First of all, you might be wondering where the cool selfies of the handsome bald guy are. Well, they’re on my phone, but I dropped it while taking more selfies on top of the Teide and it’s broken. Actually, everything seems to work except for 75% of the screen. I can see and hear messages coming in, but I can’t unlock it 😦
So far the sad news, because I’ve actually had an amazing 24 hours! Yesterday I drove my rental car up to the Teide. That’s the dormant volcano on Tenerife which, at 3718m, also happens to be the highest mountain of Spain. I parked the car near the gondola which is at an altitude of about 2000m. The gondola goes up the Teide. From the station on the mountain it’s a 30 minute walk to the top. Obviously I came to walk up.
The first leg, to the refugio, which is sort of a hostel (the only one) on top of the mountain, took me 2.40h. The first hour was pretty easy, but after that the trail became quite steep and the altitude affected my coordination and stamina. So I decided to take it easy. Close to the refugio I passed by three older gentlemen who were walking very slowly. As I came closer I noticed that one of them was guiding another with a large stick. He turned out to be blind. That was an impressive sight! I made it to the refugio around 20:15. Just before sunset.
The refugio has very basic facilities. A couple of large dorms for 54 people, a basic kitchen and some toilets. You have to bring your own supplies and you can’t leave any garbage. I brought plenty of food so I made myself a simple dinner, had a look at the stars and tried to get some sleep. With the emphasis on tried 😦
I guess I wasn’t the only one who didn’t sleep much, because everyone was up way to early. When they all left the dorm I got out around 05:00, packed my bag, had some breakfast and I left for the top. Obviously it was dark when I started hiking. Of course I came prepared with my little headlight. Which I had tested the day before and stocked with new batteries. But didn’t work anyway 😦 Luckily the sky was clear and there were a lot of stars so I decided to use Mother Nature’s light. Apart from the annoying people blinding me with their neon lights time after time, that worked fine. The hike was steep and again the altitude had its effect. This time the lack of oxygen slowed me down. The views on the stars, the clouds and the cities along the hike up where amazing! The volcanic landscape, with crazy rock formations, enhanced the ‘’wow’ effect. It must have been one of the most humbling things I’ve ever seen. After 1.40h I made it to the top.
Just a couple of meters before the top I walked through a warm cloud of not so pleasant smelling volcanic gases. A couple of steps further I found some people hiding from the wind between the rocks. After having a look at the top I decided to do the same. It was still dark and there wasn’t much to see yet. The wind made it very cold although the actual temperature was around 5’ Celsius. Around 07:30 the sun started to rise and it was a spectacular thing to watch. The sun was so bright that it was impossible to look at it for more than a few seconds. Looking the other way, the Teide casted a huge pyramid shaped shadow over the Island even reaching the Island of La Palma. I also got a glimpse of La Gomera and Gran Canaria.
Around 08:30 I started the descent. Once I left the top area, the sun provided some welcome warmth. So much that I decided to walk in a t-shirt. Along the way I encountered some people running to the top. Some even brought dogs. Crazy folks… The way down went way faster and I reached my car after exactly 3 hours of hiking.
The entire experience is one of the best things I’ve done in this lifetime! I can recommend it to anyone who is able to. Once I’ve fixed the problem with my phone I will upload the photos and the video that I shot.