Thursday, 29 April 2010

New Guide to Walking in Teide National Park

Hiking Highs - a detailed guide to walking routes in Tenerife's Teide National Park is now available to buy for delivery to your email.
So pull on the walking boots, smooth on the factor 15 and discover a world of surreal beauty all to yourself.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Walking in the Mount Teide Crater – Are You Prepared for Walking on Another Planet?

Our last blog was about walking in the incredible landscape of Las Cañadas del Teide, or the Mount Teide Crater. However, before you lace up your boots and head into this wonderful world, there are a few things to be aware of.

If you've never walked in the crater before be prepared for some surprises. The first is the sheer 'WOW' factor of standing in an epic landscape that is truly unique. Take the time to slowly survey the incredible terrain and the most fascinating and unlikely shapes are revealed; from surreal rock formations to rivers of knotted lava. And the colours are mind-blowing- it's hard to believe that Mother Nature could create so many contrasting tones out of just rock.

The second surprise after the vistas have stolen your breath away is that it doesn't come back...well not immediately anyway. Most hiking in the crater involves walking at altitudes which are 2000 metres plus;  a height which is significantly higher than the UK's highest peak, Ben Nevis which reaches up a vertically challenged 1344 metres into the sky. The air is thin up there and although altitude sickness doesn't usually affect people until around the 2400 metre mark, there's no doubt that you can feel the effects when starting out on walks. Breathing can be just that bit more laboured until the body acclimatises, so take it easy at the start.

Another factor to be aware of is that the air is also incredibly dry in the crater. After a few minutes your lips will dry out quicker than had they undergone a Guanche's mummification process. Leave them and after an hour of running your tongue over them, they'll feel as though you're licking the volcanic landscape itself – Vaseline keeps you smooth and soft.

Shade is virtually non-existent in the crater, so don't forget the hat. In winter it might feel on the 'fresh' side when you set off, but the heat from that big golden ball in the sky will soon make itself known to you with a vengeance.

Finally, and sticking to the subject of the sun, even when there are clouds above the coast, the chances are the sun will be shining on the place where the earth holds up the sky. In fact the lower the clouds are, the more chance it'll be clear skies in the crater (here's a simple tip if you want to walk in sunshine: if you can see cloud above Teide, don't go. If you can't see Teide for cloud, it should be sunny).
Stock up with plenty of water before setting out. Ideally, fill up with some sweet spring water at a recreation zone en route and then you won't have to sell the hire car in order to be able to afford a bottle of 'agua' from the Parador café.

After that, you're ready to leave the crowds behind and travel deep into one of the most unique walking terrains you'll find anywhere...on this planet at least.

Real Tenerife Island Walks - Walking Routes in the Teide National Park now available to buy for direct delivery by email within 24 hours

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Tenerife Walking Guides - Teide National Park.

I seem to have some kind of timing mechanism in my head which, if it doesn’t get away from a screen and into the mountains or valleys of Tenerife on a regular basis, starts to emit a dull whining sound which blocks all creative thought.
Of course, that’s just an elaborate way of saying that I can only survive so long before going on a walk – it’s food for the soul.

We’ve been trying to put the finishing touches to our latest Tenerife walking guide – Hiking Highs;Teide National Park – but we’ve been incredibly busy for months now (yay!!) and haven’t had time to map out the final route…until last Monday when we broke free and headed up into the crater.

We’d timed it perfectly as the high cloud that’s been hanging around for a couple of days finally lifted and Teide National Park lay below her customary intensely blue sky. The last vestiges of snow on the peak are diminishing daily as the sun climbs higher and now the spring flowers have burst into bloom. This is a wonderful time of year to go walking in the National Park.

Setting off from the El Portillo Visitor centre, the large white flowers of Teide broom and the elegant indigo stems of Tajinaste Azul accompanied us as we climbed gently above the crater, the twin peaks of La Palma emerging above the sea of clouds on our horizon.

It’s an incredible feeling to be in such a surreal landscape with the sun on your back and only the lizards and canaries for company. Mount Teide was her usual, stunning best and from our vantage point we could clearly see the path that leads over Montaña Blanca before climbing steeply to the summit. Skirting the edge of a spectacular gorge of wind-eroded rocks, we arrived at the top of the Arenas Negras volcanic cone. Then we regressed to giggling childhood as half running, half surfing, we descended its black cinder face, covering a distance in 15 minutes that had taken us 40 minutes to ascend.

Teide National Park is so many things; an alien landscape; a geological masterpiece; home to a mysterious creature known as the mouflon; a hiker’s paradise and a giant playground where you can take a cable car white knuckle ride to see an archipelago in satellite mode and surf volcanoes. Where else on this planet can boast as much?

The Hiking Highs;Teide National Parkwalking guide is now available to buy and have delivered directly  to your email within 24 hours.