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 didn't prove to be 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's 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.

Looks like the Grand Canyon, right? Basically, it is, but scaled down :)
The walls of the barranco are about four meters at the highest points, and made of the crumbly sandstone (probably not that great for climbing). The most beautiful smooth patterns are found in the small branches, where you need to squeeze to go in. That should give you some idea about the size. Grand Canyon it ain't :). But very beautiful nevertheless.

Would love to see what happens after a big rain. It can't be full of water of course, but it must be something worth seeing anyway

Little holes, arches, mini-caves and grottos

Love this little gorse bush. A bit of life in all that smoothness

Faces, faces everywhere


Ok. Here is the route that we took


View El Barranco de Los Enamorados (or something equally good :) in a larger map

Alternative route (to a different place, but close by) - here

BTW - the meanings of the names used are the Ravine of Enamored,  or the ravine of the Enchanted. Both very poetic :)
 
Pictures of inland Northern Fuerteventura on Shutterstock

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