Lots of excitement on the road Friday. Reg did a great job of remaining calm and confident as he towed us 280 miles in and out of mild snow flurries. Arriving at our campsite, we quickly set up, climbed inside and blasted the heater as we watched the snowfall kick it up a notch. The sun returned at daybreak, highlighting the beautiful backdrop we’ll enjoy the the next few days.
Today’s outing found us climbing up one of the more popular trails Capitol Reef National Park offers. It was Saturday (which we’d forgotten) and a free entry day (which we didn’t know about). We’ve been a little spoiled when it comes to share the trail with so many other folks, but the clumps of walkers eventually spread out and once we reached the top we realized it was all worth it.
We watched the group to the left of the arch practice their rappelling skills as, one by one, they dropped out of sight. A guide explained there was a series of smaller arches they would rappel down before hiking out from below. Keeping both feet on the ground, we reversed our steps back to the trailhead.
Our first day together we tackled the Sparks Lake Loop Trail which took us through forests and around ancient lava flows. While the remains of the lava flows were fascinating, the views from the shoreline were the high point.
I love this quote, but after my online search, the author remains unknown.
In our nearly 36 years together, Reg and I have climbed a lot of mountains. As a couple, we’ve climbed our share of emotional mountains. In more recent years we’ve struggled with our abilities to climb physical peaks on long distance hiking trails.
The key to our success, I believe, is that one of us always sings…metaphorically speaking of course!
We looked north to Wales for the first week on England’s South West Coast Path, but have turned the corner and the sun is setting into the ocean as I write. I can no longer see Wales, nor any whales, which has been a homonym joke for us. Don’t you wish you were here to share in the fun?
How’s the trail? As varied as any we have walked. Plenty of mud, slippery rocks, and more than 4,000 stairs–so far. Most of the time, it has been dry and steep. We have climbed more than 20,000 feet so far, which means we have descended 20,000 feet. Mont Blanc and Italy had steep parts, but not as consistently steep as this. If you are calculating averages, we had two quite flat days around Barnstaple.
How’s the food? B&Bs offer breakfast menus now, with many choices. Even a continental breakfast tray, delivered to our room when we want an early start. Lunch is a picnic, usually a sandwich, crisps and fruit bought in the morning at a shop. However, we are in a stretch with no stores nearby, so we get box lunches from the hotel. We have learned to carry plenty of snacks. Our evening meals come in pubs and a couple of restaurants, or when there is nothing else near, our hotel. In Woolacombe, we found a place that satisfied our veggie craving. Lots of fish and chips, and last night I had a huge Yorkshire pudding with sausages, chips, and (what else?) peas. We both have tried (and liked) mushy peas.
Surf’s up? Surf shops, surf lessons, and surfers, everywhere. The surf? Not so much.
Americans? None on the trail, so far. Actually, not as many other trekkers as we expected. Mainly brits, others from the continent. Otherwise we go long stretches without having to share the trail. Long stretches are very remote, in fact.
How far? We hope to make it from Minehead to Land’s End, 260 miles. Everyone else we have talked to is doing a day hike, or a few days. So far, no one going to Land’s End, nor the entire 630 miles. We have walked 109 miles so far, or about the length of the Tour du Mont Blanc.
The weather? Tuesday was brilliant, our third such day. Two days of rain, others were overcast, sometimes drippy.
Forest or pasture? We left the forest behind at midday Tuesday and had wide-open views of pastures, farms, cliffs, the ocean. Forest walking is not our cup of tea…climbing on a drippy forest trail is not much fun. The same climb out in the open seems so much easier.
Language? Everyone so far speaks English, making for fun conversations over breakfast, in the pubs, or on the trail. No sign language required.
Laundromats? Are you kidding? We wash, rinse, squeeze in a towel, and hang our moisture-wicking clothes. One B&B host offered to do our laundry, though! Perhaps she was hoping to get rid if the odor.
Speedy? As usual, Sue zips up the hills and I struggle to keep up. But we agree steep uphill is less worrisome than steep downhills, where one slip-up can be disastrous.
We slept until 7:00 this morning and hated to leave the wonderful Bed and Breakfast we were staying in…but the path called, and we had a long day of climbing, including reaching the highest point on the South West Coast Path, The Great Hangman, at an elevation of 1,043 feet.
As we left Lynton, our first surprise was rounding a bend and wandering through The Valley of the Rocks, a spectacular display of rock formations looming above our heads. The rest of the day unfolded with one breathtaking view after another.
Take A Hike Photography transported us to heights we can only dream about in their post titled In the Shadow Of Peak Lenin, Day 1: Welcome to the Big Leagues! This was just too amazing not to share. Enjoy!
We have been trekking in Kyrgyzstan for 23 days now. We have only four days left, and we have saved the biggest challenge and hopefully the best scenery for last. For our final trek, we will be hiking around Peak Lenin, Kyrzygstan’s highest peak at 23,405 feet. They say that Peak Lenin is one of the easiest 7000+ meter peaks to summit, but we have no interest in going that high.
We chose the long way home after a visit with my Dad (for his 93rd birthday). Highway 1, California’s Pacific Coast Highway, stretches the length of the state and offers some of the most stunning coastal views you’ll find anywhere. We drove the section from San Luis Obispo to Monterey, taking advantage of a few of the roadside stops along the way.
The little community of Clarkdale owes its existence to the copper mining industry. It was a true company town, founded in 1912 by William A. Clark, owner of Arizona’s largest copper mine. Although the good old days of the copper mining industry are long gone, the Arizona Copper Art Museum continues to celebrate the very thing that put Clarkdale on the map. Housing over 5,000 pieces of copper art from the 1500s to present day, it certainly exceeded our expectations! The old high school has quite an interesting history of its own. This is a not-to-be-missed treat!
I’m fascinated with the desert saguaro cactus. Thousands upon thousands are spread across the Sonoran Desert, each one as unique as a human fingerprint. And since I brought up the comparison, I thought you might like to see the chart I found at The Saguaro (east) National Park Visitor Center.