Our week on La Gomera had flown by, and the final hike was upon us. At least we wouldn’t have to go far … our chosen route led directly past our cabin at the Casa del Chorro, up to the Mirador Abrante, and over the mountains to Agulo. Had we saved the best for last? Let’s find out!
Sadly, the weather today was much the same as what we had experienced while hiking around Vallehermoso: a heavy layer of cloud obscuring everything from view. This hike normally begins in Agulo, but we started at our cabin, which was already in the mist… so the first couple hours were unspectacular. Except for a Mars-like landscape of deep red soil just past the Mirador Abrante, there wasn’t much to see, and we made swift progress along the trail.
Of course, the experience would have been better with views, and with more time on La Gomera, we might have waited for another day. But even a hike through the clouds is better than no hike at all. No other activity puts me in such good spirits… I’m never more content than when outdoors, midway through a demanding hike. Once you fall into a rhythm, allowing your mind to let go of the normal life-stress, and you’re just plodding along, inhaling fresh air, hiking can become meditative. Even rejuvenating.
Although our final hike didn’t start with ideal conditions, it did improve once we descended to Agulo. This tightly-packed nucleus of buildings might be the cutest town on La Gomera, and our trail led us straight through its streets, past the stunning Iglesia de San Marcos, and toward what looked to be a straight, vertical wall cutting Agulo off from the island’s interior. I checked and double-checked the map; yep, our trail seemed to go straight up that wall, without any deviation.
It wasn’t until we were standing immediately below the immense shadow that we could finally spot the trail. This starts as a flight of steps carved into the rock, so steep and straight that it might as well be a ladder. Intimidating, but as we began the ascent, we realized that it wasn’t all that difficult. Trails on La Gomera are as practical as possible; these are paths which people had been using for non-recreational purposes, many, many centuries before the advent of cars and roads.
The stairs weren’t easy, of course, but neither were they overwhelming, and we took frequent breaks which gave us plenty of time to look back over Agulo and the Atlantic. This section of the path was my favorite of the day, and one of the overall highlights of the entire week. This was a perfect way to conclude our hiking adventure on La Gomera. Once we finally got to the top, we felt accomplished and content… and also completely done with hiking for awhile.
Well, at least for a week… Tenerife has some amazing trails, too, and I don’t know how long we’ll be able to hold out.