This is the fifth story of my trip to Tenerife, one I made together with my wife this summer of 2019. And this one is about the place I cared about the most. The volcano. The highest peak, in Spain as well as on the island, Mount Teide with its 3718 m. Or so the beach towel that I bought near Los Gigantes says. Other maps confirm that information, so I shall learn to trust my towel.
And The Guide says your towel is your most important possession. Apart from The Guide itself.
In case you missed my previous posts, you can find them here:
And a short collection of photos, called...
(not on TravelFeed)
Now, this...was as far as we got. Up to a point where I could get that shot at a 135 mm of focal distance zoom. Maybe I am starting in an anticlimactic way but I want you to know that this trip was not meant to reach the peak itself. As sad as I might be about this, our goal at that moment was what we did - travel the roads of the national park as they go around the peak from the south-west, then south, then south-east.
Up from the road goes a cable car service but we knew it required a reservation and we did not make any. Since we knew we would not have the time to go up and then down, and still drive all the way back to our place on the north-west coast of the island.
Sometimes our priorities make us take the easy but not so rewarding path. Being for the first time on the island, and with limited time, I would say that scouting out was a good thing for us, without throwing ourselves at extreme challenges and such. Because, as a rule of thumb, one begins a mount ascent in the morning, at the earliest possible time. And in this case, we had chosen to go to a beach in the morning, leaving the ride around the peak for the afternoon.
So, driving up from the shore right under Los Gigantes was a stressful thing for me. This time, taking a right turn at Tamaimo, we followed the TF 82 road to Chio. Those are both small towns along the way. From Chio, another road begins, marked as TF 38. And, boy, it was good! I was so grateful for the wide and easy to navigate the road, the first one I had seen in a while. It was through the mountain and climbing, but still, it felt safer and more relaxing than even the highway.
An almost identical twin image of a preview I already posted. A bit lower angle here.
The landscape on both sides of the road started turning into something crazy beautiful. Alien. Never seen by me before. A forest with sparse pine trees in bright green and black-covered soil — as if after a wildfire. But also boulders. Thousands of boulders! Rising more than five meters up on both sides as if we were moving through a bowl of giant sugar lumps or a freshly tilled land but...yeah, the same giant more than five meters tall lumps. And nowhere to stop the car and take pictures. I do hope my wife was able to smartphone us some snapshots and I hope we will someday go through them...But I am not that confident about it since she did not seem as inspired as I was.
Anyway, the photographs above were taken shortly after that area, when we were able to finally park for a while. And there was a barbeque and camping ground downslope. With a children's park even, swings and slides among the wilderness.
All the domestic prerequisites for starting a wildfire you need. Well, minus the lighter.
From there on, there were often places to park and enjoy the views. And we used almost every single one of them. We were soon on the plateau, the desert on top of the mountain before the peak itself rises further up. Already above the so-called forest crown.
And there we see a trail begin and a view of El Teide...
I really liked the way colors change from slope to slope, and especially the black-and-green carpet of the closest one. But...with the rest of them behind it, of course. I wouldn't give up the volcano for a carpet.
Our next stop offers a view of the side vents that once erupted.
Shortly after that point the TF 38 ended and we turned left on the TF 21. The one that we would follow past the peak and all the way down to the coast.
But at the beginning of it, there appeared a beautiful silver-green, bushy vegetation that I tried taking advantage of.
But again, what I saw while driving the car was generally more impressive than anything I managed to shoot while parked somewhere. At some point, I tried hanging a light camera on my neck so that I could snap a couple of shots while driving...
Another sharp turn to the left and we had the peak in front of us.
The marvelous rocks to our left remained in contrejour, against the sunlight.
We had time for a few more stops...
...One for burnt stuff...
...One for the famous endemic species called Teide bugloss, A.K.A. Echium Wildpretii...
Which looks less red than advertised when the blooms fall off.
A close up of the top of the plant.
...After that, we waved Goodbye to the billions upon billions of vehicles parked at the cable car station and we began our descent. And TF 21 turned into a bitch like the other roads I knew from earlier. But even more dangerous. Since it provided cliff-hanger opportunities at every turn. Plus it became so narrow that...Well, it became narrow. Difficult to go around a vehicle going the other way.
And during that new stressful driving experience, I looked upon another alien beauty of a landscape as jutting spikes, cut vertically, showed the crystals on their inside walls, shining in the last rays that the cliffs would allow. We entered the shade of Mount Teide. Some way down we had another stop. A last one before plunging into the forest crown again.
The best of the Martian terrain was behind us but we took what chances we had left.
An excellent place to shoot some westerns, I think.
And here be my last glimpse at the peak in the distance.
All that was left were a couple of hours down and down through the forest, into the sea of clouds. It was quite impressive itself but at the beginning, I could, again, find no place to park and shoot. That was possible much later. But at least it was possible.
The sun was already low, the forest felt chilly...And a helicopter was just going up and looking for somebody.
Not easy to see anything at all.
Well, that was a real mountain behind us, not a joke.
Travel far! Learn much! Stay safe!