Treking on the GR131 El Baston - final section!

Who would have thought it - we finally finished walking the GR131 La Palma El Baston route in its entirety!  Or trekking the GR131 should I say? It's certainly not your average walk at over 70km along mountainous terrain all the way from sea level in the south up to 2426m in the mid-north of the island and back down to sea level in the west.
Roque de Muchachos at 2426m asl on a non-walking day!
 Yes, it's been a pretty elusive goal and if it wasn't already, we've certainly made it so. But with the tiny bit between Pico de La Cruz and Mirador Los Andenes completed, we can finally tick the GR131 off our list.
The GR131 is the red line going up the middle and hooks round to the mid-west. 
So here's a summary of the long distance trekking route, GR131 El Baston.
The route can be walked in either direction by starting at the extreme south below Los Canarios or at the Puerto de Tazacorte in the west. But whichever way you look at it, the sections tend to be divided:
1. El Faro (lighthouse) of Los Canarios/Fuencaliente to the Zona Recreativa de El Pilar
2. El Pilar to Roque de Muchachos
3. Roque de Muchachos to Puerto de Tazacorte
The Volcano Route
The middle section is 28km (see more on distances below) so it's a bit long for a day's hike and a bit short for two.
The logistics are not completely easy as along the whole route, there is nowhere to buy food or drink and no accommodation apart from the un-manned Refugio de Los Roques (which is between El Pilar and Roque de Muchachos). However, there is drinking water at El Pilar campsite along with toilets and showers, plus BBQ facilities. There is rain water at Refugio de los Roques (but you must use sterilizing tables). Normally there is water at the Roque de Muchachos but the tap can be frozen in winter.
El Pilar - ready for any weather and an overnight stop at the Refugio Los Roques
For those who like the facts and figures, here they are:
23.63km  - Los Canarios to Refugio El Pilar (the Volcano Route)
28.1km  - Refugio El Pilar to Roque de Muchachos
17.9km  - Roque de Muchachos to Puerto de Tazacorte
Reventon Pass - this is your get-out clause down to either el Paso or Santa Cruz
And some sub-distances within the above:
7.2km    - Faro de Fuencaliente to Los Canarios
18.4km  - Refugio El Pilar to Pico de la Nieve
7 km      - Refugio El Pilar to Reventon Pass
9.7km     - Pico de la Nieve to Roque de Muchachos
4.9km     - Pico de la Cruz to Roque de Muchachos
10.7km   - Roque de Muchachos to Torre del Time
3.5 km    - Mirador el Time to Puerto de Tazacorte
(I can't claim that the distances are 100% accurate as the data is taken from the walking signs)
Dawn at Refugio Punta de los Roques
(I've just got to go back there!)
On accommodation, El Pilar campsite is manned by wardens during the day. Theoretically you need a permit to stay there and this is where you apply.  If you don't have a permit the wardens certainly need your details.
You don't need a permit for the Refugio de los Roques and it is never locked. It has a great system  of entry with an inner and outer heavy metal door. This means that the wind can't blow the door open so it is not full of leaves and dust and forest animals can't enter either. But you will need a sleeping bag and preferably a ground pad/yoga mat. See our previous post
January 2015 near Pico de la Cruz - it can be cold even when sunny!
Pico de la Cruz (not the most beautiful landmark ...)
Don't be fooled into thinking there are many 'flat' sections - there aren't! But of course the views are spectacular. You can find more information on distances and ascents/descents at the La Palma walking website: 
Information board at Mirador Los Andenes
Which section has been my favourite I hear you ask. Without having to think about that hardly at all, I would say from the Reventon Pass to Pico de la Cruz, the reason being is that it is the most inaccessible and least walked. It gives the sensation that you are walking in some place far, far away from civilization, somewhere really special. Well, you are.
The highlight, or one of them at least, is reaching the Refugio de los Roques. I might be over-exaggerating but it's the Trip Advisor camping equivalent  of a Parador (elite Spanish accommodation) in that you can only get there if you've walked the walk. And we did.
Sleeping platforms at Refugio de los Roques
It's been a hard day's night
For accommodation at the Puerto de Tazacorte where the GR131 begins/ends, take a look at our main website, Holiday La Palma

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