Happy Xmas Everyone! Well I know it was a couple of months ago but I can’t be expected to write blog posts the same day can I. This was our Xmas day breakfast and very fine it was to.
The deal I made withe family was that we would go to the sun for Xmas provided we abandoned everything associated with the whole festive period. No presents, card, decorations, trees etc. Surprisingly they agreed. Apart from a couple of calls home to family it could have been any other summer holiday day. I have to admit I find the whole Xmas thing deeply irritating. From its traditional roots its now become an orgy of consumer madness and greed (witness the disturbing scenes over “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday” and the like”). A good xmas is now seemingly measured by how much money you spend. The only thing that I like about Xmas is the chance to spend a day with the family which is what we got.
We decided Xmas day was ideally spent with a morning by the pool and afternoon by the beach and a swim in the sea. As we were sunning ourselves I idly commented to TBF that the wind was picking up a bit. Within an hour it was blowing a gale, chairs were thrown about the patio and we retreated inside. The sky was still clear but there was a grey dust in the air. Apparently it was the trailing edge of Saharan storm that blows in occasionally and quite common. We did try a swim but were blown off the beach and settled for a paddle in the waves in Los Gigantes. Ironically even though the sun was still out it was the worst day of the holiday weather-wise, made worse by the fact I dropped my iPad on the floor and cracked the screen 😦
Boxing Day and it was time for me and TJS to do what we’d come for and do some walking while the Funsters went shopping in Los Gigantes. We headed for Guajara, Tenerife’s third highest peak and one of the “Three Peaks”. As before once up at 2000m the skies cleared to deep blue but it was still windy and pretty cold
We walked into the wild and rocky volcanic terrain to begin the climb, instantly leaving the crowds at the car park behind
The weather was in fact perfect for walking. The warmth of the sun taking the edge of the cold and chilly air. Very alpine in character contrasting with the desert like terrain underfoot and all around
When we planned the trip we first had Gran Canaria in mind. It’s pretty well known as a good walking destination and I only really looked at Tenerife out of curiosity. It turns out that its a superb island for walking. There are several peaks to climb and endless trails through a variety of terrain. Walk through the cloud forest, trails in the caldera and coastal walks. I reckon we could come back several times and still never see it all.
Back to Guajara. It’s a steep climb up a very well made path to the pass of the Degollada de Ucanca and the views back across to El Teide were sensational. Iconic as ever.
From there the path climbs and the description seemed to indicate it traverses under the towering cliffs of the north face. The obvious ledge visible in this photo
Here’s a close up and it looked a little intimidating from a distance. The guide book didn’t make it sound difficult and so it proved
The path was a little exposed in places but well made and easy to follow with sensational views down to the Parador and Roques de Garcia where we started from.
In the event the terrace was wide and just a walk, spectacularly overhung by the North face in places as here
A scramble over the rocks at the end of the terrace and we were on the summit plateau. The sky above was a deep blue up here at 2,715m but down by the coast it was clearly still masked by the dust from the Sahara.
We found a sheltered perch right on the edge of the cliffs and ate our lunch on our first Tenerife summit. One Three Peak done, two to go!
Yours truly posing for a photo. What you can’t see is the 1,000 foot drop directly behind me. It really was an exposed spot for a pose
The route down introduced us to what was to become a theme on these high peaks. The paths are incredibly dry, dusty and very, very loose. In places it was like walking on marbles and really hard work. The views however, continued to amaze and more than made up for the punishing and slippery descent
The path continued on temptingly beyond the Degollada de Guajara to the next peak, Montana de Pasajiron and beyond. Another day. It was time to head down (via what looked like a shortcut but turned into a very loose and slippery gully!)
At the base of the mountain we had a long 3km hike back along the vehicle track to the Parador. More weird and amazing rock formations
A cracking days walk and a great introduction to the high mountains of Tenerife. No better way to celebrate than a meal out. We found a splendid little restaurant right down the beach in Playa Arena that did a mighty fine Paella, a family favourite. Despite the fact it was December we were able to eat outside to the sound of waves crashing on the beach
Xmas 2015 was turning out to be a good one