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Friday, June 3, 2011

Hike La Gomera from Valle Gran Rey to Chipude 1 June 2011

Dinghied ashore around 0930 hrs 1st June and walked to the bus station close to Calera, the picturesque hillside village part of Valle Gran Rey. Here is the finish of Rother's Walking Guide walk nr 18 from the hillside village of Chipude to Calera. As we have decided to preserve our knees as much as possible, we try to avoid down hill walks where we have a choice. Hence we decided to do this hike in reverse, climbing from sea level to 1080 meters above sealevel.

After a mile or so along a dusty track we reached the Ermita de los Reyes. Shortly past here the clearly indicated path climbs steeply in zig-zags to the ridge above.
First going past a picturesque house
We passed many beautiful wild flowers on the way , including these prickly pears
and others we have not seen before
Gradually, the terraced fertile floor of the valley of Valle Gran Rey (Valley of the great King) is left behind
and the terrain becomes wilder and rockier
Higher and higher .......

and higher .....

until we reach Degollada del Cerillal at 658 meters, the top of the ridge where the trail splits
This proved to be a good spot for our picnic lunch
with marvelous views including of the valley where we started from, far below.

On the other side of the valley, the ridge we hiked a few days ago from Calera to Arure is clearly visible.
After lunch we followed the clearly indicated path to Chipude which, for an hour or so, undulated very gently
occasionally crossing almost dry rocky stream beds

After a while, the path followed a disused water channel - similar to the Levadas on Madeira, except this one was in bad shape - the farmers seem to prefer ugly pipes to carry irrigation water on La Gomera
More prickly pears
We met several fellow hikers en route including a Dutch couple who kindly took this photo of us in the levada
The trail went in and out of the often broken channel
We do not remember seeing these wild yellow flowers anywhere else

or these
another rocky stream bed - with some water in its rock pools
more wild flowers
and a palm tree - not too many around at this altitude
with prickly pears

The trail splits - left to the village of El Cercado, right to Chipude
Finally our destination, Chipude at an altitude of 1080 meters comes into view
The Chipude village church with the distinctive table-top hill Fortaleza in the background
Athough the sky was blue most of the time, on arrival at Chipude we noticed this low cloud moving quickly through a nearby valley
Had an ice and a coke at the church square while we awaited for the 1800 hrs airport bus (line 6 ) to save our knees and bring us effortlessly back to sealevel. The bus dropped us off close to the port of Vueltas (port of Valle Gran Rey) where our dinghy awaited us .

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