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Tenerife 2005


As I had been infrequently in the mountains in recent years because either I had no time or there was contrary weather it was time to resort to a place where the weather was more settled and it could be made use of a few days running. Hence my first 'mountain tour' went - after longer persuading by specially dear persons - to Tenerife on the Canary Islands with the DAV Summit Club.

Saturday, January 8, 2005: Arrival

I had to be at the hotel not until 5 pm so that I had to start in Munich not that early. Arrival at the airport Tenerife South about 1 pm, then taking a taxi to the hotel. At 5 pm meeting in the lounge where we were welcomed with tasty sangria. The guides introduced themselves as well as the travelling companions and we were briefed on the hikes and activities. Afterwards for the joint dinner we had - needless to say - paella. Very delicious!

Sunday, January 9, 2005: Roque de los Brezos (1111m) - Ifonche - Taucho - Las Americás

The 'warming up tour'; with Pedro our local guide. I had chosen the short hike which led us across a small Barranco up to the Roque de los Brezos, down again and through Ifonche in the Lorenzo Mountain Range. The first short rest we had at the Barranco del Infierno (hell canyon) with a spectacular view into the canyon. Thereafter unharried pacing up and down under wonderful Canary Island pines with another rest to Taucho where we stopped for a drink and awaited the other group. In the meantime there were horses of a nearby horse farm and lizards bathing in the sun in the walls of a stonebridge. The south of the island ranks among the arid regions where the vegetation is sparser but not less scenic.

Afterwards we went together by bus to Las Americás (a typical tourist spot on the south coast, awful) where some went to the beach for swimming and the other sightseeing whereas me and a few others with Pedro savoured very delicious Boquerones (fried anchovies, traditionally eaten with one's hands), 'Papas Arrugadas' (potatoes cooked with sea salt) and red vine in a small local tavern - luckily without 'all inclusive tourists'. This was excellent and the vine didn't fall short of its effect, the curves were straighter, really. ;-)

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Monday, January 10, 2005: Roque de los Pasos - Taganana - Playa del Tamadite - Afur

By bus we went through the Canadas del Teide where we made a photo break at the Roques de Garcia (it was early in the morning and pretty cold up there) close to the Roque de los Pasos (930m) in the Anaga Mountain Range in the east of Tenerife from where we started the long hike. Unhurriedly we descended through a very lovely evergreen mountain cloud forest along the Barranco de la Iglesia to Taganana (300m). We viewed Taganana only from above as we kept moving along the north coast in a westward direction. Pacing gently up and down we arrived at Playa del Tamadite where we had a refreshing rest directly at the coast. Thereafter, meanwhile it has become pretty warm, we walked up the Barranco Afur to Las Casas de Afur (238m) for a final stop for a snack in the Casa Jose Canon. In the latter the typically Canarian rabbit dish shall be very delicious; however, I didn't feel like it due to problems with my physical endurance while ascending through the Barranco (my knee meant to trouble me after the long descent at the beginning and while ascending the heat got to me).

This is one of the most beautiful hikes as one walks in the humid north of the island where the vegetation is lusciously green and species-rich and the evergreen mountain cloud forests are scenic. The hike first through the forest, then along the coast and last in the Barranco is very multifarious. According to our guides it would nearly always rain in this part (northeast) of the island, but it didn't when we were there. This extraordinary luck with the weather should abide by us for the rest of the week. :-)

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005: Barranco de Masca

Today the Masca gorge in the Teno mountains in the west of the island which is besides the Teide one of the well known spots of Tenerife was on the agenda. By bus we went to the marina of Los Gigantes from where we went on by boat to the Playa de Masca (I couldn't find out whether I have good sea legs with all the gazing at and taking pictures of the coast. However, it seesawed enough to just sit down on the planks at the bow for taking pictures.). Going ashore at the cove luckily went on without water contact what shall not always be that way.

The ascent between the rock faces allowed interestingly geological insights. In spite of narrowness and the damp and cool atmosphere in the lower part of the gorge one walks in parts along rich vegetation. At the beginning we had been accompanied by feral cats of which there are many hanging around; also a Canarian duck was spotted in a water hole. The higher and the closer to Masca one gets the more the canyon broadens, it becomes brighter and the vegetation more abundant. Before the final ascent to Masca we had a last rest in the sun for which a little lizard 'joint' us. In Masca (630m) we could marvel at really big poinsettias for the first time.

As 'treat' of the day there would have been up the possibility to walk a part of the route in the old water channels in the cliffs of the gorge. While resting one of our most experienced fellow hikers suddenly climbed up the rocks with our guide where I and some other scrambling fellows needed to follow suit. Unfortunately, I left all my stuff back as I initially thought this just was a short side trip. Though Pedro offered to get our rucksacks, I moved on the bottom path with the others as I felt not quite confident to walk up there. A short less high side trip in one of the water channels arose later on even if this was not as interesting as the upper path. ;-)

After an extensive stop in Masca we were picked up by bus. Because some of us had not been weary with hiking we got off the bus above Vilaflor on the ride down from the Canadas del Teide and walked down the final distance to Vilaflor across the pinewood. En route one or another scrambling arose what gave much pleasure. :-) The pace, however, was not to be scoffed at. (Luckily my knee didn't trouble me anymore; after all ignoring helps sometimes.)

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005: Montana Blanca - La Fortaleza - Centro de Visitantes

An unhurried hike with Lothar through the eastern crater of the Teide. At first we walked up a little towards the Montana Blanca (2350m) before we headed easterly across the crater towards the table mountain 'La Fortaleza'. The area is desert like, one walks the main leg in sand - that made the feet happy. :-) Again a totally different vegetation as in the last days. We cold-shouldered La Fortaleza, this means we walked past it northerly. ;-) There we saw the not blooming Teide-Natternkopf; florescence is not until May/June what is due to the size probably very gorgeous. After a lunch break at the eastern end of 'La Fortaleza' we went on to the Centro de Visitantes in the volcano museum where we saw an impressive film about the formation of Tenerife.

We were picked up again by bus and went to the Parador Nacional where some had a snack and the others were at the Roques de Garcia with the Cinchado (God's Finger) for taking pictures before we went back to the hotel.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005: Orotavatal

Today we were in the in the northeast of the island for a round hike with Pedro above the Orotava valley. Beginning and end of the hike was the pinewood of La Caldera (1200m). The path led along the hillside under pinetrees with metres long lichens hanging down. The view kept see-sawing between Teide and Orotava in the valley. An unhurried, not exhausting hike.

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Friday, January 14, 2005: Sombrero de Chasna - Parador Nacional

By bus we went with Pedro close to the Galeria Fuente Fria from where we ascended across light pinewood the Sombrero de Chasna (2411m) one of the most striking peaks of the border of the crater. We walked on along the southern border of the crater what offered wonderful views of the crater as well as the south of Tenerife. At the foot of the Guajara we descended unhurriedly to the Parador Nacional where we stopped for a snack and where I lounged in the sun.

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Saturday, January 15, 2005: Day of rest

Saturday the day of the weekly arrivals and departures and hence a day of rest for those who stay longer offered itself for social loafing, writing picture postcards and rambling in Vilaflor. In the snug hotel with sunshine I could comfortably spend my time.


Sunday, January 16, 2005: Montana de Cedro

Hiking again. Beginning and end was Boca Tauce (2050m), the southern entrance to the national park. At first we went with Pedro for the longer hike along the different fields of lava at the foot of the Cedro mountains to the western end of the mountain range. Beginning with a first climb to the top of the westernmost peak we went up and down across the other peaks back to the easternmost end of the mountains.

Unfortunately, on that day the weather was no longer that fair and it was quite cold due to strong winds. Because we stuck on the peak and had to wait for the bus somewhat longer due to inconveniences caused by a new arrived woman who overrated herself I caught a cold. :-(

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Monday, January 17, 2005: Inevitable break caused by the weather

Due to the change in the weather pattern (windstorm and even snow in the Canadas) we agreed on a break in the preliminary talks in the morning; except for sightseeing nothing else could have been done on that day. Owing to the cold I was not too disappointed as this gave me time to avert further 'damage'. I had been rheumy two further weeks but no full-blown cold grew out of it at least so that I could still do the hikes the next days.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005: Teno Mountains - La Chinyero - Los Silos

If we still had contrary weather our guides decided to go to the Teno Mountains today since the chances for rain should be lower in the northwest of the island. The beginning of the hike was near Los Poleos. Across the scenic volcanic landscape we walked to La Chinyero (1551m) which we crossed (hiking up and down in the black lava sand was a newly physical challenge). We walked on across pinewoods and getting more luscious vegetation to the Curva Viento where the bus was waiting for 'weary feet'. The still 'fresh feet' followed the path to the Barranco de Cuevas Megras o del Agu. Via Erjos we walked down this lushly green canyon to Los Silos (109m). A gorgeous path, but the humidity in the canyon beat the pants off the few raindrops which 'struck' us shortly behind the Curva Viento. At the end of the canyon/at the city limits there were many banana plantations to gaze at; palm trees and gorgeous flowers bordered the path.

The bus waited for us in Los Silos with which we went to Garachico. After a short tour of the city we had a cold 'cerveza' (beer) and I induldged in having delicious Boquerones. :-) Afterwards we went up again by bus at first on a breathtaking road which led to El Tanque and then back to Vilaflor.

This tour pleased me scenically very much because I am fascinated by the colours of the volcanic landscape - light green Canarian pine trees on dark lava ashes amidst reddish igneous rocks in combination with deep blue skies - which I can't get enough of.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005: Guergues Mountain Path

From the parking site at the Casas de Araza we started to the Guergues Mountain Path. I walked with Pedro and two other fellow hikers a little ahead (from the rest of the group nobody wanted to take the longer and faster tour; I was so carefree to join). On Pedro's question 'Do you want to use your hands?' which was answered unanimously with 'Yes!' we climbed off the track on the ridge of the Masca gorge where we had spectacular views into the gorge. :-) Fascinating were the caves in the cliffs in which the shepherds adjourned in former times and which only were accessible on exposed paths. From Los Pajares we went across the old Finca de Guergues where the old threshing floors could be seen to the ridge of the Seco gorge. En route Pedro cut off fruits of the wild cactus pear and let us taste these. Except for the many grains which were just swallowed these are quite relishable. After a short break at the Seco gorge we made a sidetrip (without rucksacks) to the top of a hill at the ridge of the gorge.

Well, then we had to hike up quickly there where we walked down to catch up with the others. In doing so I realised that I had overstrained myself and handed over my rucksack to Pedro too late to easier keep up with the others. Embarrassing, but still afflicted with the cold a bit excusable.

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Thursday, January 20, 2005: Chinamada - Punta del Hildalgo

From the rest area Cruz del Carmen (920m) we descended through an evergreen mountain cloud forest at the Roque de Tenejias along fruit orchards (with tasty oranges on the trees) and a variety of flowers to Chinamada (600m). The village is known for its cave houses. After a rest with tasty oranges Pedro picked on the way we unhurriedly walked further down on an old donkey trail along the mountain range between the Barranco del Rio and the Northcoast past bizarrely shaped rocks like the Roque de los Hermanos and tremendously big agaves and houseleeks. At the Playa de los Troches we reached the sea. By bus we went to Punto del Hildalgo and after a short stop for a coffee back to Vilaflor.

The Anaga Mountains showed again all its gorgeousness on this day: green rolling hills with a undescribable floweriness.

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Friday, January 21, 2005: Black and White Lunar Landscape

Spontaneous tour to the Black and White Lunar Landscape. We started from the Parador Nacional in the Canadas del Teide. We walked past the north and east side of the Guajara, moved along the Barranco des las Arenas across the Black to the White Lunar Landscape. Very multifaceted tour along bizarre rock formations in the Canadas, pumice rock faces along the Barranco and finally the rock formations in the Lunar Landscapes. Down from the Black to the White Lunar Landscape we jumped at the chance to 'scree ski' in the dark vulcano ashes. Huge fun (I tried it first time) which seemed to amaze the tourists at the foot of the hill (one can get there with sneakers). ;-) In the White Lunar Landscape we had our lunch break before going back to the hotel.

In the evening we had to say goodbye to our two guides because the homeward journey was scheduled for the next day.

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Saturday, January 22, 2005: Departure

A last breakfast, still some hours on the terrace, 'El Chico', the tomcat of the hotel, petted once again and finally sharing a taxi to the airport where we bade farewell by and by. It was a enjoyable time with you! :-)

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About Twin Concept

This journey was organised as Twin Concept, this means that one has the opportunity to choose between a short and a longer hike every day. Both hikes lead more often than not to the same region but the longer hike requires a considerably faster pace and respectively copes with additional differences in altitude (both groups have to meet at the end of the hike for the joint return). One has not to opt until leaving in the morning so that one can choose depending on one's daily condition.

In the end...

This was my first trip with the DAV Summit Club. What me well pleased was the fixed location in Vilaflor (1400m). In the small mountain hotel 'Alta Montana' which was owned by the DAV Summit Club in 2005 one was mostly among like-minded people and could feel like being at home. Vilaflor is a quiet village as the package tourists luckily are crowded in the coastal resorts. (Much to the detriment of the coastal regions which scenic landscape notably in the south of the island is increasingly concreted over.) We had all day a bus standing by so that the hikes could start and end at varying places. In addition we could depose not needed hiking outfit in the bus (often the weather changed during the drives). This has major advantages and is extremely convenient. :-)

Tenerife itself is thanks to its geology and different vegetation zones very attractive and fascinating. The extensive knowledge of our two mountain and cultural guides, Pedro and Lothar, was an additional enrichment on the hikes. Sincere thanks for this and for the ideally planning of the tours which allowed us even in unfavourable weather to hike dryly and safely. I am sure that I will 'stop by' again. :-) If the rest of the world would not also be so beautiful even sooner than later but thus... ;-) I'll see, possibly in connection with La Gomera.