31st May 2022: Anaga {Tenerife, birthday 2022}

I got up on the early side as I had booked breakfast at 8:00. I was surprisingly not hungry, even if I had not finished dinner the previous evening. My plane was a little before 17:00 and I had to return the car at 13:30 (I must have messed up the time, because I was convinced I had chosen 14:30). however, there was still one spot in the island I wanted to check out – the Nature Reserve Parque Rural de Anaga, in the north of the island and about half an hour’s drive away from the airport. This is a mountain area covered in primitive subtropical moist broadleaf forests, called laurisilva canaria. The mountain range is the oldest part of the island of Tenerife.

During the Tertiary Period, the whole Mediterranean area was covered in forests which had wide, dark leaves. They disappeared with the glacial era that started with the Quaternary. The forest has not changed nor evolved with time, so it has remained as it was 40 million years ago. It was preserved in several humid areas due to the wind patterns while the continents dried out and deserts opened. Sometimes, these forests are called laurel forests, as laurel (Laurus novocanariensis) is one of the typical plants. There are other trees as tils (Ocotea foetens), bushes, vines, ferns and mosses.

I drove around two hours to get from the Parador to Anaga, and was lucky to snatch one of the last parking spots. I asked at the visitor’s centre about a route that was not too long and I was recommended a two-hour one, called Bosque de los Enigmas, the Enigma Forest.

The beginning of it was really cool. The tils and the laurels twisted almost magically and I was alone on the path. I saw some birds, though capturing them on camera was hard, possibly a grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) and a female blackbird (Turdus merula; which is not really black). Aside from being a nature reserve, Anaga is also a bird protection area.

A path into the primitive forest. The trees curve over and around the trail, and everything is dark

A shot up a tree, the trunk is covered in moss

An old waterway or river bed turned into a path. There are walls of dirt to the side, and the roots of the trees are showing

Collage: a grey fluffy bird looking at the camera, and a black one with its back turned, completely ignoring it.

At some point, unfortunately, I lost the trail. I reached the viewpoint Mirador de Zapata going in the wrong direction. Though the weather was very appropriate for an evergreen subtropical forest, this meant that I could either backtrack, or go along the road for a while. I decided on the side of the road as that way I knew how long I would take to reach the parking lot.

A view of the tree tops from above. In the backgrond, partially obscured by the thick fog, there is a village, and the sea is beyond it.

I eventually reached the beginning of the trail again and I had not been run over a car, which was a plus, and before leaving I could look over a second viewpoint Mirador de la Cruz del Carmen, which offers a peek onto the whole massif.

Traces of water runoff paths, which have eroded the soil and torn some trees down

A view of the tree tops from above. In the backgrond, partially obscured by the thick fog, there is a village, and volcanic mountains beyond it.

After this, I drove back to the airport to turn back the car and have some lunch. I had hoped that the smaller airport would be less strict than one of the big hubs, but it turned out they were even more vigilant. So off with the shoes again. We took off at the brink of time, landed at the expected hour… and on the way back home got caught in an hour-long double traffic jam. Ho boy!

All in all, nothing really went according to plan, even if the plans were just a draft. But all in all I had a good time and got to spend some time with myself, which I desperately needed. So yay luckiest unlucky trip ever!