Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cruz de Tejeda — Teror walk

So far Cruz de Tejeda is my favourite place to go on Gran Canaria. Somehow, even when the weather is terrible elsewhere, it changes by some miracle once I am on the pass, and there are views to die for in all directions. Only once did I catch the pass itself in clouds, but they were shifting and parting all the time, allowing the views down into the caldera, all the way to Teide on Tenerife and to the Gran Roques  - Nublo and Bentayga.

This time was no exception - it was terribly gloomy when I was in San Mateo, but some sun started to emerge as we were moving up and was very much there on the pass itself. Usually I turn my back to The Parador Hotel and strike somewhere due south, but this time I decided to try a route down and north-east, to Teror. There are plenty of pointers for various walks at Cruz de Tejeda, and the walks tend to branch off and then merge. But the walk to Teror at least starts as one path, so there is no confusion there; that came later.

The walk starts at the corner of Parador Hotel's car park, and there are a description and pointers. It goes rather sharply upwards at first, but that is almost all the "up" that you have to do, except for some minor uphill points close to Valleseco. Turning and having a look back gives you a beautiful view towards Morro de Armonia; on a clearer day Roque Nublo would be visible too. Next time I stay the night at the Cruz I will head over there for car trail shots. Admittedly, there aren't many cars (drivers here being fatalistic, but not suicidal), but the loops of the roads are spectacular.

After the initial climb I crossed a minor road and there was the place where the path to Teror starts to branch. I took the one that goes downhill into the Canarian Pine (Pinus canariensis) woods, and that's where I hit the only really tricky bit. It rained quite a bit over a few days before my walk, and a section of the path had one long muddy patch, with a small stream of water coming down the mountains along it. It was really slippery. I stayed upright and even reasonably clean except for my shoes, but it was really just luck.

The valley into which I was descending was filled with clouds (or fog, or what have you - I am never sure where one thing ends and another begins). There were supposedly some viewpoints along the way, but I couldn't see much, except for the pine forest itself. With the long-needled pines and dead rusty bracken on the forest floor it looks surprisingly northern.

Except when you look closely; you see that there are some plants that are not northern at all, like the sempervivums on the photo below. Are they cute or what? I have no garden now, but one day I will have one here and then I will fill it with local flora. There is so much to choose from.

I must note that the path is not that well marked, so look out for any signs - sometimes, just a bit of elderly yellow paint on a rock. The path is not very confusing at this stage anyway.

As I came to where the path intersects with a minor road at Cuevas de Gorcho it started to get foggy, and the lichen on the trees was getting longer and longer.  It was the spookiest and yet the most magical part of the whole walk. Really good place to shoot a horror movie. There was no wind, and somehow the fog worked as a huge soundproof blanket - all I could hear was myself and, occasionally, a dog barking somewhere in the distance - a sound practically inevitable on Gran Canaria.

The path leads to Lanzarote, then along the streets above the main part of Valleseco, and then it branches again. I took the path which led up, in the hope of having a view of some sort. I didn't get the view; but I did find another eerily beautiful sight - eucalyptus forest in the fog.

As you can see, the path is very obvious here and is a minor road really, although of the type I would hate to drive - steep, muddy and with plenty of turns.

Drooping spikes of budding Chasmanthe aethiopica looked beautiful; later I found the species is apparently invasive in Canarias. Don't know if they are aggressively invasive - i.e. give a push to some native flora, or just take over where nothing else can grow. It is not easy to get through a thick layer of dry, leathery eucalyptus leaves.

I came to an intersection with a bigger road at Mirador Balcon de Zamora. Once again, no view, and it was here that I somehow managed to lose the path. Not to worry, though - those are well-inhabited places, you can always ask somebody, or consult your navigation app, if you have one (I don't), or just fumble your way through generally. I did the latter and found myself at "La Laguna" area just above Teror - from there it was easy, as the fog was not so heavy and I could see where I was going.

Nice walk, I recommend it. If you have a choice, go when it's not so wet and maybe a little bit warmer. I think it was meant to be about 13 km, and three and a half hours. I covered quite a bit more than 13 km due to getting lost, and it took just under four hours.

I dislike the new look of "my places" in googlemaps, they are not easy at all, especially for editing, so it is a very crude idea of where I went (or at least where I think I went).

Inland Gran Canaria pics on shutterstock - here

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