The final chapter, another easy day that wasn’t.
The tram took us back up to La Laguna and that was the easy bit. We walked up the nearest hill, good view back to La Laguna, but our way from there looked awkward so we dropped down to the road again and picked up the ‘correct’ lane further on. Higher up we met a Dutch couple who seemed to be in completely the wrong place, they were using an alternative Kompass map which didn’t seem much better than ours. As we climbed the lane numerous runners in various states of exhaustion were pounding down. Obviously some sort of training run was in progress and the only person to stop and chat said they had already done 20k on a circuit from La Laguna. Higher up a farmer tending his frisky cattle gave us some indication of a route through to Santa Cruz. At the highest point we rested whilst more runners came through. A track led off in the right direction through cacti and other prickly shrubs. All was going well and we met up with a ‘Camino Lecheras’ which promised a continuing way. Research later has shown this was the route for transporting dairy products from La Laguna to Santa Cruz. This was quoted on one site – La vegetación predominante en esta zona es una variedad del cardonal tabaibal, abundando bejeques, balos, cornicales, faro, incienso, verode, cerrillo, mato risco, tederas, tasaigo, magarza, pitera, gomereta, jediondo, culantrillo y otras. I think we must be missing something. Anyhow we managed to loose that camino and took our own way down to the road at Valle Jimenez where we thought we had found our route. Crashing through undergrowth brought us onto a lane heading in the right direction. Then it was hopefully back up a cleared path, Lamesa, seemed to be going somewhere but ran out at the upper road near some transmission stations. We were challenged by security as to what we doing but when we said walking to Santa Cruz our obvious stupidity allowed us through. The embarrassing thing was that we could soon be retracing our steps. At a view point we could see Santa Cruz and decided to make a break for it down ancient terracing. All went well and soon we were on a road which zigzagged all the way into town. We celebrated our completion, almost, with a beer in a cafe near the port.
Next morning we relaxed over breakfast and repacking. A stroll through town to the market and then the emblematic Auditorium, an arching concrete structure. Past the inviting ‘lido’ was the Palmetum where we spent an hour marveling at the diversity of botany. Back to the bus station for lunch and the transfer to the airport.
Life is not always a bowl of cherries – the morning after at the bus station.
Snow on our local fell has not melted since our return.
So we walked almost coast to coast across Tenerife. The GR131 only existed between Arona and La Esperanza and was excellently waymarked. The bits we did at either end linking to the ports, surely the original idea of a route through the Canaries, were virtually nonexistent. With a little more research we could have found a better way through what is good walking territory, it was good fun trying. Can’t imagine the local authorities will get round to completing the route.
On to the next Island….