Friday, December 14, 2012

GR 131 - Arona to La Esperanza

Last week I travelled to Tenerife with the intention of doing 3 stages of the GR131 and another walk in the West of the island. The plan was to do Arona - Vilaflor and Vilaflor - El Portillo on the GR131 and Santiago del Teide - Buenavista del Norte (via Masca).

It didn’t work out that way. I decided to start in Vilaflor on Tuesday and head for El Portillo. This route would take in 2 stages of the GR131 by bypassing the 3.7km walk to/from Parador after dropping down from Degollada de Guajara.

I was sitting on the steps outside the visitors centre in El Portillo at 12:05. The bus wasn’t due until 15:15 so I decided to continue on to La Caldera.

As I had taken a big chunk out of the middle section of the GR131 on Tuesday I decided at that stage that I would just finish it on the remaining two days for walking. So, on Thursday, I again started in Vilaflor and walked ‘down’ to Arona and on Saturday I travelled to La Caldera to walk ‘up’ to La Esperanza.

The entire route is very well marked but I did stray from the track on 3 occasions. On two occasions I was about 50m/100m away from a marker and on one occasion I got totally distracted and ended up on the TF24 (about 14km from La Esperanza) and had to drop back down to the path. I did have Paddy Dillon’s book with me and found it very useful for additional information/markers.

I absolutely loved this walk. On one occasion (between Parador and El Portillo) I had to put on my gloves but, other than that the weather was great.

Bus starts from Los Cristianos (base) were 5:50 X 2 (to Vilaflor) and 6:10 (to La Caldera). Three different buses were required to get from La Caldera to Los Cristianos (& vice versa) and from La Esperanza to Los Cristianos. Travel times on buses, for longer journeys, were 2 to 2.5 hours.

Tuesday - 40km in 8 hours 15 minutes

Thursday - 20km in 3 hours 45 minutes

Saturday - 30km in 6 hours

Pace - Very Brisk ;-)