Walking Amongst The Pines in Vilaflor

Mon, September 8th, 2014 - By Colin

At first glance the pine trees surrounding Vilaflor look tall, lush and defiant but it’s not easy looking that good. A walk arcing around the highest town in Spain revealed a running battle with nature’s excesses.

An abundance of spring water helped to establish Vilaflor so the steep walk to El Mirador above the old lavadero washing point seemed an appropriate and tactical start. The hike up, past emerging black grapes and heavily laden almond trees, brought us to the football ground which offers plenty of parking for those driving up. An early decision was needed on the rough, dusty path, but heading past the neatly terraced fields and green-topped potatoes brought us to a rising path bordered by chunky water pipes gurgling past an old pumping station.

 

Vilaflor

 

Pine trees stretched out on the horizon like a green blanket, each step brought different clusters with teasing views through the breaks. A helicopter hovering further down the valley was dumping water on a small spiral of smoke, this is a regular late summer fight when rain has kept away and the sun has dried the carpet of pine needles. There were plenty of signs of scorched trunks and some toppled trees but that was balanced by new growth and buds bursting through.

 

Vilaflor

 

If the skill of the earlier, man-made terraces had impressed, we had plenty of admiration left for the stones and logs arranged to mark the edges of the route we needed to follow. Signposts pointed the way to further destinations such as Ifonche or Arona town but our circular route took us up a rock-sided incline followed by a tight spiral down to a clearing with an amazing window. A sheer drop down into a gallery of sturdy pines opened up below our feet with large boulders protruding out almost as a dare – one to resist though, even for more adventurous photos.

 

Vilaflor

 

The red tinged soil underfoot coated our shoes as we took the narrow pathway alongside twisted roots of towering pines. The cones that had dropped from the trees were huge and tweaked my memory, for all their decorative uses from ancient school days. As we dropped lower, the shade was very welcome and through the trees we could see the big reservoir below. The complicated collection of pipes and valves was clear to see but the water was perilously low, hardly enough for my rubber duck. Thankfully our bottles were well stocked so we grabbed some shade and caught up on food.

 

Vilaflor

 

I knew from previous visits that we were on the final leg now and heading upwards across dried up stream beds. We had passed a few shells of old rural houses but I was upset to find a conversion of a 130 year old house ripped apart. The last time I passed this way a couple were living there and had added an outside cooking area and solar panels. Shrugging that off, we pushed on and one last steep climb brought us out just down from the crossroads where the statue of Vilaflor born saint, Hermano Pedro stood tall. The almost four hour walk ended a short 2km stroll down the road from the starting point but we plumped for cold drinks at Teide Flor restaurant near the bus stop from which we would head back to Los Cristianos.

Parking – A few free parking places near the lower crossroads but more by the higher football ground.
Buses – TITSA route 482 to Vilaflor (only 3 a day) 10.45am from Los Cristianos, cost €2.10 one way with bono saver ticket, return 6.15pm
Route 342 to Las Canadas del Teide (1 a day) CC El Duque, Costa Adeje 9.00am, Playa de Las Americas bus station  9.15am, Los Cristianos 9.30am. Return 4.20pm from Vilaflor.

Posted : Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 2:52 pm
Category : days out
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