We arrived in Tenerife early Sunday afternoon, disembarked the ferry on La Gomera later that same day, and checked into our guest house in they tiny village Imada well after nightfall. After a quick meal at the town’s single restaurant, the Arcilia, we went straight to bed. On Monday morning, we’d be confronting our first big hike of the week, and we wanted to be rested.
For our first hike, we wanted something exciting, but not overwhelming. We’re not professional hikers by any means, and figured it would be good to ease ourselves into the practice. That was smart! But what wasn’t smart, was putting blind trust into the difficulty estimations of a book clearly written for enthusiasts much fitter and more practiced than ourselves. Monday’s “medium-easy” hike ruined us, and made us reconsider all the other more-difficult hikes we had laid out for the week.
Three hours and forty minutes, the guide said! Ha! We needed about seven. Of course, it’s mostly our fault — we like to take our time. We stopped frequently for photos, or drone-flying, or a long lunch, perhaps a quick nap, water breaks, etc, you get the picture. We hike to enjoy ourselves, and our book — the genuinely excellent Rother guide to La Gomera — apparently tolerates no dallying.
But at least our seven hours were well spent. The hike started with a long descent from Imada into the gorge which bears its name. La Gomera is basically comprised of a series of rocky, spine-like protrusions, which start in the center of the island and radiate out to the ocean, leaving deep, fertile, trenches where towns such as Imada have sprouted up. The nature was stunning, and I have a feeling that similarly gorgeous walks could be had in any of the island’s almost limitless gorges.
Like I said, though, it was challenging. Because the route was circular, we were well aware that every step downwards would eventually mean a step back up. And for the first three hours, we were only descending, meaning that the bill would eventually arrive. And of course, it did. But although the walk up to the town of Alajeró was steep, it was never distressing; the trails on La Gomera are well-marked and generally accessible; when necessary, you’ll find rocky stairs, or even hand-rails.
We arrived in Imada much later than expected, and after showering, returned to Bar Arcilia — the woman working here would soon get used to seeing us straggle in, every evening more and more disheveled.