Despite its location on the other end of the island from our house, we found ourselves repeatedly drawn to the Teno mountain range. Today, we plotted out a hike which would take us from the highland village of Teno Alto, through strange, jagged landscapes, down to the coastal road that ends at Tenerife’s westernmost lighthouse.
We parked in Teno Alto, which is so tiny that it barely merits the word “village”. But there is a restaurant, so we were able to caffeinate ourselves before starting out. Despite the winsome size of the village, the cafe was strangely busy, and everyone was dressed in hiking gear. Turns out, the ancient trail which connects Teno Alto to the coast is popular … and as we’d find out, the reasons are pretty obvious.
The moderately difficult hike offered up amazing views throughout the day, starting with a “paisaje lunar” similar to the one we had seen near Vilaflor… not quite as spectacular, but much easier to reach. And that was just the beginning. From here, we entered into wide open mountain landscapes, with views stretching far out over the sea; La Gomera seemed implausibly close.
As we approached the seashore, we realized that were still way too high in altitude. And when we reached the edge of the cliff and still hadn’t started to descend, we started to get very concerned — especially since the GPS said we were definitely on the trail. But there: it was impossible to see from afar, but when you get right up to the edge, the path does continue, at a terrifyingly sharp angle. Not for those who suffer from vertigo!
Once we had scrambled all the way down to sea level, and congratulated ourselves on completing the descent, we realized two things. 1) With all our photo breaks, we had allowed the day to get quite late and the sun was already descending. 2) Every step down we’d taken down was another we’d have to take back up, very soon.
First, we enjoyed a restorative walk along the coast, until reaching a massive, abandoned greenhouse (which we would return to on another day). Here, we found the path back up — and it was every bit as grueling as we had feared. But with the sun going down too quick for comfort, we didn’t have the luxury of waiting around, and climbed as fast as we could.
The effort paid off, though, as we eventually came up over the plateau and the land leveled out, rewarding us once again with spectacular views over the coast, and a much easier return to the car. We arrived in the village too late for lunch, but treated our bellies to cheese, our minds to beer, and our legs to a well-deserved rest.