Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A hike in the Canadas at the base of El Teide

On our drive up to the national park surrounding El Teide, where you are in danger of park rangers roaring up in their SUVs and shaking their finger at you and hissing "No! Parque Nacional!" if you accidentally leave the path, we stopped off at a scenic turnout and enjoyed the view of La Gomera next door. I'd like to go back there and back into the spoooooky-oooky foggy forests, supposedly the biggest existing laurel forest in the world. Call me a weirdo, but I like foggy hiking places. My first trip into the Sächsische Schweiz was in the late winter in 2003, and my jaw literally dropped because it looked just like some of my favorite Romantic paintings.

Caution! It truly was a high mountainous area at 2250 meters elevation. The air up there only has 25% humidity making lots of drinking water an absolute must. Dry lips and skin were also a result of this 4 hour trek. My personal favorite tip is to not walk near ledges while taking photos, in the middle at the bottom of the sign.

Here's El Teide, Spain's highest mountain. Kid 1 was with us in 2007 when we were in Tenerife, and he was only 13 months old then. He had an impressive vocabulary even then, and shouted out "El Teide, El Teide!" every time we saw the mountain. Kid 2, who is 14 months now, does not have such an advanced vocabulary. I think "Teide" slipped out of his mouth maybe once on this trip. Other words? No. He's too busy climbing everything he comes near to talk. His main modes of communication are nodding, shaking his head, throwing things down, pointing and saying "This, this" or pointing and saying "AAAAAAAAH!" in his shrill little voice.

Here are some shots of the landscape, which was pretty impressive on this hike. Each of these formations probably has a name, but I didn't take the time (or didn't exactly have the time, considering my duties as mother of kid 1 and kid 2 and my resulting lack of concentration) to look them up. All in all this was a nice hike, made much more difficult than it actually is by lugging around a one year old in a baby backpack and adjusting our pace for a 4-year-old. It was doable for all, though rather exhausting for the distance (8-10 km? We aren't sure because the distances on the maps didn't prove to be very reliable...what appeared to be 2 km turned out to be nearly 4 on one stretch) because of the thin and dry air. I found the first part the most interesting, starting at the Parador and walking among all of the rock formations, after we went the first leg of the trip we were walking toward El Teide where it was relatively flat and aside from the view of Teide, not so scenic.

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