Mount Teide: Our Very Own Active Volcano! (Yay?)

When we moved to Tenerife, there was a lot about this island we didn’t know about, like the old vine wine region (score!)

or the active volcano (….yay?). Teide hasn’t blown since 1909, and we live out of the previous path of destruction, so we got that going for us. 

We decided to meet our new volcano friend a few weeks ago despite a recent “seismic swarm of 22 earthquakes” a few days prior, causing some nervous chatter amongst the locals. Most of these earthquakes lead to nothing, but there’s always the chance that one will cause Teide to blow his top again.

Speaking of blowing tops/chunks, winding roads and Soleil don’t do well together. We had to take a lot of breaks to empty the puke bucket. On the bright side, she wasn’t drowsy from the Dramamine because I forgot to give it to her 🙁 

Another thing we didn’t know about Tenerife is that it’s home to the largest solar observatory in the world. Someday we’ll go back up the mountain (with Dramamine!!!) to learn about the sun and camp under the stars. 

Fortunately kids are resilient and forgiving. She popped out of the car and instantly struck her Moana pose. 

The landscape evinced a walk on Mars or maybe Land Before Time with its incredible looking rock formations. 

Quick facts:

  • Mount Teide stands 12,198 ft high,  making it the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic.
  • If measured from the ocean floor, it is at 24,600 ft, the highest volcano in the world base-to-peak outside of the Hawaiian Islands. 
  • Teide National Park located on Mount Teide is Europe’s Most Visited National Park. 

For more facts about the geology and history of Teide, click here. 

Now let’s less talk about…

The Legend of Pico del Teide!!!

Before the Spaniards finally conquered Tenerife in 1496 (they’d been trying for 32 years), the island was populated by the Guanches. For them, Teide was a very sacred mountain, one with a dark and magical history. According to legend, the devil (Guayota) kidnapped the god of light and sun (Magec) and imprisoned him inside the volcano, plunging the world into eternal shadow.  So, naturally, the Guanches took their problem to the next guy up the chain, a supreme god named Achamán, and begged him for help. Achamán, a kind and reasonable supreme god, took mercy on the Guanches and fought the devil Guayota, freed Magec from the bowels of the mountain, and then brutally stuffed the devil Guayota like a butt plug into the crater!!! Since then, legend has it, Guayota has remained locked inside Teide. 

Hmmm….. ..lightbulb! 

Dear Achamán,

On behalf of life on this planet, please, take mercy on us! There’s this guy. Some people call him Cheeto, others call him names I can’t repeat on a family blog, but he has tiny fingers and they’re twittering dangerously close to the Red Button, threatening nuclear annihilation!!! He and his evil minions are shrinking national monuments by millions of acres, revoking green energy subsidies, and boosting oil and coal! There just has to be another hot and stinky crater that needs plugging! Help us before he plunges the world into darkness again! Please, Achamán! I beg you! Stuff Cheeto in a spewing sulfurous hole before it’s too late! 

Do it for the women and children, Achamán. We’re counting on you. 

(It’s worth a shot, right?)

Anyhoo…

This trip up the mountain was more a recon mission for us and a climbing day for Soleil.  There’s a cable car that starts at the base of the peak and goes all the way to the top, a cool museum, and numerous walking and bike trails throughout the national park that we’ll explore in the months to come. Since we’re thinking Tenerife is a longer term stay, we’re trying to pace ourselves. 

While Daddy put an easy climb up for Soleil to top rope, she gave me one of her famous massages she learned how to give at her fancy French school. It’s truly amazing. She rubs her boogery little fingers all over my face while saying in a relaxed yoga voice, “le menton…..la bouche……le nez……le front……les yeux….la tête..” 

She’s really good. By the end of the massage, I don’t even care about the snot on my face. 

Soleil gearing up for her big climb in Las Cañadas!

Step one, harness! 

Step two: Kiss of courage! 

Step three: Ample amount of chalk. 

And up they go! She killed it!

Soleil named her climb “Demi-God.” What can I say, the kid’s got flare.

Tree climbed up along side her to support her, but also to move Moana up the rock face each time Soleil “saved” her. We’ve discovered the best way to motivate a kid to climb is to put her most beloved toy in mortal peril. 

When she got to the top, she spent 20 minutes up there talking to the volcano that she renamed Lava Monster Tikal. Apparently Teide was a boring name. Every few minutes she’d yell down to me to let me know 1) how incredibly tiny I was, and 2) how close she was to Lava Monster Tikal. “I’m so brave!” she bellowed. To have her tell it, she’d just climbed Everest and she was not going to squander a second of glory. 

Next week we’re off to Italy. We’ll be celebrating Christmas Eve in Rome with two female chefs in their private home with 20 other strangers from around the world. These days, dinner parties are my absolute favorite social scene so I’m looking incredibly forward to meeting new people and sharing a home-cooked gourmet meal paired with exquisite Italian wine. After a week in Rome, we’ll be in Sicily circumnavigating the island for another week. My mother’s side of the family hails from Sicily so I’m very excited to walk the land and meet the villagers where my grandparents once lived. 

Since I most likely won’t post anything until after the New Year, I wish you a very joyous holiday filled with love and laughter, great food and wine, and even better company. 

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Comments

  1. Seriously, when we move out there where should we live?

  2. You need to hike or take the lift to the top! There is a theory that the North side of the island broke off into the Atlantic causing a tidal wave in the Americas.

  3. 5.5?! Good job Soleil!

  4. My abuelito grew up there before he went to Cuba…

    • Wow, do you know where in Tenerife? I’ll take pics for you so you can see. BTW, we’re loving living here. It’s like the perfect mix of Spain and Latin America with a touch of Africa 🙂

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