Author Topic: GR131 La Palma, part two  (Read 197 times)

gunwharfman

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GR131 La Palma, part two
« on: 19:23:09, 12/01/20 »
3 full days in La Palma
 I hope the following information is helpful to anyone else who might contemplate the same hike.

Prior to going I had sustained a right lower leg difficulty whilst running off-road which was a singular sharp shooting pain in my lower rear leg muscle back if I tried to walk at my normal speed and a secondary ache in the same area when my feet flexed as I walked. I worked at ice packs and rest and by the time I left, I could just feel a dull ache.

I arrived in La Palma at about 13.00hrs and jumped onto the 500 bus into Santa Cruz, then onto the 300 to Los Lanos, easy! I shopped for food and water to last three days and then walked to the little resort of Puerto de Tazacorte, the GR131 starting point.
 
As is my routine, the first thing I do whilst daylight is to decide where to sleep for the night. At its beginning by the beach the route goes up as a zig-zag stony path. I did about three zig-zags and saw a small flat belvedere, this was my place so I then I returned to the port, I had a wander around and then decided on a meal and wine. By now it was dark, warm, no wind, a cloudless sky and a large moon. When finished, with a torch at the ready I walked off to my ‘bedroom.’





gunwharfman

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #1 on: 19:29:28, 12/01/20 »
No problem, it was moonlight ‘daylight’ so I set up camp and slept soundly. The next morning I set off and I can confirm it was up, up, up, and relentlessly STEEPLY UP! My rucksack was heavy, 5L of water, I needed all of it! My right leg soon started to really hurt so I compensated most of my lifting effort into my left leg and used my Pacerpoles to take the weight off my right leg.



I continued to walk up and up until I came to a Cafe, the Mirabel on a bend in the road that I had to cross. Really great coffee, cake and the views from the sunny terrace were stunning. I then hiked up and up for hours and eventually near to dusk nearly the end of the tree line (so I thought)  I was so exhausted I just had to stop. I found a patch of flat earth covered in pine needles, organised myself to sleep and did so until about 3 am. No wind, a big moon, unbelievable starry sky and very warm as well. Not a sound either.

gunwharfman

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #2 on: 19:33:22, 12/01/20 »
The next morning I plodded on believing I was near to the summit, but I wasn’t. I set off at 7 am and arrived at the top of the volcano at 14.30hrs. One and a half days to walk 16kms, it was that steep and demanding! It was still sunny but by now it was very windy and bitterly cold! I stayed on the summit with all of the tourists who had driven there in their hire cars for about an hour and then started off again on the next section of the GR131.
 
Because I was on the rim of an extinct volcano, the views were giddying and spectacular, the landscape was very rocky, jagged, dusty and with lots of steep up and downs all along the route and the effort of walking and carrying my heavy load was totally exhausting.
The sun started to go down so I knew that I needed to find a 3rd camp area, so I hurried along as best I could to the tree area some way down in the distance. I needed to be out of the wind and to find a flat area to sleep, an impossibility in the jagged landscape that the route forced me to take to get to them.



I crossed a road into a ‘picnic type’ area, no facilities, just trees and pine needles on the floor, to me a very desirable place! I decided to sit by the edge of the road on a very convenient flat boulder to nurse my leg before sorting out my sleeping arrangements. A few minutes later a German voice shouted to me from a Citroen car. I said I’m English so he called out to me in English, “do you want a lift to Santa Cruz?” It was an instant decision making time, spend the night in the trees and have more leg pain tomorrow or to go down the mountain to the town, (28kms away) to beer, wine food and other comforts. An easy decision to make, I accepted his offer and e dropped me at the Tourist Information office in the centre of town near the beach. Thirty minutes later and I was booked into a 36 euros a night hotel, good value!

gunwharfman

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #3 on: 19:41:51, 12/01/20 »
I had a shower, went for a meal and later slept like a log!

The next morning my leg was still hurting and the two ligaments behind my right knee felt bruised and painful as well. I was no longer limping I was now hobbling! I decided to book a second night in the hotel and then spent the day touring the island on the bus instead, great fun! The next day I flew home.



Last year I hiked across the centre of Gran Canaria, so as a choice which for me was better? Gran Canaria it is and for three main reasons, the hike is still steep and volcanic but en route, I walked through three attractive villages with cafes, bars, etc, whereas the La Palma route has none.

I also found that the La Palma route, although spectacular was also just a test of personal strength, stamina and the ability to hike up a really steep trail, a trail for the macho hikers! The route across Gran Canaria was much more interesting and varied, so if you are ever tempted to go, go there.

gunwharfman

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #4 on: 19:43:06, 12/01/20 »
Sorry to have made such a mess of my entry, I'll try to sort out my knowledge of how to do it properly some time.

pdstsp

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #5 on: 08:24:42, 13/01/20 »
Thanks for posting GWM - sounds a tough jaunt.

jimbob

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #6 on: 09:24:32, 13/01/20 »
How is your leg?
Too little, too late, too bad......

gunwharfman

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #7 on: 09:49:12, 13/01/20 »
My right lower leg just aches and just feels like a knot in the back of my muscle. When I just walk on my heel it is OK, but I look and feel ungainly, but when I try to walk flexing my toes as normal then it feels like a muscle on my calf has contracted and is just stuck, all it needs to do is lengthen again and all will be fine. Our staircase is my test of how I feel, going upstairs is easier than going downstairs, its all to do with the muscles I'm using I think. The pain/bruising to the two ligaments behind my knee seems to have repaired themselves, they are OK this morning. I'm going to get some physio advice this week.

I started off in La Palma with an ache but I think the acute steep and forever upwards steep that I experienced last Wednesday just made the problem worse. The boring thing about all this is that a permanent repair takes so long!

jimbob

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #8 on: 10:17:34, 13/01/20 »
Time as they say is a great healer, but only if you don't exacerbate the underlying problem, which it seems you may have done.
I think you might just need to let some moths loose from your wallet and visit a properly qualified physiotherapist for some proper diagnosis and advice.

When I say qualified I don't mean three weeks at a naturatherapy/massage school, I mean the full 7 year training and experience. Fell for that once, I reckon my Plantar was made worse by someone who didn't actually know how to spell it, as it turned out. Two years in pain, as a result. Went to a properly trained chiropodist who spotted the problem without me telling them, when they were working on my feet, result, out of pain in 3 months.


Too little, too late, too bad......

gunwharfman

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Re: GR131 La Palma, part two
« Reply #9 on: 11:33:48, 13/01/20 »
Thanks for the advice, I know that sometimes I am my own worst enemy, sitting around twiddling my thumbs is very difficult for me to achieve, but I'm confident that whoever I visit it will suggest rest and ice, or rest and heat, plus a few extras. This is my third bout of leg issues in the past 3-4 years, both the same, left knee to hip aches, both took time to heal but have not caused any problems since now it's my right leg!

When I was in La Palma I wore my Salomon X Ultra boots, absolutely perfect, not a twinge, not a red spot, not a blister, only the feeling of being super comfortable and no problems with my feet even knowing that I was carrying extra weight (water) in my rucksack. I had my Sorbothane inserts in at all times and at one point when the ground under me was just a mass of steep shifting sand, gravel and moving rocks I inserted the original Salomon inserts on top of them which ensured my feet were really gripped tightly as I struggled upwards and onwards. Once on the top of the volcano, I took them out again to resume normal comfort.

I also found that my £2.99 Decathlon wrap around clear glasses were really useful, on the top of the volcano, the wind was whipping up a lot of sand into the air and they really stopped the grains getting into my eyes.

I nearly didn't take my Pacerpoles but I'm glad I did, really great for helping to heave my body and rucksack weight up over bigger steps and boulders. The beauty of them is that they are designed to help you use your arms to PUSH down on, rather than the other models which rely on PULLING one's self up. Going down is even a more natural position, my body and rucksack weight is distributed through my arms onto the full spread of my hands. If I had to use my other poles in a similar way I would have had to rely on a circular area about the size of an old penny pushing into my palms to take the weight which can becomes very sore after a while.