Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

Walking and Warnings in the Teide National Park


A week without posting – it’s a long time since that happened I think, at least when I’m “at home.” The reason being a visit from my younger son, Guy.

Guy left Tenerife in 2002, so ten years already, but more about musings on empty nests and such at another time.

Right now I am sitting here editing (although little, if any, editing is needed) some photos we took yesterday on a gentle hike in the Teide National Park, and because I am a little tired tonight I thought I would share them in lieu of anything deeper.

I’ve written a couple of times recently, and several in the past, about the Teide National Park. It’s a World Heritage Site as well as a National Park, and is, basically, the enormous crater of a volcanic eruption which left El Teide, Spain’s highest mountain not only at its center, but at the center of the island too. Oh, it might not be geographically the center, but it is as if the island radiates outwards from its peak, even though this area is not the oldest part of the island. Legends abound, the landscape is described as “lunar” or “fantastic” or “surreal”, tourists are gobsmacked, hikers relish the challenges and photographers fall in love with this landscape, and here it is:

OK. This photo is just a little self-indulgent because that tha’ mountain is the one I summited in January, when I slept in a cave, which is the other side from this photo, but I couldn’t resist. This is Guajara, the stuff of legends.

And so is this.

And finally…… thanks to the miracles of modern cameras – the intrepid hikers together.

Actually, perhaps I should get serious for a moment here. Yesterday, as we were messing about with this photo,  a hiker died on the neighboring island of Gran Canaria from heat exhaustion. We are experiencing dense calima, despite these blue skies in the mountains, which rise above the clag, and a heatwave of serious proportions, an Orange Alert, in fact, unusual for this time of year. What you can’t see on this photo are the bottles of water we had stashed in front of us. We intended only a short hike, and we were within an hour of the parador, but dehydration isn’t always what you think it is. It isn’t, necessarily,  a raging thirst and burned lips the way you see it in the movies;  simply feeling sluggish, some confusion, a headache, a dry mouth or even slight dizziness can be indicators. Yesterday we noticed several people, who seemed to be walkers,  in the café of the parador drinking beers. Now, I love an ice cold beer on a hot day as much as anyone, but only if I am hydrated in the first place, otherwise, the alcohol does just the opposite – it dehydrates you – and, guys, I can promise you there is nothing manly or macho about being a beer drinker so far as the ladies see it. Needless to say, hats, or some other head covering, and suncreams are also essential items in your pack. On this morning my son had done a two hour run, we passed several walkers who had clearly done the entire four-hour walk, and we spied, from a distance a party of young guys having fun doing some rock climbing. One thing I know for sure is that they all made sure they made provision for re-hydration in their exercise. When we heard about the death on the news this morning we were saddened by how easy it is to prevent. OK it’s too early for an autopsy report, and maybe the person had some other health issues, but hydration is quite simply – replacing the liquid your body loses, in other words, drinking sufficient water, not soda, or beer or coffee but water. Once you know you’re well hydrated (and check the color of your pee if you have doubts – it should be pale as pale, if it’s yellow you’re dehydrated) by all means indulge.

It’s sad to think that whilst we were having fun and enjoying a walk in the sun someone else was suffering whilst doing the same thing.


Author: IslandMomma

Exploring island life and the freedoms of Third Age: Challenging myself every day: writing, traveling, snapping pix, running & teaching ESL

6 thoughts on “Walking and Warnings in the Teide National Park

  1. It is sad when someone perishes for lack of simple common sense. I always tell my photo tour clients to be sure to bring plenty of water.

  2. It’s fairly simple, isn’t it. I was almost not going to write that because I kind of assumed that everyone knew already. As the local press are now reporting it the person was 78 years of age. Personally, I don’t see that that should be a factor so long as the walk was adequate to their general health. Two other folk on the same hike were also treated in hospital, so it does sound as if they were badly prepared, and sadly, it was an organized walk, so the guides have some responsibility. Still, people really, really should know this stuff, and not leave it all to the experts. We are not talking climbing Everest or traversing the Sahara here!

  3. Looks like a wonderful place to hike around. I loved Tenerife when I went there but was too much in to partying (I was only 20). Would love to go back now with my older and wiser eyes.

  4. Wonderful photos from Tiede National Park, Linda. They really show the dramatic, rugged geology of the island.

    I heard about the deaths on Gran Canaria and was saddened that anyone has suffered from heat stroke/dehydration. It’s really so easy to become dehydrated when walking in the heat if you don’t drink sufficient water. I prefer to take mine in a hydration system (camelback) that way I don’t have to stop to get a bottle from my rucksack and ensure I keep sipping. We are lucky that we can drink the running water in the hills in Scotland without worrying about treating it. Well, I don’t treat it as I think I’ve built up natural immunity from a childhood living in the country and playing outside in the fields.

    We had no worries about water shortage on Saturday as we were walking in the snow! In May! On the west coast of Scotland (that is usually warmed by the Gulf Stream)! But it’s more like seasonal weather this week.

  5. Thanks for the compliment on the photos. I love May here, though, like elsewhere, it can be unpredictable. If the weather isn’t bad, it’s wonderful clear skies and no extreme heat. When I explained the concept of “ne’er cast a clout, till May is out” to a Spanish friend this morning she totally grasped it right away!

    I gather that the party in GC which had problems were on an organized hike, which is doubly worrying. I don’t know the details yet, but it’s an area which isn’t very well controlled on this island, at least, apparently. I spoke with someone about it just today, and given that the island government wants to encourage this kind of tourism, they have a long way to go in educating and licencing proper guides, and also putting out much more information. I think you have to accept that there are people who will walk when on vacation who don’t do much normally, or at least haven’t done much over winter, or in heat, so they need guidance. I can’t speak of Gran Canaria, because it’s a separate jurisdiction when it comes to these things.

    Actually, you can drink the water in the mountains here. You can, in fact, drink the tap water. The reason we don’t is twofold. One: it doesn’t taste too good because of all the stuff they use to make sure it’s safe in the heat, and two: there are a lot of mineral traces in the natural water (including the bottled local water) and there are many folk with kidney problems on account of this. It’s entirely natural, just porous and mineral-rich rock over which the water passes. So bottled water from elsewhere is the rule for many. That said, if you had to drink spring water in the mountains as a one off it wouldn’t harm you. The problem, of course, is finding an open spring, because most are underground, but quite a few people take bottles and containers up to villages where there is a supply and fill them up, rather than buy bottled.

    I actually envy you the snow – I thought I might get a chance to “toughen up” when I walked in the Lake District back in March – but, of course, there was a heatwave!

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