Blowing The Dust Off Christmas

Flitting around trying to find a clear route, I was like a junkie looking for a decent vein. Deep down I knew my last Tenerife walk of 2016 was penance for liquid over indulgence through christmas but it was a balance I was happy to strike. Barranco de Chijas was hazy in my memory from the first time I did it 10 years ago and I was struggling to find the true path just above Valle San Lorenzo in Arona.

This was going to be a special Christmas Day walk but a midnight downpour trapped me in a bar and delayed my treat. Talking about that crazy weather, strong, swirling winds, and an on off calima (dust blowing over from Africa) had been dogging the last few weeks but it was bright and sunny as I took the 25 minute ride on the 418 Titsa bus from Los Cristianos. The coldest part of the walk was the steep climb up the well signed La Tosca turn from opposite the BBVA bank in the main street of Valle San Lorenzo, if I had kept on straight up I would have been fine, basically keep to the right of the Terrero (Canarian wrestling stadium).

Running water is a big feature of the walk, old concrete channels criss cross the route and several of them were roaring down at a cracking pace to irrigate fields. Low down a series of interconnecting clearings gave me a chance to assess my surroundings. The barranco ravine carved its way upwards, weaving around old deserted houses as my rough earth path worked its way over large bolders. It didn´t look much of a rise but looking back the views opened up down to the hazy calima dusted coast. A modern water pumping station gave way to the much more elegant old viaduct andpigeons and doves surprised me as they fled from bushes at the sound of my crunching feet.

Amazingly some landmarks tweaked my memory despite my long absence, a couple of impresive trees caught my attention as previous sandwich stops. The trees kept a stubborn hold on their exposed hillsides despite a keen but fairly warm wind and time passed quickly. The highest point of the walk is Salto del Chopo but with the wind whipping up and the mornings newspaper warnings of further strong gusts, I decided not to push my luck, and sterted my return trip after just over two hours. Tyre marks in the loose dirt had made me think of scrambles motor bikes but that idea was soon corrected as a helmeted and elbow padded trials cyclist came flying down behind me. I just side stepped out of the way in time and was alert by the time another whizzed by ten minutes later with a cheery wave.

It was a lot easier walking downwards and spotting the correct finishing stretch, it’s imprinted on my little pea brain now so I can sprint out of the traps when I return again soon. Valle San Lorenzo is always a good place to visit as it has a good choice of bars and restaurants and the bus service is frequent with two main services pasing through.