Our initial hike on La Gomera had been more difficult than expected and we scaled back our ambitions big time for Day Two. If a three hour hike actually took us six, how long would we need for an eight hour hike?! Best not to even find out. Luckily, on this island criss-crossed with paths, there’s always an alternative. And we found a way to explore the Valle Gran Rey which wouldn’t involve (too many) hours of agony.
Of the many, many gorges which are found on La Gomera, Valle Gran Rey is the most popular. It’s wider than most, and slopes down unforgettably through a series of villages until ending at the sea and the island’s best beach.
Instead of a grand loop around the valley, we opted to start in Arure, a town in the highlands of the northwest, then hike over to El Cercado, crossing the gorge at its highest point. From there, it would be an easy descent all the way down to La Calera and the beach.
“Easy descent”… there we go making assumptions again! Turns out, this descent was far from a cakewalk; it was a sharp drop of almost a full kilometer in altitude, putting serious strain on our knees.
But man, was it beautiful. The approach to Cercado, when we crossed the Barranco del Agua at the top of the Valle Gran Rey, offered some of the most spectacular terrain we’ve seen in years. And the valley itself, just completely alive and verdant, with palm trees and wild fields of thick vegetation sprouting up wherever there wasn’t a town… or even where there was.
Our plan had been to check out the beach once we arrived at the bottom of the valley, but the descent took longer than anticipated, and we barely made it in time to catch the bus back up to Arure. That was fine, though… we got a delicious lunch of grilled meat at Casa Conchita, and basked in the afterglow of a second incredible hike.