In the Devil’s Cauldron

Posted: July 23, 2008 in Nature, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Path through Las Cañadas

Path through Las Cañadas

For Sue’s last day we decide to attempt redemption by taking her on another walk.
You can’t come to Tenerife and not visit the crater; it’s such a unique and incredible place (and the fact that trails are well marked, added to the omnipresent Mount Teide looming above means that the chances for getting lost are reduced considerably).

We parked at Roques García (at this point I just have to say well done to whoever organised the renovation of the parking area. It all looks very nice, but now there are far less parking places than there were before…smart) and struck out along the Siete Cañadas path via the parador toilets and cafeteria where Sue became a victim of organised crime.

€1.90 for a small pack of chewing gum!!! The cashier might as well be wearing a striped jumper and have a pair of tights over his bonce (see also Dear Honey).

Munching on the world’s most expensive chuddie, we left the thieves den (aka the parador) behind us and struck out into the crater’s interior. Even though there were probably thousands of people in the crater, within a few minutes there were no signs of any other human presence; we were alone in alien terrain. Rocks changed from salmon pink to rust red, then black obsidian as smooth as smoked glass. Although the land is all a product of the volcano’s violent outpourings, the diversity of shapes and colour is surprising. Being in the crater is a humbling experience; the mountain looms large, its presence immense and it doesn’t require much imagination to understand why the Guanche worshipped it. The path meandered gently alongside weird and Dali-esque rock formations which would have visitors coo-ing in wondrous approval…if their coaches could transport them to within a few feet of them; thankfully they can’t.

Andy & Sue in Las Cañadas

Andy & Sue in Las Cañadas

Instead of following the Siete Cañadas trail to its end, we cut inwards back towards the mountain, stopping at a collection of low buildings, possibly a campsite, for lunch. Shelter from the sun is almost non-existent in the crater, so the porch of one building providing welcome shade from the unrelenting sun.

After lunch we continued on our way, completing a circuit which led us back to the Roques de García, pausing at only a couple of ‘false’ trails not shown on our map. This time there were no mishaps; the decision making process made easier by signs which read ‘Danger – Bees’ (at this time of year beekeepers bring their hives to the crater to collect pollen from the strange and beautiful tajinaste flowers) which were pretty major clues as to which was the wrong path to take.

There are a couple of things worth knowing about walking in the crater. The air is incredibly dry. You need plenty of water and Vaseline for your lips is essential unless you want them looking like a dried up river bed (not an attractive look).
The other thing is that, because of the altitude, things expand. Packets of crisps explode, water bottles bloat and, worst of all, so can your stomach which can lead to bouts of unwanted flatulence. Clearly not a place to go on a first date, or take someone you’re trying to impress. Thankfully it wasn’t a problem which affected me on this occasion. Just as well; added to the incompetent navigator and silly walk exploits of earlier in the week, a bout of uncontrollable flatulence reverberating around the crater would have put me firmly in the running for ‘geek of the year’ award.

As it happened, it was an uneventful walk, which was a refreshing change; no wrong turns, no challenging climbs or knee wrenching descents, just simply breathtaking scenery, silence and the feeling that we could have been the last people on the planet.

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