What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!
Photos from a trip often remind me of details that I otherwise had failed to recall. In this case, they take my mind back to a trip to Tenerife four years ago. It was a mid-winter getaway that got me among different hills and mountains with a very different feel because of the geology, the aridity and the vegetation.
New Year’s Eve was the second full day of my trip, and I was out and about along Santa Cruz’s own waterfront, taking stock of what was to be found there and around Plaza de España. What also caught my eye were the hills lying to the north. These were not so high, but their steep sides were unmistakable.
As I surveyed these and other sights, I also pottered out along one of the piers, noticing the famous visitors commemorated on various plaques. What struck me apart from seeing recognisable faces was how Tenerife was a staging post for global travellers before air travel revolutionised such things. Santa Cruz still caters for cruise passengers and there were several ships docked when I was there. It also is where ferries to other islands arrive and depart.
After a trip to Mallorca when fatigue caught up with me, I made sure that I did not overdo things this time around. It meant that the sighting of those local hills acted as a lure and made me act much like I have been known to do around Macclesfield, head out later in the day to spend an afternoon or evening strolling through nearby hills.
From Parque García Sanabria, I walked along Rambla de Santa Cruz before turning onto Avenida de Anaga. After following the coast a little, I turned onto Avenida José Martí. Shadowing the Barranco de Tahodio was taking me in the direction of Parque Rural de Anaga. One thing that I wonder now is if Pico del Ingles was acting as a lure. If it was, that was not how far I intended to walk, even if I did turn around not so far away from it.
In the meantime, I was happy to continue into more natural surroundings. The landscape felt as dry and dessicated as the barrancos that I saw to be without water around Santa Cruz. Seeing poinsettias growing in flowerbeds was striking enough, but the sight of pavements being hosed down and the watering of public floral areas was just as memorable. This is somewhere that gets a lot of dry weather.
My course took me into Valle Luis, and I am unsure if I was trying to get to Embalse de Tahodio and gave up on seeing how it was taking me to get there, or if I overshot my turn onto a hill path. My guess that the first added a little out and back extension to an otherwise circular course. There was someone else around too, and we were eventually to share a few words as we passed each other.
By then, I was following Camino de Valle Luis and shadowing Barranco de Valle Luis. The site of planted poinsettias was being complemented by seeing many cacti growing wild. This was reminding me of the pot plants that my mother had growing in her house. The same warning about cacti applied as much in Tenerife as they did near her kitchen windowsill. My mid-winter escapade was gaining some odd resonances.
There was height gain and loss too, something that was consistent with reaching a high point of 664 metres above sea level. Slopes were dry and the ground dry and dusty, so care on foot placing was in order, even with some paving at times. The ascent was sweaty work in the heat, but there was a distant sighting of El Teide that made it worth the effort as much as the sights that I already was gaining.
As I did so, I was marvelling at where I saw people living and wondering if it was the heat that sent them up to such scarcely accessible heights. Near Galeria los Brezos, I met with walking route PR-TF 2. This took me around by Gollada La Fortaleza, which was my turning point, before dropping me into Valle Seco. This valley was in shadow, so there was not much opportunity for making photos as I shadowed its barranco. Such heights as Roque la Fortaleza and La Muela loomed above me as I navigated a course over uneven ground.
Tarmac was reached soon enough, so the need for concern about foot placement was eliminated. Black plastic pipes carrying water were seen going everywhere as I continued in more populated surroundings. Progress along this part of the walk appeared to be faster than the outbound stretch, and I was on the coast road sooner than I might have expected. After that, it was a matter of retracing my steps to my hotel after what had been an amble in quite different countryside to my normal hinterland.
There was more learning ahead. New Year’s Eve is a big celebration on Tenerife, with many things closed because of the festivities. There was a trip to a shop for some essentials, and I was to wish that I also got something to eat before things got going for the night. In the event, everything worked out and New Year’s Day was to see me go further afield.
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