Barranco de los Cernícalos, in Gran Canaria, transports you to the most natural and mysterious side of the island.
Pay careful attention, because we are about to enter one of those spots that makes us feel like we are floating around a lost world, but which is actually much nearer than we think. Yes, listen and look very carefully, because each stone, each plant and each chirping of a bird have a story to tell. A walk around Barranco de los Cernícalos, on the southern slopes of Gran Canaria, takes us into the most unspoilt part of the island, and brings us face to face with its most ancestral and wild side.
Mother nature plays around with our senses from the moment we go through the invisible door and into this universe of parallel worlds, revealing both its brilliant and dark sides. Here water sings out in a cristal clear and shrill song as it pours downwards all year round through a narrow channel, the daughter of the large receptor basins for the summit lands of Gran Canaria. There are bells that, instead of ringing out, give off an aroma, in the form of endemic bicácaros plants, with their beautifully languid orange flowers that add just a hint of mystery and delicacy to this area, which is part of the Special Natural Reserve of Los Marteles.
Here you can close your eyes and touch the water as it flows down from the heights of Gran Canaria, in a weeping tale of life and joy, as you enter into the soul of the land for just an instant. Kids may feel the irresistible urge to pick up a fallen stick from the ground and throw it into the running water, imagining that it is a boat floating off to a far off and unknown land. The easiest and most accesible walking route goes on for about three kilometres, but the steady flow of imagination and sensations inside you runs on infinitely down Barranco de los Cernícalos.
About half way along this narrow valley, a population of rather ungainly-looking beings unfolds. They are wild olive trees, an indigenous Canary species which has taken hold at Barranco de los Cernícalos, some of which take on an almost human shape, acknowledging us as we pass by. If they could talk, they would tell us how in ancient times their prodigious wood was used to make farming and domestic tools, and even weapons, taking advantage of the fact it could burn despite still being green. Indeed, it used to be said that “no wood can stand up to the wild olive tree”. So now you know...
This sonorous footpath crosses hillsides packed with white broom, tabaiba and trebolina plants, and leads straight to waterfalls and cascades, another of the great attractions of this newly discovered world, a world which is also inhabited by unique bird species such as canaries, wagtails, blue tits, goldfinches, hoods, crows, calandra larks, mosquito birds, swifts, and, naturally, the tiny falcon the gives the ravine its name, cernícalo, meaning kestrel, who looks over and silences all that go before it.
The pathway alongside the brook spawns several open spaces for both resting and getting your strength back while mientras. You must now be close to the first of the little waterfalls. The sound of water cascading off rocks and into the pool below will envelop you and will provide the sound track to a memory that will be as unbreakable as the branch of a wild olive tree.