Mountain walking, ha. More like mountain walking, jogging, scrambling, hoisting, sliding, crawling. Whoever said the British were given to understatement were guilty of understatement themselves. Usually, I find this habit adorable, amusing, charming, and humble (as in the habit of British people of any age or sex referring to elderly folks as “that young lady over there” or “this young gentleman here”), but in other cases (“It’s a bit of a walk. Just three miles each way, really. Or maybe five.”) I am less amused.
As I ascended Tryfan mountain for Outdoor Pursuits, panting heavily and wondering why Netflix had seemed a better idea than going for a run last month, I was slightly terrified. Once we started semi-rock climbing over boulders that looked like they’d been left there by some Neolithic giant who could come back for them at any moment, I felt so far outside my comfort zone that I would’ve needed a map to get back in. Heights aren’t my thing, remember? The edge was so wonderfully steep…
Once I reached the summit (one of my proudest accomplishments of this trip), I felt much better. I’d gotten that far, and I figured I could pretty much do anything, even go down the mountain. At the summit– a narrow area of boulders– the clouds decided to wrap Tryfan in a big foggy hug. Eating a quick lunch (we only had 10 min. at the summit so we could keep our body heat– at that point we were wearing every layer, hats, and gloves) between boulders, completely surrounded by a thick grayish cloud that blocked out the rest of the world, was a weird, cool experience.
We turned around and exited off the mountain backwards like you would climb down a ladder (watching people go down this way, it looked like they were disappearing off the edge into nothingness), and it was all downhill from there. Ha, I kid. For a while it was mostly sliding feet first down rocks, but to pick the best route we had to go up, down, and sideways. Once the rocky part was over, we squelched through boggy ground, crossed a waterfall/vertical-ish stream, and walked down steep slopes.
Before you get too impressed with my mountain walking skills, I’ll be honest and say that we met a young gentleman celebrating his 74th birthday with one last walk up Tryfan. The whole group sang “Penblwydd hapus” (Happy birthday) to him on the way down!
I liked the downhill parts, which gave me a chance to enjoy the view of Ogwen Valley. The
climb walk was worthwhile for both the view and the sense of accomplishment I felt when it was over. Guys, I climbed to the top of a mountain!