Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

February 4, 2012

Refugio El Pilar descent to Santa Cruz, La Palma

After a big hike along the volcano route, it was nearing the end of the day and our hotel was almost a vertical mile below us on the beach.  It seemed fitting that I should run down rather than drive back, so I quickly lightened my pack and hit the trail on the run.   There are quite a few trails descending the east side of the ridge and I didn't want to find myself on a bad trail with night descending.   Luckily Walk #8 in Walking On La Palma laid out a clear trail which was in olden days the original donkey trail route from Fuencaliente to El Pilar down to the port at Santa Cruz.  The olden days don't mean that many years ago either, as roads have only come fairly recently to an island population used to toiling up and down the steep trails. 

The trail was steep, very steep.  From pine needles to sharp rocks to field trails to banana plantations, I saw the whole island open before my eyes as I swept by.  I was amazed at how much of the trail was still rocky singletrack, as on the lower slopes a criss-cross of roads and towns hugged the slopes. But it was also a showcase of all the wonderful variety of vegetation and the changes in what grew as the elevation lessened.  My legs got a workout but my lungs mercifully had a break, as the trail never faltered from its downhill slant to go back uphill or even much flat.  In 8 miles and a quick hour and a half I was watching the waves crash onto the shore. Looking back up at the fog shrouded ridge, it seemed a long way back up.  I was glad that the return trip wasn't mandatory!  (Oh, and Rob took the photos as he drove down in the car...I wasn't stopping for anything.)

Teide volcano towers over the silhouette of Tenerife

A dragon tree...native to the island

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