Muddying my boots – one walking trail at a time

One of my photographs from our honeymoon is quite telling. It’s like a precursor of things to come. I am wearing a lemon print yellow and white cotton dress that comes up a little over my ankles. My hand are hennaed up to my elbows and I am holding my black kitten heel wedges in my hands. My feet are bare, and I am smiling for the camera.

I was never a walker. Or a hiker. When I packed for our honeymoon, I packed dresses and denim shorts, and nothing that was hike or walk friendly. You see, I did not expect to walk. We had driven to our resort in Daman, and I thought that the expeditions out of the all-inclusive resort would be in our car.

However, on our honeymoon, I realised two things. I had married a walker. My husband loved walking, and he couldn’t really sit still anywhere. Even if was a beach or a meadow, he couldn’t just sit and take in what the view had to offer – be it the now-tame and in-an-instant-wild waves of the sea or the meadow filled with wildflowers, and buffaloes and goats.

And thus that photo. I couldn’t really walk a lot or a longer distance in those kitten wedges. So I would hold them in my hands and walk barefoot. When we would return to the resort, I would wash my feet. We did use our car a lot, but it would often turn out that the husband would park it somewhere and decide to walk, find a trail, a farm, a meadow over the hill… Some of our fights have happened over his reluctance to sit still for five minutes. Even if it is a spectacular view, he needs to keep walking, exploring. (And then there’s me, who carries a notebook and talks to the sea or the valley and it seems that they talk back to me, and I write down our conversations in the notebook.)

It is no wonder then that most of our day outs or holidays involve some measure of walking if not hiking. Ever since we started measuring our steps and km, it is not unusual for us to have clocked over 15,000 steps in a day when we are out on a vacation or sightseeing.

My foot wardrobe now has better armour – I have a pair of waterproof hiking shoes and a pair of walking shoes.

These hikes have taken me to places that I thought were beyond me.

Places that nestle deep in the shades of many trees, over mountains and hilltops, or by the side of streams and waterfalls.

From the girl who would rather curl up with a book, or reread her favourite books on a holiday, I have slowly earned my muddied boots.

It has not been easy or perfect. To be honest, most of my trails and hikes have been in the easy to moderate (difficulty) levels. The only one which was out of that range was climbing up, right to the summit at Ingleborough. Part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks and at 2,372 ft, my husband had to employ many tricks in order to encourage me to do it.

One of them was, ‘Prerna, we are half way there! You have done it!’ We were ‘half way there’ at seven or eight points in the climb! At one point, when it got very steep, I almost gave up. But I could see that now we were really close to the summit and I was still in one piece and I owed it to myself to not turn back.

However, there were quite a few where I did not do the last leg and sat down just a small distance away from the summit or the end of the trail. Those were at Seven Sisters and Loch Lomond in Scotland.

I know I will never be the sort of the mountaineering girl that has several summits under her belt. But that, I have managed to get over my fear of hiking and actually enjoy a good hike is good enough for me. For my husband too, I think. He had married a bookworm. Now he has a wife who is a bookworm who happily accompanies him to most of his hikes.

Not a bad deal, I say.

This past weekend, we went to the Devil’s Glen in Wicklow and it brought back memories of all the trails that we have indulged in the past few years. I am listing them down here if these may be of interest to those who are in this part of the world or want to explore some trails here.

Devil’s Glen, county Wicklow – a 10 km forest trail that leads to a waterfall

The woods were dark and dense, a play of light and shadows as we walked our trail. It was a sunny day, and though sunlight found it hard to filter through the canopy of the trees, it was warm and pleasant – so much so that I felt tempted to take off my shoes and wet my feet in the cool, sherbet-on- a-summer-day like waters of the stream.

Bray-Greystones Cliff Walk, county Wicklow, 7 km one way (you take the DART on the way back)

This must be one of the most delightful walks I have ever been on. It’s pretty linear, and you get some stunning coastal views – the sea accompanies you all along. The sea is like a woman in a beautiful blue sari, her waters sparkle and shine and her many moods and hues are all for you to feast your eyes on. On the way back, be sure to grab a window seat on the DART – the lady in blue will give you company all the way again!

Howth Cliff Walk ( Howth is a fishing village on the east of central Dublin) – a two hour walk/trail

Our neighbours had rented a car and invited us along. I am so glad we went because the views were splendid, the walk was easy with no dangerous pathways or steep inclines (it gets just a little uphill at one point but not dangerously steep or such) and it was just so good to be out and about, and the two and half hours just whizzed past in conversations, looking around, pausing to take a couple of pictures..

Dalkey and Killiney Hill Loop, near Cabinteely, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

It is a 2.9 km walk and so it is a very easy one. It is absolutely a great one for beginner level and has some beautiful wildflowers, views over the sea and lots and lots of lovely, mature trees. I remember really enjoying this one because it was a bit overcast when we started our walk and the skies cleared and everything looked so different in a moment. We had laid out a little picnic over the rocks, and were chatting via WhatsApp with our neighbours back in the UK, and suddenly the sun came out, and we felt as if we bathed in a warm embrace, and the sea glittered and shone like a sheet of diamonds.

Glendalough, Wicklow

Now this walk felt like poetry. All the autumnal colours reflected in the two lakes were all the poetry I needed for a lifetime. I have written about this before in this blog post.

Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales, (second highest of the three peaks), United Kingdom

Ingleborough is the second highest (2,372ft), of the Yorkshire Three Peaks and this was the one that my husband had to employ several techniques to encourage me, so that I made it to the summit. I think it was also inspiring to see several senior citizens attempting the summit, as well as men with babies strapped to their backs sprinting by as if they were on an even terrain.

Seven Sisters, UK (From the 13.6 miles stretch, we did about 5 miles)

I am sorry to say that I did not complete the end of the trail here, I was simply exhausted and sat down at one point. I rested while my husband and our friends made it to the end of the trail.

Loch Lomond, Scotland (we did the tourist path, about 7 miles or so long)

I went a little further from this point but not quite to the summit. I remember this being so beautiful and peaceful, I felt that I could just lay out a towel and catch a nap here. At one point, we could see it raining on the mountains, but not where we were and it was so magical to be able to witness that.

2 thoughts on “Muddying my boots – one walking trail at a time

  1. There are so many beautiful trails and places to explore outside of Dublin and I’m glad to see that you build up the courage to start hiking! It can provide lots of amazing memories and there’s nothing better than being outside. The Devil’s Glen hike is on of my favourite ones and so is Howth Cliff walk. Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos. I hope all is well. Sending you lots of virtual hugs from sunny Sligo 😀 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I have so much to learn, unlearn and explore and I am so glad that I have truly learnt to enjoy and look forward to hiking. And as always it feels so good to hear from you, and to have you write in. So appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

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