Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

December 21, 2011

Hiking Los Organos, Tenerife

Our second escape to Tenerife (Canary Islands) saw me arrive armed and dangerous with a walking guide, as it is difficult to find walking information or trail maps once there.  Conversely, there are tons of wonderful, signposted hiking trails on the island, but without a map it's hard to know where you'll end up!  With a good trail map in hand, I've decided that Tenerife might just be my new favorite place in the world to hike...shhh, don't tell New Zealand, ok?

Normally the northern side of Tenerife is bathed in fog, and the southern side has abundant sunshine.  The island is only about 60 miles long and (sometimes much less than) 20 miles wide.  Along with a 12,198 ft. volcano in the middle, this makes for quite a lot of ecosystems mashed together!  This means you can feel hot desert winds blow across cactus in the morning, and be cooling off in a rainforest fog in the afternoon, with time in the middle for some sunbathing on the beach! 

Hike #6 from the Tenerife Rother Walking Guide, Barranco Madre del Agua (4 miles)

On our first morning in Tenerife, there were high clouds obscuring the sun and limiting it to a dim yellow ball in the sky, so we figured this might be a good day to get a hike in on the north side while the fog wouldn't be forming.  Of course the haze limited the visibility as well, but at least it wasn't as dense!   From our hotel in Los Cristianos, we drove the winding road up and over the Teide crater, and then a long way down the other side.  I love this drive because it winds through forest of pine trees with impressive viewpoints (not to mention the crater itself with views of Teide), and we were excited because finally we would get to hike as well as drive through the forests. 

Our relatively short hike started from a small forested crater called La Caldera.  We followed the long-distance path GR 131 (red blazes) for a mile or so, which was wide and level and led us under an impressive rock formation called "Los Organos".  Then we turned off onto a short, steep circular hike (yellow blazes) through the "Barranco Madre del Agua", or roughly translated "Mother of Water Canyon". 

This was our first introduction to the elaborate water collection techniques used on Tenerife to gather and store the limited amounts of rainfall.  The constant fog in the area meant that the trees were covered in moss and the foliage was dense and green.  However the sun was shining weakly on us, and we were excited to be outdoors in warm, dry conditions and temporarily away from cold, rainy England!  Covered water channels, bridges, and water tanks were showcased along this recently restored path, which eventually brought us back down to where we had started.   Retracing our steps up the GR131 led us back to the car afterwards.

P.S. The entire week I was hankering for a real map of the island (finally found one in a bookstore on our last day!?!), but between the free driving map that came with our rental car and the small maps in the walking guide, we were able to find the staring points ok.  There aren't that many roads on the island so it's hard to get lost, although we did have to backtrack a few times....

1 comment:

  1. Wow that looks like a great trail. Sounds like you found the map just in time to see where you were.