Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Montaña Chayofita and a Cave with a View

The view inland from the summit
An increasingly popular pastime in the south of Tenerife on the Los Cristianos/Playa de Las Americas border, is the short walk to the summit of Montaña Chayofita. This cinder cone volcano sits just behind Playa Las Vistas beach and during the winter months a steady procession of people can be seen climbing to the summit from where there are stunning views of the coastline and inland to the table-top summit of Roque del Conde and beyond.
The wide path to the top
When I first climbed it, many years ago, the path, such as it was, consisted of a faint trail through the volcanic cinders but now, a clear dirt path has been forged to the summit cairn. 

The View Inland
Part of the increase in popularity appears to have coincided with the local authorities placing an information board at the start of the path with a map showing the route, although quite why anyone needs a map I'm not sure. 
The Summit Cairn
Although the elevation is quite modest, the views to be had from the top certainly aren't as the panorama stretches from Montaña Guaza, with superb aerial views of Playa Las Vistas and Los Cristianos harbour and, on clear days, as far as the Teno Mountains in the west. 
Montaña Guaza
Inland, the most prominent feature is the peak of Roque del Conde but on a clear day the mountains in the National Park are visible too. As I climbed to the top, I shared the path with older people who quite clearly weren't used to walking up steep hills, as well as ultra-fit German walkers with trekking poles using the path as part of their daily keep-fit circuit and groups of curious holidaymakers climbing to take in the views. 
Las Vistas Beach
As with most cinder cones, there is a crater in the centre and as I descended, I noticed a small building in the bottom which seemed to be attracting people's attention and as I watched, a man carrying a number of water bottles headed towards the construction. 
Cave House & Garden
By now, my curiosity was aroused, so I descended into the cone and was amazed to find that the building was a small shelter containing water bottles while next to it was the entrance to a cave. It soon became apparent that this man was living in the cave, which he had furnished with a bed and one or two other pieces of furniture as well as carpets on the floor. There was even a calender on the wall and a radio playing music! 
Entrance to Cave House
The entrance to the cave-house, which had a small roped off garden area in front of it, was accessed by a pathway lined with verode bushes. As the man deposited his water bottles in the shelter and headed off back down the hill, people walked up the 'garden path' to have a look into his house. 
Inside the Cave House
Outside, a plate full of coins sat on a rock where people had left small donations as an 'entry fee'. I took my opportunity to take a couple of photographs before leaving a few coins on the plate and heading back down into town. 
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