Archive for December 5th, 2014
All The Right Signals At Guaza Mountain

Pastries, pies, turkey, and turron, with all those and a few cheeky beers heading in with the Christmas wave I thought it was about time I hit the Tenerife hiking trail again so I headed for my near neighbour Montaña Guaza.

I shouldn’t have been able to neglect the big ridge as it rises up from the Los Cristianos coast and hangs over the top of my apartment block but I reckon it’s five years since my feet last graced any of the paths that criss cross the upper plateau. Maybe it’s been too obvious to me and maybe the roaming stray dogs a couple of years ago put me off but the years melted away as I took the steep stone steps from Playa de Callao. It’s always a popular route and as I took big strides up the twisting pathway I could hear the clicking of hiking sticks from several other walkers ahead and behind me.

Los Cristianos opened up below with the mid morning sun bathing the old undeveloped beaches, the wide crescent of Las Vistas beach, and Playa de Las Americas beyond. The sea was calm as inter island ferries and pleasure boats glided in and out of port and the exceptionally low tide exposed plenty of damp sand with few early takers for sun bathing duty. That first big climb is just about the toughest bit so cresting the hill to flatter land felt good and the trails leading away gave me several choices of direction, I was determined to do both main routes.

Heading for the cliff top path I passed through remains of the old tobacco and tomato plantations, this protected reserve attracts many species of birds like the Chiff Chaff and Trumpeter Finch but although I heard their pleasant warbling they steered well clear of me. The route I was on passes up and down several barrancos, as I rose from the dip of one I could hear the loud cry of seagulls. Back near the cliff edge I peered over to see the seagulls wheeling in to their homes in the rock face. Just below them was a Spirograph layout of fish farm cages, many are now abandoned but the active ones are a big draw for sea life clearing up scraps of food.

Further barrancos were lined with piles of raw slate, this and other stone was quarried in large quantities years ago, the Masca lighthouse in the distance was built from the stone. Palm Mar soon came into view, there is a pathway down to the modern residential area and the Malpais de Rasca beyond. Some walkers loop back across the open land to the starting point but I headed inland with the communication aerials on the 428 metre peak my target. Stone walls separating terraces are a reminder of the agricultural use of this land and there are a couple of old houses in poor repair, I even found a clothes washing zone, dry now like the broken stone channels that used to feed it water.

The television, phone, and radio masts take a lot of installing and upkeep so wider tracks showed tyre marks but the recent rains had moved plenty of loose stone and shingle into the ruts so it shifted underfoot. Eventually reaching the steep final incline to the masts I got some great views down the other side of the mountain to Guaza, and the TF1 motorway heading off to Santa Cruz. There were two aerial compounds with unrestricted access through them, the second afforded me another view of Los Cristianos, It looked like it might just be possible to find a way down through the tufts of bushes to somewhere near my place but it would be a pretty stupid risk so I headed back from where I had come.

A downhill return trip is always quicker but it was still a bit tricky avoiding the smaller less grippy stones. A Land Rover from an aerial maintenance crew overtook me but made slow progress in the hope of keeping tyres and suspension intact. Including water, snack, and photo stops the whole trip took just over four hours, I reckon that’s my fuse lit for another season of trips up into the hills.