by Michael Panaretou
Mount Teide is the 3rd highest volcano on the planet and is located in the centre of Tenerife.
We started our ascent at around 0100 at the bottom of the Monta Blanca trail located just a couple kilometres up the road from the visitor centre and Mount Teide cable car.
At the bottom we quickly realised why the area was called a dark sky park as we were able to see hundreds if not thousands of stars. This was all possible as a result of a lack of light pollution in the surrounding area.
As we ascended up Mount Teide we saw views of all around the island, from the tourist areas of the south to the hills and mountains that make up the Volcanic landscape of the Island.
As we climbed we began to feel the effects of the altitude. At around 3000m above sea level the lack of oxygen resulted in us feeling light headed and dizzy, because of this we had to take frequent breaks in an attempt to acclimatize which only slowed us down.
By around 5am we were nearing the peak and the temperature was quickly plummeting however due to us climbing up at a far greater speed than expected we had to stop for around half an hour.
During this half hour stop we were all exhausted and decided to lie down for a bit, however, due to a lack of sleep one out of the three of us managed to fall asleep, probably to surprise of many of the other hikers.
At around 0615 we started to notice that the sky was beginning to brighten up which was our indication to begin the final ascent to the top.
After powering up the final slope we had finally made it the peak of Teide.
The view was breathtaking. The feelings of the relief and accomplishment went abundantly clear at the top and almost helped to balance out the freezing temperatures and lack of oxygen.
We probably spent around an hour sitting on the peak and taking in our surroundings before eventually we decided it was time to begin our descent.
On the way down we walked down the same paths as on the way up but this time we were actually able to see what was around us.
To our surprise the landscape was greatly varied with our initial surroundings being your typical volcanic landscape and as we got closer to the bottom the landscape resembled that of a desert.
By 1035 we had reached the bottom and our hike up and down Mount Teide was completed.