La Palma is rugged.
One of the finest astronomical sites on Earth hides serenely above those clouds.
The people of La Palma are proud of their astronomical connection — here’s a signpost from a roadside viewpoint:
There are about 20 large telescopes on the top of the North Peak.
On September 19, 2021, a major volcanic eruption took place on La Palma. Lava flows wiped out a relatively small part of the island, but our guide told us ash falls covered a large area — “like very fine black flour”. We didn’t see any sign of the ash seven months later. The eruption wasn’t a severe problem for the large telescopes, though a couple of instruments were affected.
La Palma is also very green.
It’s a short hike to the waterfall up ahead:
Note the green metal railings, the rectangular cave mouth, and the concrete structures going back further up the canyon– this is a developed park, not a wilderness area. The canyons are deep and rugged but still modified by human occupation.
This canyon has been developed as a source of fresh water but retains a wild scenic character — a mix of community park, water project, and wilderness area. Further down the trail was an open rectangular water tank, 10′ x 10′ x 6′ deep, with the same damp old concrete.
Down the canyon, the almost vertical walls were terraced.
(The picture is misleading. It’s perhaps a hundred feet from the flowers in the foreground to the trees across the canyon; the canyon floor is a hundred feet below.)
A mile or so further, the canyon widens, and the terraces are well-tended:
Well, there was more, but this post is too long already. La Palma was my favorite of our stops. It is unlikely we will ever be there again, but if I had another life, I would like to spend more time there.