GR 131 Tenerife
GR 131 Tenerife / Arona – Villaflor
20 km – rise 1400 meters – 400 meters drop – supplies Arona, bar Ifonche, Villaflor
At the Plaza Cristo in Arona I’ve got a solid water supply which made my backpack a few kilos heavier. I left the sleepy village that seems to take a ‘siësta’ and I’m immediately impressed by the beautiful nature.
Winding on dusty trails along old terraces for agriculture, far under me I see the dark blue sea glittering and colourful paragliders hover above my head. Before I know it I’ve lost the winding path, an our later, bush crafting over jagged rocks and falling into a giant cactus I finally come back on to the GR 131, a good start!
I walk further and start a strong climb in a blackened pine forest due a fierce forest fire. After 1400 meters altitude and a little more than 20 kilometres I arrive in the lovely village of Villaflor. I buy a water supply and some nuts for the next day, walked a few extra kilometres firmly up and put my tarp next to a stone footpath.
GR 131 Tenerife / Villaflor – Montaña de las Arenas Negras
31 km – rise 1260 meters – 625 meters drop – supply Villaflor, El Parador, El Portillo
I wake up with a big peel of ice on my down sleeping bag. I’m hopping around to keep myself warm.
Soon, the heat returns. The road goes up and winds through a beautiful pine forests. The panorama changes and I find myself suddenly in a moon landscape with black lava sand. Nothing grows and the route is only recognized by the stones on the sides of the path. After a time the strange landscape turns into a climb full of large yellow rocks. It is quite a scramble now. I’m happy when I’m on top and got rewarded with a nice view. This is the highest point of the GR 131 Tenerife.
Comfortably I wander down and suddenly the volcano El Teide emerges from the fast moving clouds. I make some couscous with dried vegetables and enjoy the view while eating.
After a short but steep descent I had to go for an extra seven kilometres walk to the tourist spot of Parador to fetch water. In this piece, which oddly enough is not very nice, I’m suddenly meet a lot of day trippers. For the rest, I’ve never came across anyone yet.
After my water supply I walk on towards El Portillo. A wide path goes sluggish continuing in the blazing sun. I walk through a stunning volcanic landscape, see mountain goats higher up sharply jump from rock to rock as the sun begins to set behind the tall volcano. I put the trailstar up in the soft lava sand.
At night I see an incredible starry sky, I only saw something like that already in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It is very cold and my sleeping bag is closer to the limit temperature than its normal temperature. In the morning my water is frozen and I wait for the sun which still hides behind the Montaña de las Arenas Negras.
GR 131 Tenerife / El Portillo – La Caldera
17 km – rise 300 meters – 1100 meters drop – supply El Portillo, La Caldera
In El Portillo I do a resupply of water and drink a coffee to warm me up. I’ve lost the GR 131 Tenerife track for a moment and start some downhill bush craft. All in all I am glad to have my GPX track and be back on the trail after a few kilometres. I have a magnificent view of the lush green forests and fast moving clouds under me. It is now primarily downhill true woods with Canary pine trees that thrive perfectly on the volcanic soil.
After a while I see the sparkle of the sea. Colourful houses stabbing in the distance against the Atlantic coastline. It’s going up and down and finally I arrive in El Caldera. I drink a cold beer in a very typical Spanish café and store water. The next 30 kilometres there are no houses or villages and so my backpack is again five kilos heavier. I walk a few kilometres, come along a signpost with the E7 indicated on it and after a steep climb I find a beautiful camp site in the green rainforest.