Archive for May 23rd, 2011
Vilaflor, There’s No Hiding The Beauty Of Tenerife’s Pine Country

What a nice morning greeting In Vilaflor, the statue of Hermano Pedro gazing across the quiet entry junction and a cockerel crowing his little voice box out in the distance. Driving up from Los Cristianos the temperature had dropped about 6 degrees and the air was cool, perfect for walking. It’s about time I got my lazy bones moving and sampled the walking trails again so I had met up with one of the regular Saturday morning groups armed with a back pack of smelly sarnies, bottled water, and my camera.

There were 8 and a half of us (including Ellie the dog) and we learnt a lesson from a previous trip out this way, this time parking low down where the TF-21 heads into Vilaflor and then walking uphill to the start point just above the village. That meant although we started with a tough uphill hike it wouldn’t be waiting to punish us later on.

The tajinaste plants were firing up nicely, the red colouring seeping up the tall stalks ready to devour the green tips resisting the advance of summer. All was very quiet and calm despite being a popular tourism area and just a few young voices rose from the football ground as we headed past and onto the opening of the trail. Moving up along the uneven path the pine trees soon rolled out below but the view was slightly obscured by the low cloud. On the plus side the air was cool and fresh, very welcome given the steepness of the rise. It didn’t take us long to stray from the path over a small assault course of rocks but the sight of the old iron water pipe up above drew us back to the main route.

Taking the tight meandering path we soon found ourselves at a large clearing near a rocky ledge peering down into a valley of pine trees. The wisps of cloud hanging in the air softened the impact of the drop but I still kept a safe distance from the edge. From there it was a downward trend at first on small furrows that later turned into clearly marked and maintained walkways, all of them through okra red dusty soil. The paths dropped steeply in places and tight corners really tested the grip of our footwear but we avoided any falling over.

Natures amazing rock sculptures and twisted fire tinged trees were a constant distraction, in places new channels had been carved by the heavy rains of a few weeks ago but the landscape seemed to just shrug off the worst weather as and when it intruded. We stopped at a large reservoir to have snacks and draw breath before another upward turn, there were a few choices of direction ahead but after a bit of back tracking we found the route we wanted that brought us up to a small cottage. The Finca Tabaluga has solar panels and a water butt to make it almost totally self sufficient, last trip I met the German owner but this time it was locked up, an idyllic setting but very remote.

The final stretch seemed easier, probably because we knew the end was in sight, a last big uphill hike and we were back out on the main road close to our start point. The cloud hadn’t burnt off and the air was still cool with the odd fleck of moisture, in all it had taken 4 hours that had sped by. Vilaflor always has plenty to offer, there are several other walks and variations close to hand but even under a cloudy veil this had been quite spectacular and rewarding.