Friday, May 29, 2009

The English and Welsh Countryside

We finally DID something! We climbed Snowdon!

Rashed likes to tell people that he's interested in history and I'm interested in nature. He'll be reading the inscription of a World War II monument when I say, "Look! pansies!" or "Look! a dog!" and skitter away. I'm not a fan of big cities. So I was very excited on Sunday when, after a brief stop in the Lake District Saturday night, Rashed's relatives drove us to the trailhead of the highest peak in Wales and left us there to climb while they went off to find less strenuous enjoyment.

The peak is only 3,000-something feet, and the countryside seemed to feature only gentle hills, so I was skeptical. You could even take a train almost to the top, but I refused. As we started out, it did seem like an easy journey, but we were wary of the fact that we could never see the top, no matter how many hills we rounded. As the climb got steeper, with breathtaking views of valleys and lakes behind and higher hills rising up in front of us, the bleating of grazing sheep became less cute and more taunting, as they defied gravity, dotting the bare sides of the mountains far above us. The trail got steeper and steeper. And the mountains around there used to be mined for shale, so the path was little better than a slippery rockslide at times. We trudged and wheezed, and I decided it wasn't just a little hill. When we finally caught sight of the top, the sea was visible and the hills we'd already climbed stretched back into the distance. The peak looked like a little needle point from where we stood, with antlike people clustered on top of it, looking like they might push each other off and fall down the steep drops into the valleys below. We kept going, one foot in front of the other and reached the top, touched it, took a couple of pictures, and happily turned around, our soaked shirts drying and chilling us in the wind. We ate a sandwich and prayed and made it down in two hours instead of the three it had taken to go up.


Caminante said...

"He'll be reading the inscription of a World War II monument when I say, "Look! pansies!" or "Look! a dog!" and skitter away."

This sounds so much like you and Rashed!

I hope things are going well in Belarus... BTW, while you're there, get us a recipe for that beet soup I like :)

I only had it once at that Russian/Latin restaurant, but I really liked it!

Anonymous said...

Хорошо бы в блоге побольше фотоснимков...