This was my second day in Tenerife. I had pre-decided to spend the day trekking on foot in the Mesca valley. Mesca is a small village in the north-western part of the island with a population of less than a 100 people. This hilly region of the island is known as the Teno mountains. The Meska village is located at an altitude of about 600 meters in this mountain range. The region around the Teno mountains has a semi-arid type of climate and is different from the other parts of the island in terms of its weather and biodiversity. A trekking trail from Mesca leads you down to the shore. The terrain surrounding this trail is popular with the tourists. I started off from the hostel at dawn and 4 hours later, after changing buses 3 or 4 times I arrived at Mesca.
If I had a personal conveyance, I would have easily made the journey in 1.5 hours. But I was not ready to spend. Besides, the option of renting a vehicle was not available to me for two reasons - lack of a valid European driving license and lack of relevant driving skills and experience. So be it. Somehow I managed to reach Mesca. The village was teeming with tourists. After satiating my hunger and thirst, I started on my trek down the slope. No sooner had the descent started when a large board with the danger sign popped up along the path. The risks associated with the trek were clearly listed on the board. My heart skipped a beat and I wanted to reconsider my decision. However, looking at the sheer number of people going down the route, I threw all caution to wind and decided to take the plunge (or rather, walk).
|The terrain around Mesca village|
A small brook flowed alongside the trail. This is the Mesca spring. At times the brook ran along innocently and playfully along the trail while at other times it surged and thundered down the rocks like a waterfall. The brook criss-crossed the path a number of times. Hence, many a times we, the trekkers, had to walk through puddles of water. The rocks, made smooth and slippery by the flowing water, tested our skill in maintaining our balance. As the path winded down the slopes, the surrounding peaks appeared to loom taller and taller. At one point, the path led down into a deep gorge. The brook with its rhythmic sound filling the air, the cool breeze, the fierce peaks and the peaceful surroundings made me feel so relaxed that I developed a strong desire to sit down and meditate for a while. It also made me realize why Saint (Samarth) Ramdas must have chosen ‘Shivthar Ghal’ for his meditation. However, at that moment, a group of trekkers appeared on the scene. Their blabber and clamor wiped away all thoughts of meditation; and I moved on.
|The Mesca spring|
A bit further down the dirt trail, the path disappeared into the brook and the brook disappeared below a huge boulder. Uh Oh! What do I do now? Did I wander away from the track? Do I go on? I stood for a while trying to make up my mind and at the same time taking in the beauty of surrounding. Meanwhile, the trekkers that I had left back caught up with me. They too were travelling along the route for the first time and were confused by the scenario. So we started discussing our options. It was impossible to go around or climb the steep slope without proper rock-climbing tools. One of the brave lads suggested that that we get into the water and look past the boulder. Since we had no other choice, a few of us ventured into knee-deep water to look beyond. A bit further down the track through the narrow crevice below the boulder, we could see the light coming in from the opposite direction and a group of trekkers walking ahead. In short, we realized that this was the right route after all. Had the current of water been a wee bit strong, it would have been impossible to move on along that route. The warning at the beginning of the track now started to make sense.
|The trail descends into the gorge|
The rest of the trail was easy. Eventually, we began to get a feel of the salty sea breeze. The trail got relatively flat and sand started to creep into our shoes while walking. The signs implied that we were getting close to the coast but the coast was nowhere in sight. A cursory glance backwards brought into view the enormous Teno mountain range. The tiny Mesca village nestled amongst the hills of the valley stood out in stark relief. For a moment it was difficult to believe that we had traversed such a long way down the valley. I carried out a bit of photography and moved on. Just around the bend a lay surprise in wait … an azure sea stretched out to meet us. There was much elation and my heart did a victory dance. The shore was rocky and the foaming waves dashed on the rocks. The sheer cliffs of the surrounding hills fell directly to the waterline and embraced the waves. In the light of the setting sun, the scenery was mesmerizing. Meanwhile the boat arrived. I had made a prior reservation for the return journey by boat from the Mesca coast to the city of Los Gigantes. On reaching the city, I first took care of my inanition and returned to the hostel. A full day’s adventure had fatigued me out and I did not realize when I fell into a deep slumber.
|The Mesca trail|
For more pictures, click here.