El Pilar – Fuencaliente [Los Canarios]
This is the most popular one day walk on the Island following a ridge of volcanoes. Even while we were packing in the dark taxis were bringing walkers to the start. It is Sunday and lots of young walkers passed us throughout the day. Our plan was to get away early and do the climbing before the heat of the day. We had been told that the excessive heat we were experiencing was due to tropical air and dust from the Sahara – the Calima. Ahead of us in the trees were three seizmologists taking readings on the ground. There has been recent activity under La Palma but these three told us that it has diminished, still it was reassuring to have our personal warning team proceeding in front of us.
Slowly we gained the crest and weaved between volcanic cones on black ash paths.
Most of these erupted back in the 15 -16th century though Monte Negro on our right appeared in 1949.
On the left were seas of black larva flows, dramatic geological features set out before us.
Ahead were more volcanic cones but the track wound down into a large ash area with scattered trees, one of these trees gave us shade for lunch – the last of the tuna! Still at 1800m. On and on through the vast ash scenery as the temperature reached the 30’s with little shade from the scattered trees. We marveled at the tenacity of these trees to get a footing in the arid ash. This is dusty walking.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
‘If this were only cleared away,’
They said, ‘it would be grand!’
At the entrance into town there is a statue celebrating all the walkers who come this way and more importantly contribute to the local economy. Glad to oblige we headed straight to the nearest bar for refreshments. Near the statue we later found plaques recording results from recent Transvulcania Ultramarathons with unbelievable times now below 7hours for the 74km course.
We had a great little pension up a side street for the night. A shower washed off most of the sweat and dirt but when we shook our boots out we were amazed at the amount of black ash that fell out – sorry if we blocked any drains. A hidden restaurant in the lower part of town provided some fabulous food but dubious local wine.