Wednesday, January 25, 2012

La Palma Days 5 & 6: Caldera

Caldera, Caldera, Caldera...always this Caldera in view.  The Caldera is a giant hole in the middle of La Palma, created by the collapse of one of the volcanoes that formed the island.  Originally, this volcano was around 4000 meters high, then it just imploded, leaving a couple thousand meters of mountains. 

The Caldera is such an ever-present feature of this island that it warranted visits 2 days in a row.  Originally, we planned a hike from a high point down into a valley where you can walk through a riverbed and back to civilization.  After the drive up the the starting point of the hike, which involved, oh, at least 15 kilometers of winding, narrow, pretty much one-lane mountain streets with hairpin curves and bus and taxi drivers driving like they're on the Autobahn, I pretty much said, and I quote:  "(Insert expletive here) this.  This trail is crap and I'm not walking down because my knees already hurt."  Anyway, it was too late to start the hike.  The signs at the top said specifically, DO NOT start the hike after noon because you will get lost,  fall off the mountain and die.  It was about 12:01 when we got to the top, so that was enough adventure for one day for me.  We opted instead for a fun drive back down the 10 kilometers of hairpin curves where I knew my certain death was lurking around every corner and a hike in the riverbed which would have been the goal of the first, much longer and much more treacherous original hike.  Unfortunately, at this point my camera's battery had opted to off itself rather than risk falling off the side of a mountain, so I couldn't take any pictures of the truly cool riverbed where we actually did take a little walk.  It was full of giant boulders and actually quite scenic.  It was also not without its challenges, a lot of the walk involved balancing on stones to cross the river, which also robbed the whole affair of fun for me.  I am not so well-balanced and don't like we turned around after a while and headed back.  Enough fun for one day!

Look at those streets and look at those paths!

The next day a certain someone was full of gusto and decided to hike around the rim of the Caldera. I didn't join this hike, though eyewitnesses told me that even I could have handled it, even considering my fear of heights and occasionally questionable sense of balance.  Instead of challenging myself even more, I relaxed on our rented balcony and read a book about Chernobyl.  Two days of Caldera are enough for me, the next installment is the Cumbre!

1 comment:

nazmulamine said...

This is nice picture for our culture