Wednesday, 6 May 2009

How to get lost walking in Tenerife

Here’s a confession which might raise a Roger Moore style eyebrow from anyone thinking of buying any of our Real Tenerife Walking guides…I have become lost many times during my exploration of Tenerife’s wonderful countryside.

I’ve followed forest paths in the Anaga Mountains where the vegetation has just become thicker and thicker as the path got smaller and smaller until I had to concede that a bird’s trail through some leaves didn’t constitute a path. I’ve trekked three hours to see the incredible Paisajes Lunar only to find the path ended at an outcrop above said rock formations…so close and yet so far (a bit of dry slope skiing sorted that dilemma out). I’ve reached crossroads in the middle of the forest above Garachico where every direction looked like a mirror image of the other three. My best was to spend an hour walking through dense laurel forest to end up at an outcrop about 20 metres from where I started.

Not much of a vote of confidence you might think; however there’s another side to this story.

On every occasion I had route instructions in my possession. Some were freebies provided by the Island’s government, some were ones which I’d bought. In some cases I was following signs which basically gave up the ghost at various points during the route, in others the route had been mysteriously changed by the powers that be and I ended up on a wild goose chase. In one ‘squeaky bum’ experience, the official route I was following fell away and I was left to inch my way along a narrow water course above a sheer drop into a bottomless abyss (the imagination doesn’t help at times like that).
I have certificates for map reading, so I always take a compass with me…not that it’s always helped; on one occasion the compass icon on the ‘route map’ I was using had north in the wrong place; which I didn’t notice until I’d gone way wrong. Eventually though, I’ve always found the right route.

The point is this there’s a big country out there. The more rewarding routes sometimes have the fewest walkers and, especially where there are forests involved, finding the right path is not always as easy as it might sound.

I guess what I’m really saying is that I’ve gotten lost walking all over Tenerife so that you won’t.

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