The mountains here are just b-e-a-uuuutiful. While I have been enjoying the view from the ground, I've been introduced this month to a new way to see them - hiking.
I've been twice in the last few days - it's not something I've done before but, whilst struggling with it, I'm really enjoying it. I went on Tuesday this week and also today - here's what it was like.
Tuesday morning I was unwillingly woken up by Mama B opening the curtains at 7.30am. Groan. By 9am we were out of the door - and it was then that I noticed the weather. The usual morning fog was nowhere to be seen - instead, the air was fresh and sharp, there was blue sky above and the view of the mountains was the clearest I'd seen it yet. It was beautiful.
We piled into the car (the Volvo again) - here Papa B stopped me as I was putting on my seatbelt. He told me that I don't have to wear it here (I'd noticed that the others hadn't been wearing theirs). When I asked why, he replied that there was only 'one police' round here so it wasn't necessary - as if that was reason enough.... I buckled myself in all the same.
We drove for 10 minutes, parked up, and then we began our walk. Five minutes in and I'd peeled off my university jumper - it was quite warm, and the going steep. And it got steeper.
I had expected it to be difficult, but it was even worse than I'd thought. The little family of mountain goats skipped on ahead of me, whilst I trailed behind, sweating and panting at the back of the herd. It was bad. I'm not exactly the fittest I've ever been - I enjoy going to the gym, although I never manage it that regularly, and I prefer a nice long walk to a run, which is probably why I was struggling to get up the mountain.
After nearly an hour of walking uphill, I was completely beaten. My legs felt like lead and my knees were aching (safe to say I've got that from my mother).
But, I have to say, it was completely worth it. When we arrived at the top the panoramic views were stunning and the sun was shining warmly down on us. It was lovely.
However, after having admired the view, the descent began. This, in some ways, was worse than the hike up. I am neither a little mountain goat nor am I light footed. Ask anyone I know and they will tell you of my lack of balance and how often I trip or fall over (hint: it's a lot). On top of this I have a bit of a funny fear of falling. Perhaps, knowing all this, you may understand the struggle I went through getting back down the stupid mountain - it was quite bad. Eventually I got down!
Yesterday's walk was cancelled due to the rain; today however it's been beautiful - and luckily we were not leaving as early as Tuesday! We left the house at about 11am this morning and drove to a different car park. From here we began walking with a family that they're friends with and who I've got to know over the last two weeks (a couple with two young children and a baby, very nice people).
Today the going was much easier than Tuesday - I've put it down to several variables: the weather was a little cooler, the path not as steep, I was not dressed all in black as I was the other day, and my backpack was lighter. A combination of all I think.
Nothing like a peach juice box.
It was extremely pituresque - the trees, the mountains, the stream, and the cows!
Later, on the way back down, we made a new friend:
When we arrived home, everyone flopped down outside, and I snuck off to make a cup of tea - the one thing the picnic was lacking in!