Tunte – Cruz Tejeda.
In Tunte there is a church dedicated to Santiago [St. James] and one in Galdar at the North end of the Island, between them is one of the ancient Camino Reales which has been recovered by the Cabildo Insular [Regional Government]. A pilgrimage route has been established along this although the route itself is pre Spanish Conquest and Christianity. So today we can complete our GR131 and start a pilgrimage after our obligatory coffee in Plaza Santiago, I still haven’t got used to the taste of the local Canarian coffee, don’t know what they put in it. We spend the next 4 hours climbing up into the centre of the Island. Initially on a steep made up path through pines to the road at Cruz Grande and a rest whilst looking over Tunte and further to the East coast. Across the road is the start of a magnificent cobbled track zigzagging through steep volcanic scenery. At the top the path goes across bare rock, and we stop for a snack [tuna again] as runners pass through. The day is passing, and we don’t seem to have gone far on the map, but the ground levels out through a pine forest growing out of the ash and magma below the highest point of the Island, Pico de Las Nieves 1949 m, which being military is out of bounds.
At Garanon there is a youth camp, and we can get a coffee from a machine, the huts have an appearance of a concentration camp, so I hope the kids survive.
Suddenly we are on a balcony path looking out to all the famous landmarks of Gran Canaria – Roques El Fraile, Nublo, Bentayga, Mt. Altavista and distant Mt. Teide on Tenerife. Some scenery and we are just in time as the mist starts to role in. Onwards to Cruz de Tejeda and a warm welcome back at El Refugio for the night. It is surprising how quickly the temperature drops up here once in mist, and we are glad of heating in the rooms. Later we are treated to a spectacular sunset over Mt.Teide.