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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hike La Gomera via Barranco de Argaga to El Cercado 5 June 2011

Had been tempted for some time to hike up the Barranco de Argaga (see above photo) which we have been anchored off for the last ten days or so. The description of the hike (nr 29 in thr Rother Walking Guide ) was both enticing and offputting - "A dare-devil ascent through the craggy labyrinthof the Argaga Gorge". Met some hikers who had done it and decided to give it a go.

So at 0930 hrs 5 June we left the boat gently swinging at anchor and dinghied into the harbour of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey.
Then along the track which runs below the almost vertical cliff to the entrance to the Barranco - Dutch Link is the boat on the left

Then up the track past the Sanyassins "Place of Light " meditation/ yoga resort and the Finca Argayall fruit garden.
Just before the last buidling, a sign indicated the start of the hike up a reed covered boulder strewn stream bed

Past a water reservoir
and old terraces
Although the track is not very obvious in places, someone has taken the trouble to mark it very clearly

As the guide stated, there are many parts of the ascent where scrambling/ rudimentary climbing skills are required

Again, the Gomerians take a pragmatic approach to irrigation - using pipes slung over ravines where necessary to transport the precious water.
Parts of the route are a bit exposed

From time to time, we get glimpses of the sea
More scrambling
Large caves high up in the gorge walls

Water falls - when there is rain - the white below is not water but a salt deposit

More terraces
Finally we leave the gorge and climb steadily up more benign slopes
and are rewarded by views of the sea and neighbouring ridges
The ridge in the foreground is on the route we hiked to Chipude and the one in the background is the ridge we hiked to Arure

Eventually reach the small hamlet of Gerian, the end of route 29 - all in all an exhillerating, unforgetable but enjoyable hike.
We , however, continue to El Cercado
with the odd house tucked into the hillside
Clearly visible is the table top mountain of Fortalezsa - a destination of a future hike
Approaching the Ermitage de Guadalupe
We now join route nr 25 to El Cercado

Stop for refreshments below some almond trees
Junction with the trail from Degollada del Cerillal (Hike nr 25). We follow an old Levada
Back in Matanza where the trail to Chipude forks to the right. We carry on to El Cercado

Time for an apple before the final ascent
more prickly pears
small flowing stream
Steady not too steep ascent
First view of El Cercado, our destination
Many terraces surrounding El Cercado, some cultivated
Entering El Cercado

Finally reach El Cercado where we take the line 6 bus back to Vueltas at 17.17hrs.

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