Friday, 30 September 2011

Walking in the Teno Mountains

I have been busy guiding recently and as I sat having a post walk drink and chat with one of the walkers, I realised that one of the things that gives me most pleasure when showing people around this wonderful island is their reaction to some of the stunning scenery.

Masca from the summit of Pico Verde
This was brought home to me particularly this week as I led a walk in the Teno Mountains on a route above Masca. I have walked this route many times in the past and although I never tire of the superb views into the Masca Valley, it was nice to have my eyes 're-opened' by the reactions of those seeing them for the first time.

The Teno Mountains
Upon reaching the vertiginous summit of Pico Verde, we enjoyed spectacular aerial views down to Masca hundreds of feet below, while a strong wind made us ever mindful of the narrow ridge we were perched on. Later, we climbed to the summit of Pico de Gala, which is a much more sedate affair as an access road leads all of the way to the communications aerials and fire tower adorning the summit. 
The Palmar Valley
From here there are more stunning views to Masca and also the Palmar valley, as well as La Gomera and the coastline of Tenerife. Later, as we emerged from a magical section of laurisilva forest, we were greeted by the sight of the majestic peak of Teide and it's near neighbour Pico Viejo. 
Teide & Pico Viejo 
Although I never tire of this view, it was nice to hear the enthusiastic comments of others to remind myself just how lucky I am to be living here on this beautiful island.    

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Walking to The Deserted Village in a calima

The Deserted village of Las Fuentes
During the recent calima I walked the 'Deserted Village' walk from the book, which in the event proved to be a mistake. I had suggested the walk to a friend who was visiting the island and a day or so before he arrived, a weather warning was issued on the island for high temperatures but we decided to go ahead regardless.

Cave house in Las Fuentes
Walking in Tenerife can often be quite a 'perspiration soaked' affair and never more so than in a calima, a hot, dusty wind from the Sahara, and I have never walked in one quite so hot as this proved to be. As the day wore on the temperatures soared into the high thirties and what would normally be a perfectly manageable walk of around 3.5 hours became a 5.5 hour test of endurance!

Finca Montiel
The route to the mostly abandoned village of Las Fuentes crosses three barrancos (ravines) and temperatures in the bottom of these must have been hitting the 40c mark. Crossing the barranco streambeds and climbing out of the opposite side felt a little like walking through an oven as the heat retained in the rocks of the barranco walls radiated outwards and felt as though the central heating had been accidentally turned onto high! It is always advisable when walking in Tenerife to take plenty of water and soft drinks, I always carry a minimum of 2.5 litres and frequently drink all of it, particularly in the summer. In this instance I had three litres with me and and could have probably drunk even more.
The Island of La Gomera from El Choro
Approaching the village of El Jaral, we struggled in the searing heat as we climbed very slowly out of the last barranco of the day before following the road downhill back to our car. The cold beers after the walk that we enjoyed on the way home never tasted so good! Although I have walked in some of the less intense calimas, it is advisable to avoid strenuous exercise during these periods, which normally last for two to fours days. So if the air suddenly fills with a fine 'mist' and the temperature rises it's probably a good idea to find a shady spot, pour yourself a cool drink and leave the walking to another day. Check the 'Amendments and Updates' at the top of the page for the latest route information.