Ash and lava
Breakfast was spent with the young English couple, both active fell runners from the Peak District, who were on a tighter more ambitious schedule than us oldies. Good to see their enthusiasm, we were away before them but soon overtaken!
From the village the ancient way climbed steadily on a well defined paved path through terracing of vines and into woods. Steady progress was the order of the day as we had 1400m to climb in the hot sun. There were no fuentes so all liquid had to be carried and frequent refreshment stops made. As it was a Sunday there were more people out walking, running and mountain biking this popular trail.
We were heading for Guajara, 2715m, which we would circle to a col before dropping into the caldera. Highlights today were first all the volcanic ash we walked through and then the amazing lava fields and formations higher on the mountain. The compressed ash was metres thick and all colours, reminders of distant eruptions. Out of interest whilst we were here new low level seismic activity was reported. Mount Teide erupted in 1909 and the previous last reported increase in seismic activity dates back to 2003 when a rift opened on the north-east of the volcano. Needless to say the ground didn’t tremble below our feet. A section of eroded white ash was followed by a whole field of black ash up which climbed an endless avenue of a path. The authorities don’t want people wandering everywhere.
From the top of the ash field a tortuous rocky path eventually landed us at Degollada de Guajara, 2373m. Gran Canaria was seen to the east. We stopped for lunch whilst walkers were appearing from all directions, this area around the Parador is easily accessible. Also spotted was a Great Grey Shrike.
Dropping into the caldera a wide track was followed past weird lava shapes. I realised that I had previously climbed in this area and I recognised some of the routes, some climbers were busy today enjoying the warmth at this height. Mount Teide loomed above.
Arrival at the Parador was a bit of a shock, cars everywhere and the cafe and terrace packed with people. We booked into our room and sat in the hotel lounge to avoid the melee.
The Parador – A day of rest.
That should really read “an expensive day of rest”
Last night was not good, I was up and down with abdo. pains. It is almost a year to the day since my last episode cramped our progress in Gran Canaria and I can’t believe it’s happened again. Is there something about the Canary Islands? I skip breakfast and go back to sleep. JD wanders off into the caldera but is soon back because its raining and miserable. We manage to book another expensive night here, there is not much other choice. I resign myself to not going up to the Altavista hut on Mt. Teide tonight and we only had the one reservation. As it happens the afternoon is foul with wind and rain, probably snow higher, so we console ourselves with a coffee in the cafe filled with hapless tourists.
The young English couple return from an early morning [pre-permit] ascent of Teide and are in ebullient mood – congratulations. We are treated to a spectacular rainbow behind the hotel towards sunset.
The Parador is the only hotel in the Teide Park and seeks to recreate the ambience of a mountain lodge, especially in the public rooms. The evening is made pleasurable by an excellent meal with good wine in the restaurant, I could happily slip into this luxury life, I didn’t say that – back to tomato sandwiches tomorrow. We replan our onward journey on the GR131, scaling Mount Teide will have to wait for another day.
Next week – Across the caldera.