Tuesday, June 12! Breakfast in the new hotel - it’s another fairly big buffet, plenty of cold options from muesli, granola, other cereals, some fresh fruits and some canned, lots of bread options and then the hot line - eggs, fried and scrambled, sausages including black and white pudding varieties, bacon (which is like Canadian back bacon but sliced thicker) slightly cooked tomato halves and here we have fried potatoes (deep fried, that is, of course) and the guy in front of me was helping himself to a spoonful of nice looking, tomato-y sauce so I thought I’d try it - turns out it was beans but all the beans were gone - I loved it! Also, bonus, we get to make our own toast. Janet very nicely popped an extra slice of the Irish soda bread in for me, thanks, sister!
The itinerary says, ‘today’s hike will lead us through some of the most spectacular scenery in Co. Wicklow. Beginning at the Glendalough (“Glen-of-Two-Lakes”) Visitor Centre, our first stop will be one of Ireland’s premier monastic sites, established by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Afterwards, we shall hike the Spinc Loop around the Upper Lake. The trail climbs past Poulanass Waterfall before joining a boardwalk, which will lead us to a spectacular viewpoint above the Lake. The boardwalk skirts the top of the cliffs before descending through bog and heath into the Glenealo Valley and back to the Visitor Centre. (Moderate-challenging, 12 km, 1250 ft elevation gain).’ What really happened - we climbed and climbed and climbed...OMG! Whoever thought of this? Why am I doing it? Where did I go wrong in life? Jaysus Murphy and his mother! We finally get to the top - I can’t look because I am afraid of heights! Then as if that wasn’t bad enough, we start to descend! Still walking on planks covered in heavy staples to add some traction, we go down and down. At least I am no longer huffing and puffing. Thankfully the weather is considerably cooler and overcast and there is a bit of wind. We are out in the open with no trees to break it and I have to put my wind jacket on for the first time in the whole trip! Doesn’t last long though. The downward trail becomes boulders, rocks and stones, the trail is zigzagging back and forth and it requires full concentration to watch your footing and keep your balance. It was definitely the most challenging hike of the trip, about 4 hours worth with a couple of breaks along the way, and it feels good to finish up, a nice sense of achievement!
Dinner tonight is at our home hotel. Potato leek soup, breast of chicken with bread stuffing, a few veggies and chocolate brownie for dessert.