CHEESE ROUTE - PART 4
MONTAÑÓN NEGRO (BIG BLACK MOUNTAIN):
With a surface of 193’6 hectares and located in the Massif Central, it is a geological structure formed by the recent volcanic activity on the island. Named after the large amount of volcanic picón that covers it, it includes both volcanic cones in Caldera de los Pinos (Pine Trees Caldera) and Montañón Negro itself. The Big Black Mountain erupted 3075 years ago, which has been the most recent eruption on the island. Such eruption covered all the area with a mantle of picón and piroclastos, where years later a vegetation of pine trees and broom grew and we can still see it today.
PINOS DE GÁLDAR (GÁLDAR PINE TREES):
The Gáldar Pine Trees have witnessed the dismantling of the forest, whose wood was used to ennoble the magnificent Canarian coffered ceilings and balconies. They have also seen rural depopulation, reforestation campaigns, the island’s green areas growing back again, and finally, their own downfall and extinction. In 1962 up to 19 centennial pine trees were registered in a perfect shape, whereas nowadays there are only a few left. Their size oscillates between 15 and 25 meters high with several thick variegated branch levels, 6 and 7’75 metres in perimeter trunks, 2 and 2’5 metres-wide and over 20 and 25 metres-wide tree tops. They are proper giant bonsais that could perfectly suit in Wonderland.
MONTAÑA ALTA (HIGH MOUNTAIN):
It lies at a height of 950 metres above the sea level and at its foot rises the village that took in its name both denominations, shown in some antique document recordings.Traditionally, those living in los Altos know it by Piedra de Molino (millstone), whereas those on the coastal side of the town call it Montaña Alta, which is their referent from below. Los Altos de Guía (Guía Heights), which was firstly part of the mythical wooded Doramas Mountain, was rather late populated also because of the slow land reforestation, which determined the settlement in this village in the late XVIIIth and early XIXth centuries. However, a small farm economy was not enough and its inhabitants went through latent poverty, which set their dependance on the jobs offered in the lowlands thanks to the sugarcane development, and later, the banana tree and tomato crops. The Altos inhabitants found then better economic conditions, which led to such a migration that the traditional farming society collapsed between the sixties and seventies in the last century, leaving a quieter, calmer way of life behind. After San José de la Montaña’s church was built, the neighbourhood was finally consolidated as a population centre that meets its inhabitants’ expectations and has become the trade center for the villages in its surroundings.
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