Seeing Red in El Medano
FLAGGING a bit with your New Year pledge to get fit, or simply after a rewarding walk, why not go up in the world and take a stroll up Montaña Roja, the red mountain standing guard the far end of the airport’s runway.
At 200 metres high it may look a little daunting, face-on from La Tejita beach. But the walk from El Medano’s side is a gradual rise that will leave you feeling smug for days.
I approached this time from the beach promenade of El Medano and across the sand dunes. But you can also start from the main road into the town, where there are some parking spots and a sign to start you off.
Either way, the paths converge a little way in and funnel you to the start of the incline. Up close, the soil has a clear, reddish complexion and is fine and dusty underfoot.
I am always pleased to note the bigger stones, which almost make steps for part of the walk. After about 10 minutes, I could already look back and see the crescent shape of the beach below. And even with a calima hanging dust in the air, I could make out Granadilla and the wind turbines further up the coast.
It’s a popular walk and always busy, I like to imagine I’m a super-fit pioneer as I work my way up the track. But that illusion is soon dispelled by mature runners, and people with young children … and even their pet dogs are overtaking me.
A nice breeze was growing as I got higher, and the small lagoon below in the sand caught my eye. It’s actually a salt lake and bird sanctuary, attracting many species passing through Tenerife.
The path twists around the mountain as it climbs, so new views come into play, and planes taking off overhead, from the nearby airport, seem close enough to touch. I could almost read the in-flight magazines at one stage.
It took me 45 leisurely minutes to reach the top and enjoy a choice of wonderful views. Straight down below is a small, nudist beach, so keep Aunt Agatha away from the binoculars”!
The airport and views further up the east coast to Las Galletas were also on offer, through the calima haze.
An information board shows all the small volcanic peaks you can pick out, and a small stone tower can be seen from below.
Beyond that is a caged, solar panel that feeds a beacon, and an open, rocky ledge. But be extremely careful if you venture beyond this point.
There was a young lady perched on a precarious rock, cross-legged and meditating, and another near the beach side, taking a nap in the sun. It is a very relaxing spot. Well, it was until a blonde bloke, whistling out of tune and clicking his camera, came stomping up the path. Sorry ladies!
Walking back down takes slightly less time, but that feeling of achievement hangs around for considerably longer.
And the graceful ballet of the kite-surfers is a good encouragement to linger awhile around the promenade bars and restaurants as you gaze up at your new red friend in admiration.
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