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!

Exercising added restraint within Parque Nacional del Teide on Tenerife

30th December 2022

My impression is that most travellers to Tenerife go for sun, sand and sea while staying in the busier southwest of the island. Nevertheless, I also fancy that the island’s highest point is a lure, especially since there is a cable car that takes you near to the top of it. The volcanic cone of El Teide is an ever present sight from many places around the island. Two hikes in Parque Rural de Anaga had me glimpsing the distinctive top as well as a previous visit to Puerto de la Cruz.

Puerto de la Cruz is another haunt for tourists, as I found on that earlier piece of reconnaissance. The visit also revealed where I would get buses to and from Parque Nacional del Teide because they do not run from Santa Cruz. This then was an excursion with a change of bus.

Those onward connections from Puerto de la Cruz are not as regular as those between there and Santa Cruz, so you need to be careful. Since this was my last full day before flying home the next day, I did not want to get marooned either. The outbound bus was going to take me back again and would constrain the time for walking unless I did a circuit of the island by bus. That was not needed in the event, though.

There was another consideration that was ever present: the altitude. Having experienced some shortness of breadth near Kleine Scheidegg in Switzerland, I also did not want to cause a repeat at a greater height than there. Thus, I was going to take things easier. Because I was out for a walk, catching the cable car was never an ambition anyway. Staying between 2000 and 2500 metres above sea level was enough for me.

My staying on the bus all the way to its terminus at Parador de Cañada del Teide meant that my rambling was going to around Roques de García. The barren nature of the landscape also was impressed upon me by my travelling. This was another of the wilder parts of Tenerife that I would explore while there, and it reminded me of my time around Landmannalaugar in Iceland, albeit with much more sunshine on this occasion.

Sendero Roques de García, Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife, Spain

El Teide, Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife, Spain

The backbone of my amble was the Sendero Roques de García, a circular trail that would take me away from the Parador and back again. Usefully, the line of the path would be marked out by borders of stones for much of its length. There was vegetation, but all looked dusty and dessicated when I was there. At other times, all can look lush and verdant, and this was not one of those. Thus, the path border avoided losing the trail in places where it was difficult to tell between the line of travel and what lay around it.

Montana de Guajara, Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife, Spain

Naturally, there were numerous others around Roques de García when I was there. That may have been part of the motivation for following part of the Sendero Los Regatones Negros. Following that trail all the way would not only get me to the “Black Giants” of the name in Spanish, but it also would get me nearer the summit of El Teide as well. Aside from the time needed, an ascent to an altitude exceeding 3000 meters above sea level was also out of the question.

Thus, I only went part of the way and the trail was to become difficult to follow. In the end, I found myself crossing obsidian boulders that sounded glassy whenever they struck on movement. Climbing as far as around 2400 metres was enough for me and gained wider views of what surrounded me. Then, it was time to get back to the Sendero Roques de García.

Montana de Guajara & Rocques de Garcia, Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife, Spain

Mirador Ruleta, Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife, Spain

El Teide and Rocques de Garcia, Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife, Spain

That followed a “best efforts” approach of not trying to trample vegetation in this arid environment. That was not always manageable though as I returned to the Sendero using more freestyle route finding. Then, it was time to follow the Sendero Roques de García into terrain that felt more remote. In fact, it felt as if I was somewhere entirely different to where I was and had me wondering if I had overdone things, the cause being that all human infrastructure was that well obscured. Maybe there was an element of what I had felt in the isolation around Landmannalaugar several years previously.

Montana de Guajara from Pozo de los Azulejos, Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife, Spain

There was no need to fear, for the car park at Mirador Ruleta came upon me all of a sudden; there was none of the slow progress of the Icelandic adventure that made me catch a later bus back to Reykjavík. Then, the Parador was in view on the other side of the TF21 with plenty of time to spare. All that was needed was a little tarmac tramping; it is all too easy to unnecessarily lose faith and become fearful. In the end, there was time to get some food and drink for the journey to Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz. Cautious adventuring had paid off for me.

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