Saturday, April 20, 2013

El Barranco de los Enamorados — or so I think at least :)

Face of the barranco. Chess Pieces. Moai of Fuerteventura. Take your pick

I wanted to find this particular ravine, El Barranco de Los Enamorados (or de los Encantados), ever since I saw some amazing pictures of it in Facebook. It proved to be not that easy — my excellent KOMPASS map doesn’t have this name, and all the local maps I saw so far don’t have even the most basic stuff, let alone barrancos. I wanted to join one of the excursions that are organized by local walking groups — that didn’t happen somehow. I asked for the directions and got contradictory answers (it’s close to Lajares — no, actually, to La Oliva — no, it’s very close to the Playa de Esquinzo — it’s to the left — no, to the right — actually, just carry on straight...). I asked to point it out on a map; even that was a bit vague. So. I am inclined to think people talk about somewhat different places, but all of those places share one thing — amazing smooth water patterns on the sandstone.

Choosing the directions that pleased me by their simplicity (“just take the unused branch of Lajares roundabout and carry on straight, you can’t miss it”) I went there with a friend. We followed a huge barranco that starts close to Lajares roundabout; when we came to the place where it separated into three branches we started to walk the middle one. We soon met a small group of people, all looking local, and asked them for directions, just to make sure. The main guy took the words out of my mouth — “El Barranco de los Enamorados? No, you took a wrong turn, we are going that way, follow us and then I show you were to go”. (So much for “it’s straight, you can’t miss it”). We followed them to where they parked their 4x4; he told us that “from here it’s probably one more kilometer that way”. Off we went. Problem is, barrancos tend to branch off. That day we took a “wrong” branch — it was nice and had some interesting sandstone structures which were probably petrified plants — but we haven’t found what we were looking for.

So, we went again. This time we found all the stuff you can see on the pictures. I am still not that sure that we found “the” barranco, but I will give the route we followed, and point out at least one alternative I found. I can tell you without false modesty that my pictures are a lot better than what I saw before, but can’t tell if that is because we found a better place or it’s just because I haven’t seen other pictures that do the place justice.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Montaña de la Arena

We didn’t have much luck with the sun during this excursion. One of a few small pools of light on the landscape

Montaña de la Arena is a small dark mountain between Lajares and Villaverde/La Oliva. I passed it many times when doing a part of trans-Fuerteventura path GR 131. Once we tried to go up it with friends, but turned back when we discovered that the side of the mountain that we choose was one large scree. That was the side which looks at Lajares, northern face more of less.
When I saw the announcement of the excursion to the Montaña de la Arena on Facebook, I joined. I figured that maybe there is a good path up that I failed to spot myself.
Well, I was wrong. Where we went, there is no good path. There are bits when it looks sort of like one; but those are separated by stretches of pure picon, black volcanic gravel. You step up and slide down by the same amount, and you step up again, and you guessed the rest. It’s not an easy climb, and I don’t recommend to go where we went - southern face.