THE SUMMIT OF GRAN CANARIA ROUTE - PART 2
This is such an important area in Gran Canaria because of its strategic central location, which made it a crossroads to link the towns in the southeast and the ones in the northern-centre of the island. It was used by lumberjacks, coalmen and pilgrims, who used to transport the pine forest products on the backs of their animals: trunks to make beams and structures, firebrand wood (much appreciated for its characteristics), coal (the main energy source), pitch (used to caulk, among other things), pine needles…
As we get closer to the summit, we can see places that were named after the forest usage professions, such as Degollada de los Hornos (Furnaces Pass) and Llanos de la Pez (Pitch Plains). Pitch was extracted from the firebrand wood in the furnaces and was used to caulk the joints of the boat hulls and other wooden structures.
Between the XVI and XVII Centuries a widespread tree felling took place in Gran Canaria, which led to total deforestation in the island summit. The pine forest we can nowadays enjoy is the fruit of the Cabildo’s decisive action (local government), which from 1957 has continuously reforested the Massif Centreal with pine trees and sometimes fruit trees, such as chestnut, apple and pear trees.
It is a 220 ft. high and 115 ft. wide monolith that was originated during the second cycle of the three ones that formed the island between 5,3 and 3,4 million years ago. Its peculiar shape is due to erosive processes. Although there are no archeological sites around it, it is believed to have been used by aborigines as a farming or cultural calendar. It has also been an emblematic rock for climbers and mountaineers since in 1932 three german climbers, who used to work at the island harbour (Puerto de La Luz), climbed it for the first time.
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