Vast lava fields surround Spain’s tallest mountain at Teide National Park. The 3,719-meter Teide Peak is a tempestuous volcano crowned by a deep caldera, surrounded by a national park with UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Hiking to the peak takes six hours—luckily the cable car takes only eight minutes. On the way to the park, stop at La Tarta, an overlook near a cross-section of earth where you can see the multicolored layers of volcanic ash deposited by millennia of eruptions.
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Surreal Walk Along Teide
I rode the bus from La Orotava to Teide National Park (Spain's largest national park). Hairpin curve by narrow hairpin cure -- through a coniferous forest, weaving between the clouds, and emerging beyond in the crater encircling the volcano Teide. The ascent took two hours but the scenery was so engaging that the ride seemingly passed in minutes.
I've the option of disembarking at the base of Teide and riding a funicular to the top, or continuing on to the Parador de Canadas del Teide (the Visitor Center.) I choose the Visitor Center, the origination point of several hiking trails varying in length and difficulty.
I explain to the helpful woman at the Information Desk that walking distances is not a problem, but I'm not up for tackling inclines today. We decide upon trail four, Siete Canadas, a sixteen-kilometer (twelve-mile?) trek through the Circo de Las Canadas.
I lose myself in the three-hour trek on Mars-like volcanic rock. It's a little freaky being out here in the middle of what seems to be Mars, encountering only two other people the entire walk.
p.s. Yes, the sky really as blue as it looks up here.