The second day of the Tenerife grand tour also took place in Arona. There’s a mountain next to the AWF House in Arona called Roque Del Conde, and Laura hadn’t been up during our previous visit, even though many others had. After Candaleria and Teide, there was no reason not to go.
We spent the morning on a visit to the local supermarket, where we stocked up on a few supplies. We got extra water and food supplies – Laura bagged a ‘pasta pot’. We then set off in earnest – Marko was going to join us, but his flight left earlier than he thought, so we said goodbye and headed up the mountain just the two of us.
The whole trip took about five hours – two and a half up and the same back down. This was relatively slow compared to other climbers, but we agreed that it was nice to go on a walk that didn’t include a ‘destination time’, such as a sunrise or a ceremony. The fact it was just us two also meant that the chances of us splitting up were relatively low. The ascent was relatively relaxed, with the exception of losing the path on the way up.
I’m not sure how it happened exactly – the road split off into three paths just after we crossed the canyon at the base, and like a typical man, I chose the route that went straight up. It was soon apparent due to surrounding vegetation that we’d gone the wrong way, but rather than head back down, I told Laura to stay put whilst I went to find an abandoned house that I remember being alongside the path on my last expedition. I clambered up several ridges and headed along a plateaux until I found what I was looking for. Once I was happy I’d found the right route, I went back to help Laura up, who was standing around looking lost and half-calling my name.
Together we got back on the path, up past the house, and continued our ascent. We stopped at the aptly-titled ‘base camp’ – she was impressed with the views. Then we went to another good landmark – the area below the summit where I almost flew off the edge and into the valley below during my last descent. I did manage to commit another injury on another of my fingers, cutting the tip of my middle one with my pen knife (trying to cut local cacti to see what their insides looked like). But just when things were going good, a giant plume of clouds appeared from nowhere and battered into the side of the mountain. The mountain pushed the clouds up and over the summit, creating a stream of fog that we fought through during the last leg of the climb.
At the summit, I had a fruit cocktail tin whilst Laura had her pasta. Laura then went to sleep, but was awoken minutes later by a wasp flying in her ear, giving her a startle. Whilst she acquainted herself with the local wildlife a bit more, I sat on a rock, and watched over the other half of the mountain. The cloud cleared the summit and cascaded down, dispersing over the meadows below. It was like watching a waterfall of clouds.
The descent was steady and full of slip-ups and near-falls (just like last time). We did however make it down in one piece, with the clouds finally clearing as we neared the house. We both grabbed showers, and the proceeded to pack up for the next day, when the journey would start proper. Dinner consisted of spaghetti bolognese, with no tomato in the bolognese because there wasn’t any. It was made with loads of garlic and white wine. It was one of the most inedible meals I’ve ever had there. It didn’t matter so much though – I finished off Helen’s four cheese pizza in the fridge from a few nights previous, and gave the last of it to Laura. We asked Teresa if we could leave some things at her place while we travelled around – she was all too happy to help.