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Gran Canaria    DIARY  2

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                  From Diary 1.
 I head south by the nice high-way, all the way to Arguineguin. On the way, I enjoy the huge Euphorbia canariensis, scatted over some of the ravines. I park right outside Arguineguin marcando, and here, they are almost finish arranging their items.

They don't like photos, as none pay tax, it seems. Here are quite some Africans, and I end up with an extremely long belt, made of African camel leather. Besides from leather belts and bags, here are dresses, art, jewellery, hats, spices, fruits, shoos and flowers. But due to the time, no customers yet.

The beach is right next to the market, but not really interesting. Between beach and town, most of the old sheds are torn down, but some are still inhabitant. 
I follow the cost into the more modern town, which turns out to be a "Little Norway", with half the signs in Norwegian. Here is not really an old town, and I soon head of.

Next site is the Dunas de Maspafomas, a waste but over-walked dune area. This is really tourist-country, and even the areas, lined in for protection, are crossed by footsteps. Here is only a single plant to be found: The Canary Saltbush; Plantago webbii.

Newer the less, I make it to the beach, which is a human highway, with 1000s of overweight, underdressed Scandinavians, aimless walking from one end to the other, of the flat and insinuating line of sand. I find a few beetles and their track on a few unspoiled drifting sand dunes, but head off.

The day is still young, and I find what might be an interesting little road, leading right into the high centre of the island: GC-604. It is really a treat! First, it passes some unspoiled villages, only to meet massive hills of lava rocks. And they are the humble home to several interesting plants, which look so great.

I find one plant, looking like finger-thick white sticks, and it have small red flowers. Or the remains of the fruits, that is, and it looks like Ceropegia fusca. Here are the usual Euphorbia- and Kleinia bushes, loads of Opuntias, and some dry Apocynaceae bushes.

I enjoy the sun and nature, and do many stops to botanize. The more dry hillsides are the home to huge clusters of Euphorbia canariensis, and I find a few plants which I can't place by now. The little cousin-bush with zigzag branches turns out to be an Asteraceae, flowering yellow.

This road mainly runs on the high ridge, and sometimes, I can see another little road, connecting tiny villages, way down in the button of the giant canyon. Here starts to be some real flat plants I can't place, and the Sempervivum arboreaum is really struggling down here.

But the road is gaining height, and around 800 metres, I pass a few nurseries. Then the sealing stops, and for the next twelve kilometres, it is a rather rough gravel road. It seems like they do get some rain here, although it have been some time ago.

It looks like table-mountains, and the views are great. I see a few birds, some grasshoppers and a large locus. At around 1000 meters height, I meet the pines, although rather scatted.

A cave turns out to hold a small pond of fresh water, and way down in the button of the valley, a little blue lake is found. Here are a bit of settlement, but not for long. I reach the end of this narrow but great road, and head for San Bartolome. On the way, I stop at Mirador Degollada, but I have seen way better views today.

I don't find San Bartolome that charming, but nice though. It is a little but old town, and it is kind of too neat to be real charming. I grab a café con leche and a sandwich, while I wait for the sun, but fails.

The next improvised road is GC-600, and it is through rather dry highland, dominated by invasive Agave americana in a long stretch. I pass a few sheep for once, and then do the long trail at Mirador de la Goleta.

It leads through open pine forest to some pointy rocks. The views to the valley are fantastic, although I fail to capture it with my little camera.
The road passes 1700 metres, and the pines forms a proper forest, with a thick carpet of dead needles on the ground.

The peak is more or less barren bedrock, the valleys covered in low clouds. I find a few more "new" plants, then cross over 1900 metres height. On the other side, the clouds are in-between the pines, and I find GC-130 for a fast tour home. That said, it is narrow and winding, and despite the clouds in the heights, I enjoy it. Down at the coast, the sun penetrates the mist, but I call it a day. HIGHLIGHTS

29. I guess I'm a bit too early at the first site; Temisas, and gas the car on the way. The gasoline is only €1,135/l. I find the minor roads fast, and meet some huge slopes, which have been farmed in the past. Endless terraces are now the home for the "usual suspect" plants, but I do some loops, just to be sure - and enjoy the sun.

A few deep ravines crosses the road, and here, the invasive Opuntias have a stronghold. The Agavas are not far behind, and it is impossible to guess how the landscape ought to appear.

I'm still a bit early, and make a long stroll around the nearby observatory. I fail to find the Giant's Cave, but it is a nice area. The area is really dry, except from some small black rocks, soaked in dew. The views are great, the photos just look alike and completely fails to show the amassing nature.

Then I find my way back to Temisas, and it is still completely dead. A single dog sit with its head out a hole in the wall, and I hear some canaries sing. Considering the amount of cats I then meet, I'm sure they are in cages. I had hoped for a café, but here is nothing at all. At least not open by now.

I found some other caves on Google, and give them a try. The entire area is actually dotted with natural caves, found in the volcanic gravel deposit, but some have been used by people and made larger.

A small trail leads up the mountain, and despite the lack of signs, I give it a try. I finally spot one of the "numerous" huge lizards - or at least it's head.
Then I reach the man-made entrance to Cuevas de La Audiencia.

It cuts right through the ridge, and on the other side, a line of caves have windows to the Temisas valley. They have no doors facing it, as they sit way up a vertical rock-wall.

As I saw San Bartolome yesterday, I head for the nearby Santa Lucia today. Mainly to get lunch, but it turns out to be a nice little town. I start with a vegan salad and cafe con leche, then I do most of the steep allies of the little town.

My next target is down in a valley, and I have to make a few stops on the way. This is the most dry area so far, and the Kleinia are without leaves and struggling. But as a new, the ground is covered in a thin layer of yellow grass. I finally find a new plant; a spiny Asparagaceae. I'm not sure it is native though. I have seen a few Asparagus scoparius which are, but this is something else.

The next stop is at a ravine, home to some rush and palms. Then I reach the pointy mountain with Fortaleza de Ansite. A single rudimentary staircase leads to a cave or hole, right through the rock-wall. I try to find my way to the top, but fails.

I get to walk almost the entire way around the huge peak on a tail - or shelf in the vertical rock-wall. Then the shelf disappears on the vertical wall, and as I would hate to return, I eventually find my self on the wall. Real stupid and very dangerous. 200 metres lower, I reach a small trail, and head back to my car.

A farmer have a pond, and and it have attracted a buzzard and a falcon. A bit further up the trail, I see a group of quails. I have heard them several times, but this is the first time, I catch a glimpse.

I cross over a low peak, where the pines are found. Then all the way down to the valley, I saw from the gravel road yesterday. Here, the little cosy Fataga is an oasis. Along the main road, a few cafes are found, further down the valley, the old farmer's cottages.

I see most of them, before I head back home, pretty much the same way I got here this morning. I meet the real congested highway, and find a way faster de-tour in the countryside the last bit.

It seems like the cars are leaving the big city in the morning, and filling it in the evening. People are able to throw their cars everywhere. HIGHLIGHTS
                  Time to open Diary 3.

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