So after about 25km, about 1200 mt descent and 800mt ascent I didn’t end up where expected.
When I got up it was still windy wet and cold.
I knew I had to get out off the cloud but didn’t know wether to go up or down. Down would mean abandoning mission.Up would mean hopefully above the cloud but into wind. And then the thought of the cold last night at 1450mt and thinking about the freezing cold at 2400mt and with the words of P. Dillon going through my thoughts” there’s nowhere to hide up there in bad weather”, I reluctantly turned my back on the GR 131 and embraced the PR LP14. It was a wet embrace but it was leading me down to where I knew the sun shone.
We went through dripping forest
and trees hung with yards of lichen?
We descended through a different kind of lava field to the others I’d seen. These were obviously in the ” wet zone” as they too were sprouting green primitive life.
But after an hour or so the cloud went up as I went down and I felt heat upon my skin again. Hallelujah
Looking back from the valley towards the ridge of the Cumbre Nueve that I should have been on I saw the thick cloud still swooping and swirling in what looked a malevolent fashion. Glad I’m not up there I thought.
I decided that as I wasn’t going to walk around the rim of the Taburiente crater as planned I would walk instead into the very heart of it and camp the night at a site deep and high surrounded by the peaks.
So I first visited the Centro de Visitantes of the National Park which involved following a trail across lumpy rugged lava.
When I got there it wasn’t, as the trail had made me wonder, sculpted out of a lava tube or in some knarley cave but a big modern concrete building on a main road. Inside were impressive displays and info panels and helpful staff handing out details of the park and hiking routes.
They also had weather charts…( wind moderate!! Not where I’ve come from mate!) and a model. This is the bit i climbed.
I had to get a bus from the centre to Los Llanos and start to walk into the caldera from there on the PR LP13, one of La Palmas “top walks”. It didn’t take long to see why after I’d left the town and its suburbs behind.
After a long climb (another) a bend in the road revealed the deep valley reaching in towards the high rim of mountains now in glorious sunshine. Wish I was up there I thought.
On the other side of the valley were fincas with land climbing up from the riverbed.
The trail to the camp ground led up the riverbed with many sections clambering over stretches of mountainside. There were notices warning that with rain the track becomes dangerous and impassible and you could see why.
A fine example of pillow lava I’m sure you’ll agree.
It was beautiful but longer than I thought 13km was supposed to be and steeper than a 600mt climb ought to be. We past miles of painstakingly made acequias or water channels cut through the mountain and carried high over the riverbed on concrete viaducts.
And a long way in was this what I imagine was an old hydro plant complex.
The climb went on higher and higher as the sun sank lower and lower till only the peaks were illuminated.
At last, with not a lot left in me, I passed through this prickly pear to the camp site that had miraculously solar lit service block and soft pine needle pitches.
No fun being on the tops when it’s so cold, wet and windy. (Even worse if there was ice on the rocks.) Still, the next best thing to being high on La Palma is being deep in the Caldera de Taburiente!
Thats what i thought Paddy and it was spectacular. The most idyllic spot for a camp site. Ill save the top for a fine summers day. Cheers.