Yesterday, I planned a little outing with Niandi. No plans really, in all honesty, we didn’t even know which section of the Transvulcania course we would go on. The main problem with running on the Transvulcania course is logistics. In real terms, you always need to run out-and-back routes.
We ended up going to El Pilar, an early and key aid station that comes approximately one third into the Transvulcania race. It’s about a 50-min drive from Tazacorte (where I am staying) which is the end of the GR131 route before the final push up to Los Llanos and the finish of the Transvulcania race.
El Pilar allows easy access to the Volcano Route section and a direct option back to the coast and Fuencaliente lighthouse, as such, it is the route most people take.
We decided to go north, head out of El Pilar and follow the GR131 into the Cumber Nueva in the direction of Roques de los Muchachos.
Leaving El Pilar, looking out to the west you get to see Los Llanos, Tazacorte and the sea in the distance. These tropical, muddy, forest trails provide the Transvulcania runners some of the easiest running so far in the race but eventually this comes to an end at Reventon Pass and the climb up to Punta de los Roques.
The Cumbre Nueva and following sections are for me one of the most stunning sections of the Transvulcania route. From Reventon Pass to Punta de los Roques in particular is stunning! Onwards to Pico de las Nieves, the trails open up and the push to Roques de los Muchachos leads to the final drop to Tazacorte . Mixing rocky terrain with stunning vegetation, the route is incredible from a running and visual perspective. It is also very prone to an inversion; where the cloud drops below the high points creating a stunning almost dream like backdrop.
The mist comes in, visibility is reduced, the temperature drops and suddenly you feel like you are in a different place. You question, ‘will the good weather come back?’
Then suddenly, you break through the cloud, the white fluffy clouds are below and a wonderful blue backdrop adds an amazing palette to run or walk against.
Single track trails of good running constantly creep up beyond 2000m to Punta de los Roques and the Refugio. Here stunning views of the Caldera de Taburiente are possible and off in the distance, the observatories of Roques de los Muchachos can be seen.
Around every corner a surprise. It doesn’t matter if you are running or walking, these trails offer so much.
The Transvulcania route is always a constant surprise and I am always amazed at how the terrain, weather, vegetation and views change as you move through the route. Our day in the Cumber Nueva was a special one, topped off with this stunning image as Niandi ran around a mountain corner, the inversion clearly visible and if one image sums up skyrunning, this may be it.
You can view daily images from our stay in La Palma HERE