13 June 2009

Wales is Just Rad.

As you all probably know, Kathleen is back in the US seeing some friends, hitting the beach, and enjoying her time off. In the past when she has left me alone, I generally turn it into a Boy’s Weekend of sorts which means my friends come over and we drink a lot of beer, eat Crab Rangoon, and usually surf. However since 3 out of those 4 things are not currently available I had to think of another way to ‘seize the opportunity.’ One of the things I have learned about Kathleen is that she absolutely hates to get out of bed in the morning. It does not really matter what is planned for the day, weekend or weekday, she likes to sleep in. As do I, but my idea of sleeping in is to about 7:00 am or so at which point I am ready to take on the day. Since we had come back from Wales, I had been thinking about hiking the tallest peak in the country – Mt Snowdon. The problem is that there is only one small parking lot from the trail head and everywhere stated how early it filled up. Considering we are about two hours away from said car park this would mean that if I were to climb it, I would have to leave the house early… like early early. So when I saw the weather was looking decent for today, I began to plan it all out.

My day started at around 4:15 AM. That is when the alarm went off and my partner for the day, Miller, was at my bedside immediately licking my face. I took him for a quick walk, and then debated whether I should feed him so early or wait. I figured it is not great to hike on a completely full stomach so I fed him quickly and headed out. The drive over was pretty painless and we were making good time. That was until the sat nav told me to get off the highway and I found myself on the scenic route. Oh yeah, Welsh roads… I had forgotten how they are like mountain biking single-track through the woods: Narrow and windy with not a lot of room for forgiveness. We wound our way through some amazing countryside and picturesque towns until we reached the trail head. Luckily, there were some parking spots left and we quickly geared up and headed out.

Our route was to follow the Pyg Trail up until it converged with the Miner’s track. Here the incline would increase dramatically and I had heard tales of people down on all fours climbing. I was a bit nervous about Miller as this was a pretty hefty hike with some supposedly technical ascents and some very steep faced ridges. I should not have worried one bit as he did much better than I. Although he’s no Darryl Strawberry (well I mean, who is really?) catching fly balls in the park, he is one agile little mutt. This part of this hike was absolutely outstanding view-wise. I had heard many people compare this hike to those in the Scottish Highlands and I was not disappointed. We were surrounded by sheer rock cliffs and clouds you could nearly touch. Below us were a series of lakes, which I had promised Miller we could hit on the way down. The weather was at times sunny and bluebird and then pouring down rain. It was a bit windy but the air temp was good though so we were doing well.

Miller even met some friends.

He was also good at blending in with things.

Well, only in Black and White.

As much as I was looking forward to the hike itself, I was not looking forward to the summit. They have a steep railway up to the top and I had heard on nice days it can be a mob scene. Additionally, word was they built a café on the top and today was opening day! However, I was going to overlook these as I was really there for the hike itself. Miller was not too excited about the summit either though.
Luckily the crowds were scare because the summit was socked in with cloud cover. However, this did impede my views.

On the way down, we took the Miner’s Track in its entirety so we could hit the lakes. Miller swam a lot, much to the enjoyment of a group of school kids.

Overall the hike was amazing, but not nearly as long or difficult as I had thought. It was only 11:00 when I got back to the car. Since the sun had come out (for good it looked like) I decided to take Miller down to Criccieth. This was a small sea-side town where Kathleen and I had visited earlier. I remembered the beach was pretty decent so we packed up the car to head down. As we were doing so, I found a small surprise in the back of the car. It seemed Miller does not really like Welsh roads either and my decision to feed him first thing this morning was a bad one. Vomitous dog!

After a quick clean up we drove down to Criccieth (this time I tried to drive more slowly). We parked at the beach and walked a ½ mile down or so to avoid the crowds. The water was actually clean and there was no litter. There were a lot of rocks on the beach, but it was great. The sun was out and Miller swam a lot. I even decided to take a swim as well, however Miller was not into the two of swimming together. At this point, I must admit I began to miss the Cape and Surfing a bit. However, seeing the old Criccieth Castle sticking out on the horizon to my right:

and the mountains of Snowdonia to my left:

I was pretty damn psyched to be in Wales!
On our way home we had another harrowing drive on the Welsh road. This time there were runners as well! It seems like there is some sort of large scale relay race here, similar to Vermont’s 100 on 100 (fitting, no? Vermont=Rad, Wales=Rad).

I weaved my way through the runners, on-coming traffic, and some bikers as well. I am not sure of my time, but as you can see I finished the leg.

The rest of the drive was uneventful: Miller stinking up the car and me fighting yawns. I got back and took a long nap. I am now enjoying a well-deserved glass of Irish and trying to decide what to plan for next weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, babe! I love the photo where Miller is not blending in so well...