La Palma, the North

We spent two lovely weeks hiking on the island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands and also known as “la isla verde”. We arrived just in time for the almond blossom and it was more magnificent than I had imagined. The trees grow wild and the white, light pink and dark pink blossoms cover the hills, can be found in gorges, in gardens and alongside the road. This time of year, clouds and fog are inevitable but they are the reason why the northern part of the island is so green and lush. Still, we were blessed with beautiful weather through out our trip.

We explored the country side, walking and hiking as much as we could and found many beautiful places. Flowers bloomed everywhere, and trees were heavy with oranges, avocados, bananas and papayas.

Our home for the week was in the northwest, just below the village of Puntagorda. From there we had a lovely view of the ocean and the sunsets.

From the Roque de los Muchachos, which feels like the top of the world, there is an amazing view down into the crater and over the whole island. On clear days you can see the neighboring islands of Tenerife, Gomera and El Hierro. La Palma is known for it’s clear night skies and many countries have set up their telescopes to explore the stars. We hiked from the Roque down to Somada Alta which took us along the rim of the crater giving us wonderful views and leading us first through maquis and then to pine forests. My geologist friends and colleagues would have been having a field day!

The island is also called “Isla Verde”, because of its pines. It was strange for me to see such green trees amongst such dry surroundings, as we almost never crossed a river (any water disappears immediately into pipes). The pine needles covering the ground were almost white in some places due to the sun and lack of water.

The sea is rough in the winter, but that makes for more exciting wave pictures, and I’m sure you can imagine that we took more then enough to catch the perfect wave!

One day, in search of a place for lunch, we drove through more blooming trees and past old windmills before finding a pretty place tucked away in a small village. Turns out, it was a very popular place and we were lucky we were able to grab the last two seats before sitting down to a most delicious lunch.

Our last hike in the green north was to two springs. We walked up through dry river beds, listening for the rush of water. We were sure we wouldn’t see them since we hadn’t seen any running water during the past days. But see water we did and we were so excited we were practically dancing! The hike then took us through 13 tunnels (from 14 to 400 m in length) right next to the canal.

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