The weekend was originally supposed to be the Three Peaks Challenge: hike the 3 tallest peaks in the UK in 24 hours. Snowdon in Wales; Scafell Pike in England; and Ben Nevis in Scotland. DJ Jeff Sloan was the organizer but due to last minute logistics, we ran the option play and were presented with The Sloandog Millionaire Two Peaks Challenge for Remotes that Want to Hike Good (and Do Other Things Good, Too).
Two for three ain't bad!
or some reason, I/we did not research hiking climate conditions in the UK in July. I think we were just overly exuberant to go on an excursion.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Just because it is warm in London, does not mean it will be warm in the mountains.
One exciting thing is that I got to drive on the opposite side of the car / road! This was scary. And exciting. And weird. I hit 5 curbs in about 4.5 hours of driving. The roads in Wales are super narrow, and the curbs are not steep...they were more like speed bumps. LOL
I didn't feel so bad, because Miranda hit 4 curbs and Sloandog hit ~4 in much less driving time. My curb to drive time ratio was actually pretty solid comparatively.
We drove down to Wales to hike their highest peak (Snowdon, aka Snowdonia) and the weather was so fierce that the staff could not make their way up to the peak to man the shack. That’s how crazy the rain, wind, sleet and freezing cold weather was. It was like a white out on a ski slope. I did not prepare for said elements. I thought we’d be hiking in warm weather. Rookie mistake. Moronic. Paid for it.
I was completely soaking wet within 10 minutes of hiking. But, I powered through, because I’m a champ and, it's The Sloandog Millionaire Two Peaks Challenge for Remotes that Want to Hike Good (and Do Other Things Good, Too).
When we got to the peak, we saw two Brits dressed in proper cold weather hiking attire. One said to us, "It's Wales in July, what did you expect?" Well, Mr. Smarty Pants. I've never been to Wales in July, so I guess I did not know what to expect.
No, it's my bad for not doing research. I own it.
After drying off, and a nice warm meal in Wales, we headed north up to Scafell Pike, in Keswick, England. On the way up, we saw some gorgeous views of the countryside and the best rainbow I've ever seen, outside of Iguazu Falls.
We got some rest at a hotel in Morecambe Bay, England, just outside of Lancaster. It's a coastal town, and looks very New England-y...but I guess that's a weird thing to say, since it is definitively Old England-y.
The hotel did not have dryers for us to deal with our soaking clothes. We tried 3 or 4 hotels and we almooost got one hotel owner to bite. Until he saw that we had 7 peoples' clothes to dry and he angrily bailed with the quickness.
The next day, at Scafell Pike, our clothes were still pretty damp and cold, but our spirits were warm and fuzzy! The Sloandog Millionaire Two Peaks Challenge for Remotes that Want to Hike Good (and Do Other Things Good, Too) was in reach and we intended to finish it.
The weather at Scafell Pike was less fierce, but still fierce. There was much less rain than Snowdon, thankfully! But, winds were WHIPPING.
Whipping so hard that my poncho only lasted about 1 hour before it got ripped off my body. Mother nature was laughing at us again!
We hiked up for ~3 hours, and almoooost made it to the peak. We easily could have summited, but timing was not on our side. We had to get back to England at a reasonable hour, and turned back an hour from the top.
It did not matter, because the hike was GORGEOUS. A lot of the fog cleared on the way back down.
This weekend classified as Level 3 Fun. Level 1 fun is the normal things you do in life, and you don't even think about them. Going to the movies. Seeing a show. Playing games.
Level 2 fun is planned fun. Going on a trip, and doing extraordinary things that you don't often do. Rare moments. Great memories.
Level 3 fun is when the unexpected happens! Like when you go on a hiking trip, and you're totally unprepared for the elements...but you embrace the ridiculous experience! This weekend was totally Level 3. None of us knew how nuts the road trip would get and how crazy the weather would be. But it all makes for an awesome story and unforgettable memories.
When we got back to the rental car place, my group surprised me with a birthday card. I was stunned, and feeling all sorts of good vibes. Definitely did not expect it!
What a phenomenal group of travel mates. We had so many laughs and so many good times! It was the first time I had traveled with a bunch of them, and it’s refreshing to get to know people in the group that I had previously not known well. Much love to the Challenge Competitors!
Weekend 1 was wondrous.
Weekend 2, is PARIS. Leaving on a train in a little bit...