Sunday, 4 September 2016

Las Cañadas to Poris de Abona - A walk from Summit to Sea

The 'El Filo' path is a route in the Las Canadas National Park that starts from the TF24 road close to El Portillo and initially follows a broad track through the desert scenery of the park as it weaves through the Tiede Broom and heads towards the parador. I recently set off on a two day hike following the path as it wound it's way through the parched landscape typically found in this part of the park. Being summer, the weather was very hot and as I could not be sure that I would be able to replenish my water supplies, I carried around 7.5 litres in my pack, which made it quite heavy when combined with my camping gear.

In the early part of the walk, there were superb views of Teide and I took numerous photos of the imposing cone, which dominated the scenery. Eventually, the broad, dusty path veered away to the left and began to ascend the rim of the vast caldera and, once on the top, the scenery became even more impressive as the route crossed and re-crossed the ridge, giving views both to the south-eastern parts of the island to the coast and also to the northern side of the ridge, affording excellent views into Las Canadas. 

Roque de La Grieta
Ahead, the views of the ridge were punctuated by the peaks of Roque de La Grieta, Montaña Pasajiron and in the distance to Montaña Guajara, Tenerife's third highest peak which towers over the parador. After around three and a half hours, I dropped off of the ridge into the pine forest above Arico before heading to El Contador, a recreation/camping/BBQ area high in the pine forest. 

Los Roques de Tamadaya
As I approached El Contador, I discovered a camping area above it called Fuente del Llanos and veered off towards it. Here, I found some fairly level ground and pitched my tent. I spent a peaceful evening watching the sun go down and enjoyed the silence as I sat outside my tent stargazing. The following morning, I was up early and drank coffee as the sunrise bathed the high mountains I had descended from the day before in a soft, pink light. 

Camping at Fuente del Llanos
After packing up my campsite, I began my descent to El Contador and the Barranco de Tamadaya. Reaching the El Contador recreation zone, I replenished my water supplies from a tap in the barbecue area and passed the Casas del Contador and climbed into the forest towards the Barranco de Tamadaya.

Arico Nuevo
The views into the barranco to the pine-clad Roques de Tamadaya formation were particularly impressive. Eventually, I reached the pretty village of Arico de Nuevo from where I followed a path past wind turbines to El Poris on the coast.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Walking through the Island's Volcanic Past

Montana Samara

I have recently been exploring the area between Montana Samara and Montana Chinyero, site of the island's last eruption. The north-west Santiago rift is littered with many volcanic cones and makes the area a fascinating one for observing the recent volcanic history of the island. I parked at the Montana Samara car-park and followed the obvious path to the summit where I had fantastic views towards the Teno Mountains, Teide and even down towards the south-west coast. 

Views from the summit

The surrounding countryside was a fascinating mix of cinder cones, frozen seas of lava and pine trees, all set to a backdrop of the Teno mountains and nearby islands of La Gomera and La Palma. I stood for some time on the summit absorbing this amazing scene while to my right lay the harsh volcanic hollow of the volcano's crater. Descending, I crossed the road and followed a forest path downhill towards Montana Chinyero, although today, this very familiar cinder-cone volcano was not my objective as I was heading for Montana del Cascajo, another volcanic cone, which lies at a higher altitude. 

Montana del Cascajo

Montana Chinyero erupted in May 1909 and for ten days spewed lava into the surrounding countryside. The lava flowed down into the Santiago valley and threatened the village of Santiago del Teide and neighbouring villages before coming to a halt without causing any damage. 

Views from the summit of Montana del Cascajo

Having reached the start of the path to the summit of Montana del Cascajo , I began the climb to the top, which was quite difficult as the path was almost vertical and the surface was comprised of very deep volcanic soil, which made progress very slow. Once on the top, I skirted around the cone to the highest point where I enjoyed more excellent views over the volcanic terrain and also to Santiago del Teide. 

Volcanic Landscape around Montana del Cascajo

Path through the forest

Montana Chinyero

 Having descended, I followed the easy track through the forest for a while until it became more indistinct before disappearing altogether in an area strewn with yellow birds foot trefoil flowers. Picking my way through this was slow and difficult as I climbed steadily uphill. Crossing a volcanic ridge, I was suddenly confronted by a very rough, frozen sea of Aa lava. 


Areas of land such as this in the Canaries are usually called 'malpais' and the literal translation 'badlands' was certainly appropriate in this instance. Fortunately, there was a path, albeit fairly rough and rocky, skirting around the edge of the lava and I picked my way very carefully along this as it headed uphill. Soon, I arrived at a waymarked 'sendero' onto which I turned right and followed it very easily downhill back to Montana Samara and my car.

Teide & Pico Viejo

Monday, 4 July 2016

Climbing El Sombrero

El Sombrero from the start of the walk

Since living in Tenerife, I have long had an ambition to climb El Sombrero, a very distinctive mountain in the National Park. The mountain is instantly identifiable because of the rocky, 'turret' on the top but until recently, I have never found a route to the summit. 

El Sombrero

Most visitors familiar with the approach to the the National Park from the south will recognise the peak as the road passes below it as you enter the park and with it's very distinctive summit, it's difficult to miss. I set off yesterday in stunning, clear skies, although below, on the coast, it was fairly cloudy and I began my walk near the National Park sign at the side of the road. 

Teide & Pico Viejo

The initial climb was fairly steady but across rough, pathless ground and I had to keep checking my direction to make sure I wasn't straying too low. Eventually, I found a path of sorts that contoured the steep ground below the peak and followed it through the Teide Broom, which proved a bit of a problem because the paths were draped in cobwebs and spiders and being something of an arachnophobe, I spent quite a while clearing them with my walking poles. 

Summit cairn on El Sombrero

With the combination of rough ground and unwelcome wildlife, progress was quite slow but eventually I reached the edge of the crater rim and began the start of the steep climb to the summit. This first section wasn't too bad as it climbed fairly steeply through rocky terrain but soon, I reached the start of the climb onto the rocky, 'turret' of the summit cliffs. This was fairly vertical in places and required hands as well as feet to pull myself up.

Panorama from the summit

After what seemed a surprisingly short time, I found myself crossing the summit plateau to the summit cairn where I took an extended break to enjoy the simply amazing scenery. The views of the National Park were extensive with Teide, Pico Viejo and Montana Guajara dominating the view. After a long rest break on the summit taking numerous photographs, I began my descent and was soon back at my car after a challenging but exhilarating walk. Click on the 'Wikiloc' symbol in the top right hand corner of the map if you want to download a copy of the GPS track for the walk.

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