Outdoor Discoveries

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!

A New Year’s Day adventure in Parque Rural de Anaga on Tenerife

29th December 2022

Looking at Cicerone’s guidebook on hiking on Tenerife again, I now realise that it may have been instrumental in prompting ideas for both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, although I did add my own variations. After an out and back walk out of Santa Cruz the day before, 2019 was to see me going a little further afield while not straying too far away either.

As I went to the Intercambiador (bus station) by a roundabout route, I saw lots of New Year revellers heading for home in their evening formal wear. It seems that celebrating the arrival of a new year is a very big thing on Tenerife, at least from what I saw. However, it had no effect on the bus timetable being operated, and I travelled to Igueste de San Andrés as planned. Any concern about my being able to return was to be misplaced, thankfully.

Montana Hoya de Los Juncos, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

Barranco de Igueste, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

My destination was very quiet when I got there; this was to be a day with lots of quiet hiking and many steep gradients. To start, I went up the Barranco de Igueste as far as the turn-off for the path leading to Las Casillas. That path took me uphill towards Lomo de la Zapata, gaining me ever wider views as I did so. It was reminiscent of some of what I saw on the preceding day.

Cacti in Barranco de Antequera, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

Barranco de Antequera, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

Eventually, I met with a signpost showing the ways to Igueste, Casillas and Antequera. The first had been the way that I had come, while the last became my destination of choice instead of the second. This was to be passage through some wild and empty terrain where cacti abounded. For good reasons, I was reminding myself not to pass too close to them, only to find a thorn had stuck to me when I was back in the U.K. Then, it got removed with a pair of tweezers.

Montana de las Toscas, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

Playa de Antequera, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

On the way downhill, I encountered a German couple coming in the opposite direction. They were the only people that I would meet until near Igueste de San Andrés. This is an isolated part of Tenerife, and I found that I had just missed a possible boat trip when I got to Antequera. What I was going to find is that there may have been some good reasons for having gone with that option, even if it shortened or changed the hike.

Punto de Antequera, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

Roque de Antequera, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

If I had been expecting a simple shoreside stroll, I was about to be disabused of that notion very forcefully. The beach was stony and not very extensive, at least when I was there, so it was a matter of finding the path across a steep slope with a drop into the sea below. The path took some finding and the resulting traverse a nervous one. If I had been depending on what looked like rock to old me in case of a tumble, I would find myself deceived, for this was soft friable material that came away easily in my hands. The views were ravishing when I could take them in, yet I was more than glad to reach the barranco.

Looking down on Roque de Antequera, Parque Rural de Anaga, Tenerife, Spain

Hoya las Cuevas, Igueste de San Andrés, Tenerife, Spain

Lomo Bermejo, Igueste de San Andrés, Tenerife, Spain

The ascent of the barranco was steep, taking a toll on by now wearying legs. There were hopes for catching a bus before night fell, but these were dashed by the time taken to ascend and descend steep slopes. The more solid ground allowed a chance to survey the surroundings with more confidence. While there may have been a path down to Playa de Zapata and even someone descending to there, my thoughts were set on the course that I was following while it was still daylight.

Semaforo, Igueste de San Andrés, Tenerife, Spain

My target was Atalaya de Igueste and the climb was steep. A family group was seen to pass above me on their way from Lomo Bermejo to Atalaya de Igueste and Igueste de San Andrés. They lingered on Atalaya de Igueste long enough for me to see where they went down. After the earlier rattling of nerves by the sea on the not inappropriately named El Rodeo, any added reassurance was a godsend.

The path down to Igueste de San Andrés was both brutal and unforgiving on my knees and my nerves. The descent was steep, and I took my time not to slip on the worn surface. Thoughts of making my desired bus departure on time were jettisoned in favour of patient downward progress. Light was declining too, and the family group were more nimble than I was, so I left them to their way.

Nevertheless, I still made to the car park in Igueste de San Andrés as they were leaving. In hindsight, I might have saved myself a bit of walking by staying next to the coast to use another bus stop at Lomito del Llano. However, the amount of adventure that had come my way probably meant that it was safer to use the same stop as where I had arrived.

Nervousness about the arrival of the next bus had me thinking all kinds of thoughts. Igueste de San Andrés was a very quiet place, so I was wondering if I could ask for a lift if the bus failed to appear. There was no need in the event, but all kinds of things come to mind in the dark. It had been a day in isolated wild terrain when I used up a lot of water (perhaps most of the four litres that I had been carrying) in mid-twenties temperatures and with some rattling moments too.

When the bus came, all was well, and I could reflect on an experience that few would associate with Tenerife. Most head to the busier southwest of the island, preferring the mix of sun, sand and sea to where I was. In many ways, I gained my own kind of satisfaction and perhaps a more unique story to tell as well.

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