I followed the same demanding route, but this time when I reached the shelter the sky was cloudless and the white houses on neighbouring Gran Canaria still visible. Cold it was, but that was easy to dismiss, what with the excitement of finally being able to contemplate the stunning view from 3,718m above sea level.
Photo Left - (Top) A view of Teide from Tenerife. (Under/hidden photo) Lucy continues her ascend of Teide.
Once again we were awoken way before dawn – the norm for those who stay in the Refugio de Altavista overnight. Twenty five people set off from the shelter at 5am and an hour or so later only five fools were left, blindly clinging to the mountain as an icy wind threatened to blow us off our feet. Again I began to envisage the headlines ‘Stupid hikers refuse to turn back’, ‘Brit blown from mountaintop in indomitable expedition’ and decided that to continue would be futile.
I huddled between two rocks, while my fellow hikers made their way to the peak. What seemed like an hour later, two returned urging me to continue – it was only five minutes to the summit they insisted. I conceded and grabbed a hand that was being offered. True enough, in five minutes we reached Spain’s highest point, or so they tell me. Rather than the impressive views I’d heard so much about I couldn’t even see my own feet. I relished the triumph for 30 seconds and suggested descent.
Back at the refugio the sensible ones were nervously awaiting our return, but we barely stopped to exchange pleasantries, wanting to get back to our respective homes and hotel rooms without delay.
The downward trek was a disheartened one, but disappointment was replaced with sheer frustration when we reached the road and turned back to look at Teide. The peak was clearly visible with not one cloud obliterating the view.
Friends think I’m foolish for wanting to try the hike again, reminding me of the adage that bad things often come in threes, though I prefer to think that my next attempt will prove that the third time’s a charm. And as much as I’m tempted to join the multitude taking the cable car to the summit, Teide has thrown down the gauntlet and I won’t cross it from my travel wish list until I scale it on foot and enjoy the views I’ve heard so much about.
Return to Story Top Page: Teide - Walking With Volcanoes
Next Story: Travel Through Germany
Go to my Canary Islands Travel Guide
Learn more about Spain Walking Trails