10.5km 👣 14m ⬆️ 1160m ⬇️
Today promised to be an easy day. I woke up pretty early and took my sleeping bag over to a conveniently placed rock, to stare up at the trees while I waited for the rising sun’s warmth to reach me. One of the great things about intentionally doing unambitious days of hiking has been having time in camp to chill out, watch the sunrise, and generally take our time. I love having time, space and that ‘full-silence’ you can only get in totally natural surroundings (or on silent retreats!). As I was taking the lead on navigation and logistics, I was still connected to my phone and wasn’t quite as much in ‘retreat mode’ as Sophie, who had barely touched her phone or talked to anyone other than me for days now, but I was still feeling relaxed in the way you only can when you’ve been immersed in a world far away from everyday life.
By the time we set off it was hot again and we’d got the worst bit of the day (in my opinion!) – smearing sunscreen lotion on top of sweat (eww!) – over with for a few hours. The path soon left the forest and wound steeply downhill, tacking across the slope, with clear views of Agaete, the absurdly named Puerto de las Nieves (“snow port”), and Teide on Tenerife in the background. The odd herd of goats entertained us, and as we got closer to the coast, the cliffs grew ever more dramatic.
We met another hiker who had come up from Puerto de las Nieves around this viewpoint and she was AMAZED that we were hiking in the heat, and on the steep path, with heavy bags, and had been doing so for a few days. It must look much harder than it is, I think, but it’s always flattering when someone treats you like you’re some kind of elite hiker even though you’re only doing about 6 miles, downhill, with snack breaks! She offered to take a picture of us, which was great, because we’d only managed selfies so far.
The last bit of walking involved a bit of road walking and because of the way we’d timed it, we arrived in the heat of the day, and once again with not much water left i.e. hot and thirsty! We decided to treat ourselves to a cafe lunch, which was gorgeous, and we nearly talked ourselves into swimming…we even got our swim suits on…but after realising just how cold the water is and how brutal everyone else’s attempts to go into the sea were, we changed our minds. (Actually, if I’m honest, having experienced how cold the sea was in Fuerteventura, I wasn’t very easy to persuade in the first place, so it wasn’t too difficult to change my mind when Sophie wavered!)
After a failed attempt to relax on the sand, we found a bit of pebbled beach that was sheltered from the (actually quite cold!) wind, and watched the ferry come in and out, until we both dozed off in the sun – the ultimate relaxation. Then we had our paddle (yes, I kept my fleece on for this!) and found it was time to head straight to our bus. Oops, we were meant to grocery shop!
It was a long bus journey – about two hours, including a short stop in the middle. We figured out that there was a supermarket near enough to this intermediate stop that we would probably just about have time to run to the supermarket, buy food for dinner and breakfast and run back to catch the next bus. Rushing around a large, unfamiliar supermarket where everything is labelled in a language you don’t speak, trying to remember everything you will need in the next 24 hours, while watching the clock is…an experience. It was tight, but we made it!
I chose the AirBnB we had booked Sophie’s final night primarily because it was 15 minutes walk from the airport (but not near any shops or cafes, hence The Supermarket Challenge). However, in addition to being a lovely little place in an extremely convenient location, it had one additional bonus: a hot tub in the garden! So we ended our hiking adventure in luxurious style.