Burning the Lava Trail From Icod To Garachico

Standing at the top of a near 400 year old twin lava flow and looking down at a sinking skull. My toes were tingling as I left the church at San Juan del Reparo and followed the sign to shadow the path that wiped out most of Garachico in the 1706 eruption.

What a beautiful crime scene, contrasting destruction and rebirth at every step. Perspective changes views, the offshore volcanic spitbristled with bird life but from my lofty perch, its empty eye socket fixed a mocking stare at the source of its dark origin. Pine trees now sprout healthily out of the hill side and the descent is a smooth 90 minute zig zag towards the Garachico church plaza.

My curiosity did lead me astray before spotting the real route beyond a modern estate. Taking a rough but clearly used trail, I found an old sealed water gallery. The hills in and around Icod are peppered with them, many unmapped and forgotten. In 2007 heavy rain caused the water table to rise and gasses were forced into tunnels being explored by visitors near Los Silos. Six people died and a big clampdown was made on the old galleries.

Back on the main trek, there were warnings of possible rock slides but heat was my only irritant, a good supply of cold water was my solution. As the path lowered, the horizon broadened, Los Silos lighthouse was visible to the west and the San Marcos coast stretched out in the opposite direction. The natural rock pools of El Caleton looked welcoming below but restrictions on times and numbers make it an elusive treat during these Covid days.

Old above ground water pipes and pumping stations were testaments to peoples ingenuity and determination to tame their charred landscape. Not many other people passed me on the walk, the heat of the day had chased most sensible folk to seek shade and cold drinks. Apart from the odd bird cry and church bell, a calm mood hung in the air. Garachico was a fine reward for my wander, there is plenty to enjoy at the top end of the trail as well, the settlements on the way into Icod are worth exploring. The descent itself was like peeling back the years and gave me a whole new appreciation of this part of the Tenerife coast.