17.4km 👣 418m ⬆️ 923m ⬇️
We woke up to a glorious sunrise. It was only a short wander over to the ridge, where we each sat in awe, watching the sun climb above the flat blanket of clouds it had just broken through and slowly warm the peaks we had admired yesterday. Silence and beauty.
After sunrise, breakfast, and the usual camp sort out, we set off for our first goal of the day: a refuel stop in Artenara. On the way we passed some caves – Cueva De Los Candiles – but at least from where we were, there wasn’t much to see. As one online ‘reviewer’ of the caves put it, “cool hike to get there but the cave is behind a gate.” More interesting, to Sophie at least, were the horses we passed. She climbed up to get a closer look and discovered an amazing view of Teide on Tenerife behind them, just hidden from the path.
We’d done the calculations to work out that we could have a long, lazy stop in Arternara, and I had made a mental list of ‘resupply jobs’ I wanted to get sorted there (get water, eat lunch, buy food, charge phone, wash pants!), so we took our time when we did arrive. Artenara is a small, attractive town – the highest town on the island – and it seemed to be hiker-central, at least when we were there! Nearly every table at the two cafes we could see were taken up with hikers – more than any I’d seen for the rest of the trip! We sat outdoors at a cafe table in the sun along with the rest of the foreigners – as someone who grew up in the tropics and was always taught to get out of the sun in the heat of the day, I felt very self-conscious! – and waited for what turned out to be rather slow service…a perfect excuse for us to laze around and procrastinate setting off again.
Most of the day’s hike was still ahead of us though, so after checking out the incredible views and admiring the house-caves (houses built backwards into the rock), we did eventually set off again. We were quickly rewarded by a viewpoint with a signpost to the Polar Star! From there the walk was lightly forested for most of the way, with changing views of the Gran Canarian mountains, and in the distance, Teide, through the trees. I guided Soph up (steeply up!) my first navigational error of the trip – quickly caught! – but otherwise we just chatted as we made our way towards Tamadaba.
I had assured Soph that today’s walk was shorter than yesterday’s, with less uphill, but as we neared the end, and climbed yet another slope, it probably didn’t feel like this was true. Our conversation waned and Soph’s blisters became ever more frustrating and painful. We debated camping early, but as this would have meant I had to walk quite a distance (and back) to refill water anyway, we pressed on. And then we spotted…wait for it…a running stream!!! We didn’t refill, because we had been assured that Tamadaba (a sort of rural, basic picnic area and campsite) had a water tap, but we mentally clocked it as somewhere we could return to if we needed. A running stream is a rare sight in these dry hills, and was quite a weight off my mind, as I hadn’t had a really good backup plan if the tap at Tamadaba wasn’t running after all.
Then, suddenly, just as I was checking the map and trying to decide between our various options, Sophie spotted picnic tables through the trees. We wandered into the picnic area and found not only a running water tap (it was the first thing we checked!) but also – and this about took my breath away – flushing loos! And toilet paper! Let’s just say, sometimes things appear exactly when you most need them.
The sun was once again putting on a blow-your-mind show, this time with Teide as a dramatic backdrop. We found a pretty good place to camp a little away from the picnic area, and set to work on the usual camp chores, which included boiling litres and litres of water (to make it drinkable) this time. After a good few hours away from our phones (except for navigational purposes) I managed to find a bar of signal to tell the lads back home that all was well, before we turned in for another night’s sleep.