With all Senses – Pleasant Hike in the Cubo de La Galga

1 April 2015

Laurel Forest

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Among all different routes through the impressive laurel forest in the island's north-western area of Puntallana, we choose the well marked „sendero auto-guiado“.

We follow the trail and pass the environmental sensitive area of the Las Nieves Natural Park.

Numbered stopping points remind us to watch out for special characteristics. First, we take the paved uphill forest road (PR-LP 5.1).

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Humans left behind their footprints.

Fruit trees, sweet gales and tree heathers are an evidence of former agricultural and forestry use.

About 15 minutes later the paved road changes to a nature track. The forest becomes more dense and rock formations rise up steeply.

On the Outskirts of the Wood, at point No.2, you hit upon a magnificent „barbusano“

cubo-de-la-galga-puntallana-la-palmaThis tree species is also called Canary ebony.

The excellent wood was used to build furniture as well as for making lances of goat shepherds.

The valley gradually becomes more narrow and more interesting - on both sides steep rock faces rise up into the sky.

Again and again, our directions stress out special trees like the hardwood Marmolán or the Viñatigo with its "thousand children".

Further up, we walk through a water channel and plunge deeper and deeper into the laurel forest.

The air is humid, and it is pleasant and cool there, even in summer. 

The giant ferns with their long fronds form a lush understory. It is worth to take a moment to stop and hark.

The ripple of the water blends with the cries of the birds.

 

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paloma-taube-los-tilos-doveThis forest is also home to the rare dove species, the Bolle's pigeon. Its cry can be easily identified, it sounds like a raspy "U". 

We almost reach the reversal point of the circular trail and see "tiles"  climbing up towards the light. The stinkwood, whose name is derived from the unpleasant smell of the freshly cut wood, plays the leading role in the laurel forest.

From there we enjoy an easy downhill hike back to the parking lot. 

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However, keep your eyes, ears and nose open in this very special habitat.

Directions, also in German, are available in the information booth, located right at the parking lot "Cubo de La Galga". With proper clothing, a snack, drinking water and usual caution this tour is an easy-going hike and fun for the children, too.

Photo of information booth: courtesy of pirineos3000.com

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