The crossing of Lanzarote, 70 Km through the Canarian heat!
Day 1, 18km
After the difficult farewell from Newfoundland we treat ourselves for a week with a stay at a beautiful finca in Lanzarote. We excuse our vacation with the fact that it is still too hot to hike, we hope that it gets a little cooler.
After a week of absolute idleness, we are ready to tackle the last of our goals: crossing the Canary Islands, over 500 kilometers in total. Well, as ready as you can be after a week in which the biggest effort was to go from one reading place to another. The inner bastard advises us to extend the holiday. But, there are still a few miles ahead of us, they do not get hiked by themselves! That’s how we motivate ourselves until we leave the finca at midday as planned. By the way, a beautiful Finca with great landlord near Arrieta. Highly Recommended!
We take the bus to Orzola, the northernmost point of the island. Despite less chocolate (too hot), the backpacks feel very heavy. Ok, of course we have our “good night trunk” with us, which could strictly speaking be saved. But otherwise we have left more (our landlord keeps a backpack for us thankfully). In addition to too much food, we have to carry a lot more water with us this time. Unlike any other hike, we can’t rely on rivers or lakes, but must replenish the water supplies in on-the-way villages. Water is a luxury here.
We leave the village on the very well-marked trail. As expected, it is a gravel road, usually relatively wide. So very easy to hike. The whole environment is reminiscent of Star Wars: Barren moon-like landscape. Dark, partly black volcanic rock. The ups and downs are unexpected. Somehow, we thought the island was flat. At the first significant ascent we cross the main road where we meet a group of cyclists. A very nice tourist group from Canada. With a nice chat we delay the further ascend.
The sun is burning down, it is actually too hot for hiking. We also meet – during the whole Lanzarote crossing not a single other hiker. There are not so many crazy people here. After another hour we meet our Canadian cycling friends again. ?!?! How did that go? As we walk relatively straight south, the road makes a wide arc so that they can now meet us even though we have the same destination. They seem a little frustrated to be overtaken by hikers …;)
Another steep climb costs us full concentration afterwards. Phew, we have probably become a little unfit. Slowly we reach the plateau and can then easily go downhill. Time to look for a place to sleep for the night. Since dispersed camping is officially banned here, it is important to find a hidden spot in addition to the criteria flat and beautiful. Easier said than done. Suddenly it’s flat here, or slightly sloping to the next place …
So, we stay with the criteria flat and beautiful and decide to stay at a place with fantastic view. Of course, we can’t set up the tent yet, as we still see tourists coming here to admire the view. We make ourselves comfortable and enjoy the view. The sun is getting weaker, wind is picking up. Brr, it’s suddenly cold! We left our warm jackets at the Finca landlord. Was this really smart? It would be nice to disappear now in the tent, but unfortunately after the “lookout tourists” now the romance couples are coming. Together with them, we admire the bizarre sunset, which spreads a wonderful atmosphere through the clouds moving ahead. Eventually the couples disappear. Now we only have to wait for a hunter who hunts rabbits with his dogs. As we learned, this is allowed twice a week. He seems not be ready to stop. How long do you hunt rabbits? Ah, just before complete darkness, the hunter transports his dogs in the car and drives away. Juhu, we pitch our tent quickly and enjoy being out of the cold wind!
Unfortunately, the wind does not let up all night, so we both almost do not sleep.
Day 2, 33 kilometers
A bit tired, we welcome the new day. It is still windy and quite foggy. Excellent! Good hiking climate! Because of the wind, I’m concerned about getting my morning coffee, but Heiko finds a hole to cook the coffee. Day saved!
We start to perfect temperatures in cloudy skies. That’s good! We are making good progress. Scenic it is as barren as the day before. Not our usual great views. Apparently, Fuerteventura is similar, to hike this island is going to be a “mind” challenge!
At 11 o’clock the sky has cleared, the sun is burning down. I take the statement back that it is only a mental challenge. Thanks to the heat, hiking is also a physical challenge! We push through until noon, then we reach San Bartolome. Here we are looking for a small restaurant to sit out the midday heat.
2,5h later we start our journey stronger again. A total of 500 vertical meters spread over two climbs lay ahead of us. It means fighting, not so much because of the elevation gain, but because of the merciless sun that shines on us. At the last village in front of our self-made stage destination we want to treat ourselves to an iced coffee break. The view on it keeps us going. Nope! The village is too small, there is no cafe or supermarket. So, we have to go on without it. The map shows us a green area in front of the next town. Great, we’ll find a spot for tenting for sure. As soon as we think it, we are already in the wine-growing area. This is pretty particular way of wine growing. Each single plant is in a lava stone sink with a wall as windbreak. It is a nice view, however, I guess for harvesting this is a nightmare! And to find a spot for our tent seems impossible. But where a will (or a need) is a place. At the end of the area we come to an apparently fallow field. Here, behind an artificial hill we stay. Not nice, but we see no alternative but to walk 10 kilometers further. We decide to sleep without a tent so we are not so easy to spot. First relax and dinner until it gets dark!
Day 3, 19 kilometers
Short essay about the system of viticulture in Lanzarote: The black lava stone stores the heat of the day. Thanks to the cooling in the night it condenses strongly. The planted wine draws its water from this. Sounds logical. So, what happens if you lie in a wine cell without a tent? Right! You get wet. Drenched.
In the morning, we quickly pack up and start – undiscovered, but wet – hiking. Without coffee….. At the nearby village all shops are still closed, so we settle for a coffee at the gas station. It can only get better.
Then it goes over bleak lava rock landscape towards Paya Blanca, the southernmost town of Lanzarote. But before we reach it, we have to cross one or the other rocky field in the scorching heat. The rock reflects the heat, so you feel like a chicken in the oven at top and bottom heat. Honestly, not much fun, as the landscape does not compensate for the exhausting work.
But at noon we reach the town!! With a cold beer in front of us, we celebrate the crossing of the first canary island Lanzarote. Cheers!
Our plan is to take the ferry directly to Fuerteventura and then continue from there. But we will not do that. Why not? A job was presented to me via a headhunter, which interests me very much. The company invited me to an interview. The offer is too good for me to say no. So, we decide to look for a hotel on Lanzarote, then fix the flight home and make a new plan.
After a few phone calls, email conversations and Internet research, the new plan is clear: I fly home on a flying visit, Heiko meanwhile hikes through Fuerteventura. Then we meet again on the island of La Palma. Said and done.
Heiko accelerates and breaks the 50 kilometer mark in one day, as a small preview to the next blog …. While I write these lines, I’m still in Germany, have the promise of the job in my pocket and am excited and happy to return to the Canary Islands to Heiko tomorrow!
The next and last blog will be published after our return. There you can read about the last adventures of this gigantic year passing through the remaining five islands. At the same time, we will try to collect the remaining € 10,000, and we are hoping for district grant from a Rotary, which has been applied for by my Club Stuttgart Wildpark. Keep your fingers crossed! For sure we are also happy for every donation you make to our cause to bring clean water to the third community in Haiti!