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I hope you are ready for a fairy-tale experience as one might define what you will feel when you enter this recondite and magical territory, following a footpath up Guguy is a real adventure.

Despite the fact that distances in kilometres are not very long, the large height differences make the trip feel tough, so you have to take the journey with calm and caution. There are two main footpaths in Guguy, the first begins very close to the Guguy Interpretation Centre and is the less demanding and better known. The second, which is more demanding, begins in La Aldea.

Vocabulary:

Ignimbrites: They are rocks of volcanic origin which are made up of fragments of rock and vitreous fragments made up of different materials. As they are expelled onto the surface, they generally form thick deposits. Among this kind of rock are phonolites (the name means "sounding stone" and they are easy to distinguish as a result of the peculiar metallic sound which they make when one strikes another), trachytes and rhyolites (the form of which reminds one of granite).

Ravine: Hill, depression or point of less height from which you can pass from one side to the other of a ridge or group of mountains.

This footpath is shorter and less demanding than the one from La Aldea (footpath 2). The route begins on the right-hand side of the ravine at a distance of less than one kilometre from the Guguy Visitors' Centre, in the direction of the beach, where you turn to follow the signs.

The beginning of the route is calm, on a gentle slope which continues to flatten out until you come to the watercourse, where you may see a pool or two depending on the time of the year.

  • distance: 5,1 kilometers (one way)

  • Approximate duration: 3 hours (one way)

  • Maximum height difference: 550 m.

  • Difficulty: Medium - High

To the right, the left, behind you and in front, it is all mountains… - from here on, the slope becomes more pronounced. If you raise your eyes and look right, you can see the lava flows, slipping down like hot chocolate. What a plant that looks like a candelabra! They are the majestic cacti. Considering how slowly they grow, they must be very old. Between its long arms, you can see Periploca angustifolia and other plants, you should not waste such a living fortress.

Then you come to De go llada de Aguasabina, at a height above sea level of 550 m. It is a welcoming spot, the view is beautiful and the Guguy ravine is Big… You have to take a breather. It's time to rest.

From here on, it is all downhill to the beach. The beginning is moist and shady. Lichens cover the walls with colours, oriented towards the North. Some caves, which have been a place of refuge for goatherds and animals since ancient times can be seen from the path.

You continue to go down and get closer to the watercourse. Signs of human occupation become visible with abandoned agricultural terraces, roofless stone houses, ruined water tanks. What a lot of work! And what master-builders in stone!

You arrive at the watercourse and on the other side you see a place where two paths cross, with indications. If you turn right and go up, you could reach Media Luna, a less well travelled path which leads towards La Aldea. However, we go down towards the sea so as to cross a small forest of canes while the water can be heard running to the left. One final slope and you are treading on the beach of Guguy Grande…what a marvel, with its mixture of pebbles and black sand. Crazy!

Along the main road which runs through the borough (GC-200) you get to the beach of La Aldea, the village of El Albercón. Just on the corner of the Neighbourhood association of La Milagrosa, there is the road up to Cuermeja.

At the beginning of the climb, you should take a look at the signs. You continue to go up until almost the end of the road and find the beginning of the footpath on the right-hand side. It is time to make sure your boots are correctly laced and to prepare your walking stick for the climb. The adventure begins!

  • Distance: 10,5 km (one way)

  • Approximate duration: 4 hours

  • Maximum height difference: 710 m

  • Difficulty: High

The beauty and spectacle make you forget the distance which is longer than footpath 1 of Tasartico. You start walking on the flat. To the right, arising out of the small ravine, Orobales and Guaydiles stand out among the vegetation forming an unusual copse. A little later, on your left you will be surprised to see some rocky walls and a beautiful dry cascade where you can imagine seeing the water fall. From here on, the environment becomes more shady and moist. Giant cacti hang from the crags as if trying to get nearer. The path is now all upwards almost as far as Degollada de Peñón Bermejo boxed between the mountains. Much of this part has stones laid to walk on, an indicator that here donkeys, mules and cattle, to the benefit of the inhabitants, used to pass.

At the time of year for flowering, the broad carpet of thistles comes up almost to your waist, making it difficult to pass in some places. The contrast of luxuriance and colour is such that it does not seem to belong here. You have reached the gorge! This is the moment to recover your strength and enjoy the beautiful views. To your right, you can look down on La Aldea in miniature, under your feet, with the ravine of Peñón Bermejo and Vallehermoso behind. And in front, what awaits you?

After a well-earned rest, you take up the path again through a white and toasted landscape. However hard you try to explain, the landscape which opens up before your eyes from Degollada de Guguy Chico, is pure sensation. Such a strong sensation, an indescribable feeling among this sea of steepling mountains.

Once you have got over the surprise, you begin to go down into the ravine. You come to a place where two paths cross and you take the road towards Media Luna, which is the name for the upper part of Guguy Grande, in the skirts of the mountain of Los Hogarzos, or in the direction of Guguy Chico.

A green oasis awaits at the bottom of the ravine. Canarian palm trees, ladies with an elegant bearing, bid you welcome. Running water, the sound of many, many birds, fields of crops and small Canarian houses which can be spotted among the vegetation. It is time to refresh yourself!

 

Then you continue towards Guguy Grande. The path begins to go gently up. If you pay attention, you will see some curious geological formations in the heights. Now the spurges are the dominant life form. They are old, with twisted trunks which are taller than you are, until you reach Degollada del Palo.

Then you start to descend again, because Guguy is like that, now in the direction of the beach. There are sections where the earth is very loose and it is better to go down sideways with a great deal of care. The stone buildings are repeated, houses, sheds, corrals, water tanks, shadows of aged carob and fig trees, and more palm trees. We reach the junction where it is possible to take a turn towards Tasartico, or continue to the beach. From here it is easy to find the sea, the handsome shade of blue can be seen very close.

  • Planning the route properly. You must be certain that your physical condition will allow you to complete the route. Before you start out, you should see the weather forecast for the planned day and time, voiding days with risk. When deciding on your start and planned finish time, you should have sufficient margin so you do not get caught by nightfall, and you should allow yourself sufficient time to enjoy the beach.
  • Access can be had to the beach at Guguy Chico only at low tide. If you want to visit this beach next to Guguy Grande it is necessary to carry out correct planning of tides and times.
  • Inform a person you trust of your route and the expected time of return so that they can sound the alarm if necessary and always go with somebody. You should be aware that there is no mobile cover on the route.
  • Take proper materials for your activity. Clothing and footwear must be suitable for mountain walking, protection from the sun (cap, sunglasses, sun-block cream,…), plenty of water to drink as you go, food, a first-aid set with a thermal blanket… and of course a swimming-costume.
  • During your walk, you should not forget to drink sufficient water and try to keep up a suitable pace. Taking the upward slopes calmly will allow you to advance with greater safety and avoid exhaustion. You have to be very careful not to slip, especially on the steeper descents.
  • This is a unique area which is subject to rules that you have to obey. Every one of us can contribute to its conservation, protection and improvement by taking such measures as not leaving any kind of waste on the way and picking up anything you see, even if it is not yours.  Remember that you are not allowed to take any plant or mineral with you. Let us conserve this treasure so that it can still be enjoyed by future generations.

CONTACTS OF INTEREST

Emergency: 112

Dirección General de Emergencias Gobierno de Canarias: 928117444

La Aldea city council: 928 89 23 05

Local Police: 928 89 00 64

Clinic: 928 11 81 95

Cabildo of Gran Canaria: 928 21 94 91

Taxis La Aldea: 928 89 01 02

La Aldea Tourism Office: 928 89 03 78

turismolaaldea@gmail.com

 

Texts: Guacimara Arbelo, José Luis Echevarría, Limonium Canarias, Astroeduca

Images: CREATÍVICA, Oceanográfica, Isidro Padrón, Arturo Boyra

Maps: Orientación Canarias

Design and video: CREATÍVICA

Interviews: Umberto Rodríguez, Guacimara Arbelo