Nooks Crannies Birds Billy´s And Nanny´s In Ifonche

So there I was, surrounded by wild goats, miles from home, and with a thorn the size of an Esther Rantzen tooth pick stuck in my big toe. Well maybe things weren´that bad, the goats on the mountains of Ifonche looked friendly and were more put off by me, I had home, or at least my Arona start point, in sight, and as for the annoying prick, he pulled the pathetically small thorn out of his toe and carried on walking with no problem.

It was great to rediscover a walk I had neglected for too long, the 1.25 euro Bono ticket bus fare was a bargain and the weather was sunny and very warm as I headed out from church plaza in Arona old town. Following the signs for a regular trek of mine, Roque del Conde, the first mini barranco (ravine) brought me up to a sign pointing the opposite way from the table top mountain and I began skirting the edge of Barranco Grande. Recent rain had left a little give in the ground but the trail was stilla bit erratic to follow, a couple of old partly fallen houses provided a good aim point ahead.

As the barranco deepened so did the amazing shapes and patterns fashioned by nature over the centuries. Taking a water break sat on a rock I could hear melodic bird song and see squadrons of pigeons riding the air currents below. Another smaller barranco to my other side started converging so although there was a choice of paths I was being funnelled into the correct direction. Up in the distance the pine forest around Vilaflor was another indicator that I was on track. The old concrete water channels were empty and I soon came across the modern iron pipes that now do their work. A white and green house on the ridge ahead told me I was getting near the peak of my walk and soon the orange tinged path passed breeze block huts and a couple of tastefully renovated old houses.
A familiar soft clucking noise drew me to a gravel covered area surrounded by small ferns and I spotted a Barbary Partridge, I´ve seen a few in the Arona area and at Masca. This posh collared bird is one of my favourites and it gladdens me to see it looking so well. A few steps further in a clearing was the El Refugio, a delightful restaurant with a decorative garden and informal terrace. I was glad of a cold drink but stopped short of a meal as I hadn´t even started my sarnies and although the chicken sounded nice I kept thinking of my little plump friend a short distance away. This Ifonche hostelry has parking and rent out rooms for rural tourism, check the website for more details.

It must have been nearly 10 years since I last walked this route and my memory was sketchy but just past the restaurant was a sign down through a terraced bowl formerly fed by a dried up spring. A light bulb went on in my brain as memories flooded back of an Arona council guided walk down and back out the other side up to another old shell of a house, now I knew exactly where I was going. Beyond that other house was an old threshing circle looking out over a sheer drop, it´s used these days as a take off point for paragliders. To the right was Ladera de la Montaña Los Brezos, a high tapered peak with a precarious pathway to the top, I reckon a good hour plus up and down – maybe another time. To the left was Roque Imoque with a path spiralling down with a wooden bannister to begin the first tight corner.

That was my cue to head homeward, admiring the unfolding sea views as I descended. As the path curled down I could see the rear side of Roque del Conde, the lower slopes terraced for crop growing, they waste nothing no mater how tough the challenge. The tell tale jingle of bells alerted me to the goats roaming around ahead of me, once I realised they weren´t going to mistake me for a small crunchy snack I felt a lot easier. The path ahead was becoming much clearer and I could see familiar signs. Just a quick down and up through Barranco Grande and I was heading into the Arona plaza again. The 6.4 kms each way walk took me a casual 4 hours and left me glowing not just from the sun but also from a fabulous infusion of sights and sounds