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


Dennis said...

Great article, I will be adding this to my list of walks


Pink Elephant PR said...

Superb, as always! Oh to be back in Tenerife...

Real Tenerife said...

Thanks Dennis. It's a mind blowing place for walking.

Real Tenerife said...

Thanks Chris, I bet you miss walking up there.

scotrock said...

Are you familiar with the Bradford University Teide webcam?

It's not foolproof as the clouds can sometimes roll in but, otherwise, it's great for seeing what the weather is like up on high.