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Think you have seen it all? Think again 

Observation and really looking at your surroundings, can unearth some fantastic and fascinating finds.

I enjoy travelling around this island, by car and on foot, exploring new places, new towns, and new routes.

In the early years I would say, “been there, seen that” and would think that perhaps, I had outgrown Tenerife. I was of course completely wrong. Such an example of seeing new things, is the hobby I have of finding examples of mimetoliths. You may be wondering what on earth I am on about? Well this fancy name of Greek origin, mimetes meaning imitator and lithos meaning stone, was given by a Thomas Orzo MacAdoo in 1989, for the phenomenon of seeing larger than life creations, such as animals, objects, people etc, in the giant, naturally occurring stones around us.

I was given a book named, “Formas Magicas” which is in the main, created by Javier Bello Lecuona. ISBN 84-7985-135-X, which gives wonderful examples of mimetoliths on our wonderful Tenerife. A page is given for each one, with a description, a photo, and a drawing. At the end of the book there is a map of Tenerife and all the mimetoliths that are featured are laid out as a route.

One of the most obvious mimetoliths in the book, is the “El Sombrero” or “The Hat”, that sits within the Canadas del Teide. You can see it from all lower regions, it pays homage to the farmers who tend their land and animals, in sun drenched afternoons, wearing their sombrero for shelter. This rock is formed from a phonolithic table, resting on pumice pyroclastic deposits, created by nature up to 250000 years ago.

Another beautiful mimetolith, that features in the book, is named, “La Rosa de la Orotava” or “The Rose of La Orotava”, this is where an explosion of rock has taken place up to 250000 years ago and burst, and spread into the shape of a rose. It is formed from basalt rock.

Since getting the Tenerife book, I found another Formas Magicas book at a car boot sale, this time about La Gomera – so it seems I can go in search of these wonderful creations on other canary islands. I personally feel the most spectacular example in this book is named, “Los Organos” or “The Organs”, it is a vast collection of columnar basalt rock taking up a whole side of the island, all lined up in tiers, as if they were a giant organ in a massive outdoor cathedral. The only way to see this is from a boat, but I will one day I hope.

I have been actively seeking out mimetoliths that don’t feature in the books and have found a wonderful example of a rose. It is situated on the Amarilla coast, it is formed in exactly the same way as the rose from La Orotava. Whilst having something to eat in the Pink Parrot in Las Galletas, I noticed a sleeping elephant beyond the marina. This is reassuring, I am sure that you don’t have to go deep into rural Tenerife to observe these fascinating rocks.

At the end of cliffs, great warrior faces tend to appear to you, that of Bencomo, a Guanche king. I have seen such a face at the far end of Pal Mar. His profile looking out to sea, with La Gomera in his sights. Whilst there I also observed some painted rocks, their form lead someone to think they were in the image of Jesus and Mary, and since being transformed by the painting, there is no doubt that they are these religious icons. People leave behind messages for loved ones who have passed on – it is quite touching. Although not mimetoliths, interesting none the less.

If you are interested in looking for mimetoliths, especially the ones that feature in the book, it appears a tour has been created, following the route mapped out in the book. I imagine it would be a great way to see the island, www.formasmagicas.com I had no idea that it existed but I will definitely check this out.

A vivid imagination or just boredom, looking for mimetoliths is fun, and it makes you really look at your surroundings. So, get out and about with your camera/phone and record any mimetoliths that you see. I would imagine it would be a reasonably inexpensive way to spend outdoor time with children, during these very long Summer holidays?