18th of December, 2020
Again we drive towards El Paso and continue to Caldera de Taburiente National Park. We leave our car on the parking-lot and call a taxi. The driver brings us, together with two other tourists, all the way up the mountain. It only costs 9 euro for the four of us. Many people make a reservation for a parking spot up the mountain, admire the view and return again, after a small walking tour. We decided to go for a long hike all the way down, to the chapel of Virgen del Pino. It is a distance of around nine kilometer and more difficult than the earlier hikes we undertook.
I am very happy with my walking poles! Descending the mountain is at times very steep and I feel more safe and secure using them.
We walk into dense Canarian pine woods, through barranco’s (gorges) and have to watch our steps continuously. At times the path becomes very narrow and rocky. Not a hike you should do in the heat of summer!
At a certain point there is a road junction; from here you can go straight back to the information center or you go left to the chapel. We take the left road and start climbing again. It seems the road never ends! I thought we were nearly at our destination, but we continue going up and down through the pine woods. Finally, the landscape changes and we reach Ermita de la Virgen del Pino.
It is said that one day “Our Lady” has appeared in the large pine tree on the grounds of the chapel. This conifer served as a sanctuary for her and gave the virgin her name. In 1876 the chapel was built and it seems that during the construction one of the branches of this special tree was cut and it spilled blood after the cut! This is one of the stories, but there are different versions. Celebrations, processions and masses are taking place in and around the small, but important chapel.
We get some rest on the bench beside the famous pine tree and continue our hike back to the place where we started in the morning. The last kilometers are mainly over a rough path, full of big stones, but with nice views over the pasture. It reminds me of the Irish landscape!