Tenerife – Masca

     Tenerife has a very versatile countryside from desert like in the south to luscious forests in the north. One thing that is present everywhere, though, are the steep cliffs and deep gorges, known as barrancos, leading towards the ocean. We decided to walk down one of those starting in Masca, a small and picturesque village high up in the mountains. The nice thing about this hike is that it can be combined with a boat ride. There are actually two things that make this nice: a) The cliffs around Masca are called Los Gigantos and merit a visit by boat in its own right and b) you won’t have to track back on your own steps. Depending on your inclination you can choose to only walk the path down or up. There is a bus and taxis connecting the next harbour with Masca. Since we missed the one possible daily bus connection we ended up taking a taxi. But with about 25 Euros for the hour-long trip, we really couldn’t complain about prices. Thus we arrived in Masca in the late morning just when the first drizzle of rain set in. The village turned out to be somewhat of a death trap in rain. All roads are paved with insanely slippery stones and most of them are also very steep.. I think as a kid this would be great fun.. The worlds most complex system of intersecting slides.. As adults you spend your time imaging exactly how many bones the human body has and estimating how many will break when you slip.
Needless to say that while we did slip occasionally, we didn’t quite manage to kill ourselves and once we reached the hiking trail there were fewer stones and it became easier to walk and while we complained about the fog encompassing us in the beginning, I grew quite thankful of it over the day when the sun came out and I realised that there was not an ounce of shadow to be had on the entire path. The further we descended into the gorge, the higher the clouds were above us and while we started out in the fog we soon left that behind us and could see the cliffs reaching up high above us in all their glory.
p2014_10_07_15h02_37We had been told that the most dangerous thing about the hike was the slippery stones closely followed by the most evil of all predators: The mountain goat.. Rumor has it that this animal will feast on up to 20 humans per day during mating season to impress the other sex.. or so a local told us while desperately trying  (and failing) to keep a straight face. Nevertheless the girl from the tourist info next to him felt compelled to point out that a mountain goat is first and foremost a goat and therefore eats grass. Goat or no goat, this is about the most exotic animal you can meet in Teneriffe (outside of LunaPark) and we were quite happy to spot one on our way down. Roughly at the half way point of our hike it looked out over us from a ledge. It reminded me of a yeti with it’s long and fuzzy hair, but with the common sense to live somewhere where the environment isn’t trying to freeze you to death.
Only an hour later we started hearing the waves from the ocean. However we were still quite far from the beach, the waves are quite high and make a lot of noise. This, in addition to the gorge creating impressive echoes means you can hear the ocean quite far away from the beach itself. The sun had come out and it was getting hot. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were ready to reach the end of the hike and with every turn we hoped to finally see the water. When we finally reached it, it was a lovely little bay with a beach that was threatened by land slides and fenced off.
Since this happened a platform was built into the water, from which one can get in the water without risking anything and we had a nice and relaxing bath before the boat arrived to carry us back.

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