This week we continue Pedro’s story about hiking in La Gomera. If you didn’t catch Part 1 you can read it here.
The next stage connected Vallehermoso at around 200m of height to Chipude at 1000m of height. I knew it was going to be tough just by looking at the altimetry graph but there were also great prizes on the way. The sky was partly cloudy in the valley producing a mix of contrasts on the hills.
Going up, the forest gets slowly deeper, not allowing one to see how high the path would go.
Micro Climates of La Gomera
At some point, the path follows the edge of a crest, on one side dried bushy hills, on the other rain laurel forest.
I can’t stop being amazed at how two completely different environments can be so close.
By 1000 meters of height the forest is dark, and it rains from the top of the trees as the humid air blows through it. On the way I saw a sign – Mirador Risquillos do Corgo – I’ve seen some pictures of this viewpoint and I wanted to see for myself. When I got there, I couldn’t believe what was before my eyes.
This must be the best viewpoint on the island, the views are so wide that we can see from the green mountains to the desert hills facing the ocean. The day was not over yet, a few km later, the path leaves the forest and starts going down opening to a deep valley. The path keeps going into it, revealing the valley steeper and steeper with every step. It must be a drop of at least 800m from top to bottom. It’s hard to express how impressive that is.
Chipude La Gomera
Chipude stays just after the valley on a high hill from where we can see the ocean despite being quite inland. Being a small settlement, a dinner in the hotel’s restaurant was the obvious choice. There was a strange name on the menu – Almogrote – it turns out it is a spicy cheese pate and one of the best things I tried on the island. And for main course, guess what, potatoes and the two mojos were on the table again to go with a well-served tasty tender chicken with sauce.
Just as I was going to sleep, I looked at the sky from the balcony and saw a very starry sky, the best one I have ever had. One can clearly see the shape of the Milky Way crossing the whole sky.
The last day of walking would take me to the top of the island, although the walk didn’t present many difficulties since the path only climbs from 1000m to just below 1500m.
A transfer brings me to Laguna Grande in the higher part and the heart of the island. Laguna Grande is a big Circular opening in the forest and an important place for the Guanches, the people who were on the island before the Spanish arrived.
Just before heading to the top, a guard from the park said that it would be foggy at the top, so my expectations lowered a little. Anyway, by going higher and higher the sky slowly turned from grey to blue and at the top, it couldn’t be more clear.
The Laurel Forests of La Gomera
The views are stunning and it’s possible to see the clouds brought by the trade winds covering the north of the island and the yellow south side having a normal sunnier day.
As the path follows down on the south slope, the laurel forest gives way to pine-trees and a much dustier path. In some stretches, the route is on the edge of a narrow path.
I just found out I have some degree of vertigo that far from home in a valley, called Barranco de Erque, another one resembling Valley Gran Rey, except this one had La Fortaleza, a huge rock formation looking like a fortress, guarding the valley.
It didn’t take long to be back in Chipude where Juan, the taxi driver was waiting for me to bring me to San Sebastián. Back in San Sebastián, this time with more time and to stay for the night.
Relaxation after hiking La Gomera
The stay in San Sebastián would be in Parador de La Gomera. A very nice hotel, in a colonial building with a very beautiful garden and views over San Sebastián town and beach. Before dinner, there was time for a quick bath in Canarian Waters.
Despite the black sand of the beach, the setting of the cove where it is located and the comfortable temperature of the water combined perfectly with the sun setting in the mountains behind. It is a great way to finish a trip where one can see a great part of the world in just a small island in the Atlantic.