Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Walk from Valle de Arriba

Recently, I have been exploring footpaths in the west of the island and today I decided on a walk that I had found on the internet from the village of Valle de Arriba, close to Santiago del Teide . Although I was already familiar with many of the paths in the walk there were some promising variants that I hadn't tried and as I am always on the lookout for alternative routes, this was an interesting choice. 

Ascending from Valle de Arriba

Setting off from the village on a pleasant but cool morning, I located the path up and out of the valley. This section was new to me and was a delight to walk and must be wonderful in spring when the flowers are in bloom. As I climbed fairly steeply up the narrow valley my attention was drawn to the cry of a buzzard just overhead and I stopped to watch as it soared above me and disappeared out of the valley.

Teide is obscured by clouds

After climbing out of the valley, I followed a road for a short distance before turning onto a path to the rural hotel at Los Partidos de Tranquis, which seemed to be fairly deserted as I passed by, with no signs of life anywhere. I now followed a path through pine forest signposted to the Chinyero reserve, where the cinder cone volcano of  Montaña Chinyero marks the spot of the last eruption on the island in 1909. 

Edible Boletus 

As I walked through the forest, I was amazed to see carpets of edible boletus mushrooms spreading in every direction under the pines, covering the ground in hundreds of reddish-brown fungi as far as the eye could see. Apparently, they grow in the pine forest in the the autumn and winter after rain, which we had recently experienced on the island after a long period of drought. 

Volcan Garachico

Emerging from the trees, I arrived at an amazing landscape of volcanic ash and the black cinder cone of Volcan Garachico - also known as Montaña Negra - which erupted in 1706 and destroyed large parts of the northern coastal town of Garachico. Often, from this spot, there is a stunning view of Teide, which today  was obscured by clouds but this didn't detract from the superb views of the surrounding black landscape and cone of Volcan Garachico, framed by the bright green of young Canary pines growing out of the ash. 

Montaña Chinyero and the lava fields

After another section of pine forest, I arrived at a track by the Montaña Chinyero circular path, which I am quite familiar with but passed by on this occasion on the wide track giving excellent views of the nearby lava flow from the 1909 eruption with the dark cone of Chinyero, looking like the identical twin of Volcan Garachico, visible in the background. 

Descending path to Valle de Arriba

I began the descent back to Valle de Arriba through some pleasant landscapes with views of the nearby forested hills, arriving eventually at a single track tarmac lane, which I knew led down back to Valle de Arriba in long looping bends having descended on it some years earlier. Since then however, a good, albeit steep path has been cleared which makes for a much more satisfying and rapid descent into the village. As I descended, a heavy shower forced me to retrieve my anorak from the rucksack, something that I rarely need to do on the island, although it had stopped by the time I arrived back at my car after 4.5 hours of very enjoyable walking.
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