Tallest mountain in the Atlantic, Third largest volcano in the world - El Tiede
El TIede Travel Blog› entry 4 of 40 › view all entries
I woke up to a beautiful dayâ€¦â€¦beautiful! The sun was high in the sky and the clouds that were there, were wispy. Given this beautiful state of thingsâ€¦â€¦.today, El Tiede, was a must.
El Teide was a mythological mountain with Aboriginal reministencias Guanches, like Mount Olympus was to the ancient Greeks. El Teide is a volcano of Vesuvius type. At 3718 m above sea level, and approximately 7500 m above the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, it is the highest mountain in Spain, highest point in the Atlantic Ocean and last erupted in 1909.
From Puerto de la Cruz I took the northern route, there are three routes in to the National Park del Tiede. I headed north, through La Orotava, and got my first glimpses of its dramatic snow-covered peak.
The first section of park that I entered has low brush type of plants and then that changed to more dramatic Canary pines forest. This part looked much like the Rockies of North America.
Within 15 ďż˝ďż˝" 20 minutes, it looked like we were on a different planet. The higher the elevation and the further south I went, the more alien it became. The vegetation all but vanished. The ground was not chunks of lava much like I saw in Iceland and in this area had lichen growing on much of the lava. The earth was colors with varying shades of rust and brown, a few pines in vibrant green and lichen in muted blue/green/gray. Some areas already looked a bit desert likeâ€¦.more to come!
The temperature had gotten much cooler as I was at 1800m (5400 ft) and it was quite windy. This stop was more dramatic.
Moving along, my next stopâ€¦..had some snow, involved. The lava rocks were fewer, more desert like but, the rocks that were there were sculpture ďż˝ďż˝"like, and the greenery was like decorationâ€¦..very different. This area looked more like the southwest part of the USâ€¦for comparison. The ground was rolling and undulating and with the snow patches, it made for good sledding as many were enjoying.
I continued on, soon there was a massive black ring (caldera) of lava (Montana Guajara) with dramatic peaks and a dusting of snow. I was at 2250m (6750 ft). It was now really cold!!! There was also a desert at the bottom of the caldera, rich orange/red in color. It is an area active with volcanic gas venting so, the color is due to high mineral content.
From this spot I could also see much of the Pico de Tiede at 3718m (11,300 ft).
My final stop was the Los Rocques de Garcia. It is a very dramatic area with much to see. There are massive lava stone monoliths, artistic creations that only Mother Earth could create. The most famous is Chinchado, which is the park emblem. It looks like a stone fist. These are all examples of the effects of erosion cutting away the weak stone and leaving the tougher stone behind.
I had intended to continue southwest and see more of that area but, just past the Los Roques de Garcia visitorâ€™s center there was a barricade blocking the road. You could see that just a hundred meters or so past it the road wasâ€¦..gone!
So, I could do nothing but, turn around and go back the way I came.
Traveling north through the park, I turned off to head to Santa Cruz and passed the space observatories of Izana. It looks like strange skyscrapers up on top of this mountain areaâ€¦.strange.
Clouds were coming in from all different sides, now and it made for a mystical quality to experience.
As I traveled the Miradors on North Central Tenerife, I was presented with more other-worldly views. There was an area where the road had been but through the mountain side that revealed the many colorful layers of lava and sediment that had gotten trapped during the flow. It even showed the directional force differences that the material went through. It was amazing.
Views of the north central coast and its development came and went around each curve.
I crossed back over the islandâ€™s spine and found new magic awaiting, jagged mountains with green forest in the middle and a sea of clouds at the baseâ€¦..just makes you tingle.