On Sunday I continued my walk around the island, from Montes de Luna to Los Canarios. Unlike previous sections, this part of the path doesn’t run through villages, criss-crossing the main road. It goes through the lonely middle of nowhere, and I wasn’t sure whether there’d be mobile coverage. Walking alone seemed like a bad idea. Not that there was any particular reason to expect an accident, just that twenty years of working with computers has given me a lively respect for Murphy’s Law.

Helen and Theresa got up indecently early and arrived at my house before 9 am, so that we could start before the day got too hot. I fed them bacon sandwiches and coffee, and we got to Montes de Luna by 10 am.

Previous sections of the path have been anything between main road and goat track. This was the roughest bit yet: very steep goat track, heading up behind the first house of the village, and up, and up, and up, until we’d climbed 200 m in about half a kilometre. It made a great cardiovascular workout for three large ladies. It wasn’t sunburn that made out faces red.

We found fresh dung on the path in several places, and had a ribald conversation. It definitely wasn’t sheep, goat, dog, cat or human dung. It looked rather like horse manure, but none of us could imagine a horse getting up that track.

Black skeletons of bushes dotted the mountainside. Last summer’s fire had obviously swept through. A little higher up, we found scorched pine trees, recovering nicely. Canarian pines have evolved to survive burning for anything up to six hours.

At the top of the big climb we saw the burnt-out remains of somebody’s summer house. Poor things! It was completely wrecked. But they were rebuilding; someone had stacked a pile of breeze blocks and roofing slates beside the ruined back wall.

And that explained the dung. The most practical way to get building materials up that steep, steep path would be a donkey or mule.

After that the path was relatively level, and soon became a track, which was much easier going.

After some kilometres we came across a tiny statue of the Virgin Mary in a niche in a pine tree. And just past that, the track had been washed away. Presumably that happened when the winter rains arrived last year. Since the vegetation had been burned, that end of the island suffered a lot of small landslides. There was no way you could have got a car past, but we managed it on foot easy enough.

The track carried on. It was all very pretty, but we started to get tired, and we were all glad when we reached the crossroads (crosspaths?) with the trail down into the village of Los Canarios. When we got there, we found a restaurant, and my husband and son joined us for lunch. We had the fresh fish, and it was awesome.

If you’re looking for food in Fuencaliente, we all recommend, Restaurante La Era.

30 km down, 129 to go.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

This article has 1 Comment

  1. This reminds me of some areas in the mountains of Southern California, not too far from where I grew up. That area is also subject to fires, flash floods, and landslides. I liked the shrine in the tree.

    I need to get out and do more walking. I live in a beautiful area of the Pacific Northwest, but it seems the most exercise I get is gardening.

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