an adreneline kick than the ascent, but still had some suberb views.

The track crossed the main road just before the road disappeared into a tunnel. Our track followed the pre-tunnel route around the spur.
We passed several terraces where vines were being grown - many had been dusted with sulphur - probably as a measure against powdery mildew.

and finally the track rounded the spur and the town of Agulo came back into view
The slopes between the town and the sea are, where possible, used for growing bananas

After wandering through the picturesque streets

we were back at the bus stop where we had started, in good time for the 1700hrs return bus.