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. 
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