For A Different Masca Experience Just Add Water

Refreshed and vibrant, Masca barranco (ravine) welcomed ice cold mountain water that added a new dimension to my latest trek down the north west Tenerife hikers delight. The streaky remains of snow on Mount Teide were a clue as I arrived in Santiago del Teide with football friends Gordon and Martin from the Armada Sur. The mid morning April temperature was just 14 degrees as we changed from the 460 Titsa bus from Los Cristianos but the air was crisp and the sky was clear blue with just a few whisps of cloud.

This initial view never fails to deliver, our 355 mini Titsa chugged up the twisting road before we got the full on majesty of Masca village deep in the clasp of the rocks down below. As always the tight hairpin road was busy in both directions as cars, coaches, and a few cyclists bobbed, weaved, and slowly squeezed past each other. The tingle of anticipation was undeniable as we swapped the tarmac road for the shifting stones and dirt as we started our walk into the valley.

Just a few minutes down the first steep incline and I could hear the trickle of water through the greenery and a small dribble underfoot was a caution that this trip might be more challenging than usual. There was a good flow going under the wooden bridge a bit further on and small pools reflected the sun. The thawing snow from an unusually heavy coating on Teide’s peak was making its long journey down to the sea and leaving a grateful bounty in its wake. Trees and plants were showing off their fresh green foliage and bird song was competing with the water’s tune for top billing.

Turning a corner I was delighted to see a brace of Barbary Partridge, they looked plump and happy and were preening for their passing audience. There are many species of birds that call Masca home but they are usually easier to hear than see but the presence of water was given plants and animals a feeding bonanza. A little later on a clump of small trees bristled with activity and some blue tits led me a merry dance as I tried to get a pic. The light and shade deep down in the walk is also fascinating, bizarre rock formations reach up to the sky and large boulders seemed to balance on very tiny ledges, it seemed like a random sneeze might see us all being used as human skittles.

The increased water did call for more dexterity and a few alternative paths, streams that had previously been just been a distraction had now spread across so stone stepping was the order of the day, my toes soon got a wash through my trainers. Others were embracing the liquid, we passed a group who had stripped down and were braving the icy welcome of a bigger pool. Nature is very resourceful, plants were growing in some very precarious spots and thriving with the minimum of soil. It was trial and error in some places, picking out a route around the wetter spots, but that suited us fine. There were plenty of nationalities and ages along the route, Masca’s fame ensures a steady stream of new converts. Towards the end there was a little bottle neck as we negotiated a particularly tricky combination of a thin ledge and some steep rock steps down to a wide pool but we all got through.

With the smell of the sea in our nostrils, the promise of beer in our bellies, and the widening of the cliffs ahead we knew we were close to the large shingle beach and the end of our hike. It had taken us 3.5 hours, a little longer than usual but we were just in time for our water taxi to Los Gigantes. We had pre booked with Flipper Uno, follow this link to book and you can see they offer a range of sea based excursions. Our 20 minute sea trip was a great way to end the adventure as we anticipated a high tide of beer to toast our day.

April 12th, 2016 5:07 pm

Great photos. Went to Masca a couple of years ago but the weather was foggy so missed some lovely photo opportunities, so thanks for yours.