ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Our bus took us to the edge of the North York Moors national park, where we met Mike, our local guide for the day, along with his dog who would be accompanying us. We started up on a forested path but soon came out on the heather-carpeted moor tops, where we could see for miles despite the cloudy day. In the distance we even make out the North Sea - finally, we were nearing the far edge of England!

Pictures and prose )

And a bonus poem )

last bit of high road

The pictures only, at Flickr
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
Richmond Castle We had a layover day in Richmond, which is something many C2C'ers do, as Richmond is a relatively large town with many things to see and good shops. Our group had been parceled out again among several B&Bs; Britt and I stayed at the Frenchgate Guest House (our room was the one in the center photo in the photo bar at the top of the page) which is a lovely old townhouse. Ralph, the owner - a retired engineer who's owned the place for eleven years - said that among the building's legal papers are the original deeds for the two houses that were combined to form the current house. From 1457. In Latin.

In the morning we met for a city tour given by a volunteer who, alas, was not a very good tour guide. A lot of standing around, a few rambling stories, a few indications of what might be interesting without actually going in or seeing these things. And then it started raining. But we did get an idea of what we wanted to see during the afternoon, which we had free.

Touristing! )

Nine photos, mostly of the castle
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
My ankle was still swollen in the morning, but I didn't care; no way was I going to be deprived of a second day of my vacation, especially since the day's walk would only be about seven miles. After a leisurely breakfast we strolled down the road into teeny-tiny Keld, where we poked our heads into the one-room museum and the small 'Well Being Garden' while we waited for Jon and Maura, the local walkers who'd be our guides.

Keld

Buttercups and beer )

Or just look at the 13 photos on Flickr.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
When I woke up, the swelling in my ankle had decreased a bit, but it was still painful enough walking downstairs for breakfast that I knew the smart thing to do would be to take a taxi to Keld, rather than walking the 12 miles. I hung onto Britt's iPad (rather than having him pack it to be transported to Keld Lodge) and bravely told him to enjoy himself on the hike.

To be honest, I was kind of excited about a day to myself, after so much situationally-enforced group togetherness. Plus, it was a cloudy day and it looked like it might start raining any minute. After a couple of lazy hours in the B&B's living room, drinking tea and using their wifi, I was ready to explore Kirkby Stephen.

The first thing I did was head to the pharmacy, to pick up some more ibuprofen - I was almost out of the small supply I'd brought - and some paracetamol with codeine. Then I strolled down to the bridge over the river Eden (the name of the town is thought to be a corruption of 'Kirkby-on-Eden'). I visited the parish church, which has an 8th century carving of the Norse god Loki (one of two known carvings of this type, and the only one in Britain) - it was found among the gravestones that lie against the churchyard wall (which are also quite picturesque, though not as old).

loki stone ks graveyard

I had a late-morning beer at the King's Arms, and an early-afternoon beer at the White Lion, which had a sign out front:
FREE
wifi and cheap
BEER
Needless to say, I took advantage of both! I had lunch at a tiny cafe in a gourmet-foods store: a smoked-salmon sandwich, a slice of orange cake and coffee. I talked with the owner of the hiking-gear store, Eden Outdoors, who was sitting by the clever planter he'd designed for the front of his store:

boots

Around two in the afternoon I decided it was time to head for Keld, so I went over to B&D Taxi to arrange a ride. It turned out I was just in time, as they hold the contract for school transport and were gearing up to do the afternoon school run, but one of the drivers gave a quick call to the owner to let her know he was running me over to Keld first, and we were off. I sat up front with the driver and we chatted the whole time; he pointed out various things of interest, waterfalls and stone barns and the place where a snowplow went off the road last winter, and told me about his own long-distance walks (he'd done the coast-to-coast and some other routes as well), and about his family (his father's 80th birthday was that weekend, and his children were coming from around the country for a party). All told, it was a worthwhile expenditure of £25, and I got to see quite a bit of the same scenery I would have on the walk.

Keld is a teeny-tiny collection of about a dozen stone buildings. The Keld Lodge, where we were staying, sits by itself on the road above the town; it used to be a youth hostel but is now a B&B, with a bar in the reception room and a couple of picnic tables outside. The manager, a skinny guy who (at least in my eyes) resembled Tobias Menzies, poured me a pint of Black Sheep Bitter, and I went out to sit in the sun, which was just beginning to peek from behind the clouds. Two older couples soon joined me; they had walked six miles up the Swale to Keld from Gunnerside, and would return on a slightly different route, which they said was their favorite hike, and they did it yearly. We talked until they finished their drinks and went on their way. Shortly afterwards, a coast-to-coast hiker came in for a beer, and to use the nearby pay phone to call his B&B to pick him up; then another arrived, then another. I ended having a wonderful time conversing with other walkers (and drinking quite a bit of delicious ale!) until my own group finally started to drift in.

I was hoping that Britt would play 'guest writer' and give me a blog entry for the actual hike on this day, but he's been really busy getting ready for a business trip. I did, however, put some of his photos up on Flickr, so you can see what I missed.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
old railway building

Alas we did not get to do the last bit of the Coast-to-Coast within the Lake District, Patterdale to Shap; instead our tour bus took us from Glenridding to a tiny spot on the road in the middle of farmers' fields, by a pond called Sunbiggin Tarn. The leaders headed across the fields at what seemed like a fairly random point, despite the C2C signpost just a few hundred yards down the road. It wasn't a bad cross-country jaunt. We flushed several pheasants, which exploded from the grass in great whirring flutters of wings, and soon we intersected the proper trail and turned onto it.

Stone walls, sheep, and I painfully get my come-uppance. )

All six pictures and no whining, at Flickr
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
You are probably looking at this post's subject and thinking, "huh, she misspelled 'Air Force', and what does that have to do with hiking, anyway?" And that was my thought when I noticed those words on the map of hikes around Glenridding (same map as linked from the previous post), as Britt and I planned what to do with our second free day.

Over the past several days we'd noticed various 'forces' mentioned in our guidebook and on signs. It turns out that just as 'fell' is lake-districtese for 'mountain', 'force' is lake-districtese for waterfall, from the Old Norse fors. Aira Force is in fact a waterfall formed by Aira Beck; 'beck', I may have mentioned, is lake-districtese for 'stream', and is incidentally a word I learned from reading Rosemary Sutcliff's book The Shield Ring, which is set along Derwent Water, a nearby lake. 'Aira' is also from the Old Norse, meaning 'gravel-bank stream'. So there is the long explanation for the post title, and here is the short one:

Aira Force, and bridge

In which we hike to something that is not a squadron of military planes. )

Just the 11 photos at Flickr
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
On our "Connoisseur's Coast-to-Coast" walk, in addition to skipping the less interesting bits of the standard C2C route, we would also have the opportunity to walk in additional places that are not on the standard route. Our itinerary included two extra days in Glenridding for optional things; naturally, Britt and I chose to Walk More!

A boat ride and a hike )

Alpenglow over Ullswater

14 photos, no nattering
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Heading up Tongue Gill

As on the previous day, we left from our inn to walk all the way to our next night's lodging, which made me feel a bit more like a Genuine Coast-to-Coastie. Derek came with us again, but this time he gave us gazelles the go-ahead to lope on ahead and take a more interesting route: after climbing to the saddle above Grisdale Tarn (a high lake), he directed us to turn right and go up the steep route to the summit of 2,864-ft high Fairfield Pike. Then we could follow the ridge north to the slightly lower St. Sunday Crag and from there descend near the village of Patterdale and walk the mile or so along the road to Glenridding. Four of us - me, Britt, Kris, and Aleta - opted to do this; the others would descend Grisdale (the valley), an easier and slightly shorter walk.

We were happy to do so, as once the path steepened most of the group slowed considerably. We skipped on ahead, taking a snack break at a lovely little waterfall, then climbed to the saddle, where quite a few other walkers were resting on a stone wall running its length. We could also see a steady line of people on the steep zig-zag of a trail on the far side of Grisdale Tarn, ascending Dollywaggon Pike on the way to climbing Helvellyn, the third highest peak in England.

Up-up-up! )

14 photos at Flickr
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
I'm not doing a very good job of updating my journal from the trail, as although we usually have net access in the evening I have to share Britt's iPad with him, and we are pretty busy with other things. I can do a little with my Kobo e-reader, but there's no keypad (as there is for the iPad) so I'm disinclined to type much. However, I do manage to type a sentence or two most days to Facebook, and there are a few photos as well: http://www.facebook.com/ilanarama (publicly viewable - you don't need to be a fb friend or, I think, even have an account).

Here is a photo from yesterday (I hope this works):

Aha, it is a link, click here!
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
In the morning we had breakfast, packed our things and left them downstairs for the transportation service to pick up, and then met Derek, who would be our local guide for the day. Derek is part of the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, and that morning we had no idea how relevant this would be.

looking back towards Stonethwaite

Don't worry, it wasn't me who needed rescuing... )

These and more photos - 12 in all - at Flickr.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
As this was a cheatin' c2c, instead of rolling out of bed and starting our walk, the bus took us to the parking lot at Ennerdale Water and the beginning of our sojurn in the Lake District. Now, I personally would call Ennerdale Water a 'lake', but - as Barry, one of the local hikers we were with corrected me - it is a water. So are most other so-called 'lakes' in the Lake District; they are either waters (e.g. Ennerdale Water, Ullswater), or meres (Buttermere, Grasmere) or tarns (used only for the high lakes and ponds formed in mountain cirques, like Grisdale Tarn, which we would pass the next day). The only actual 'lake' is Bassenthwaite Lake - which is why, according to Barry, it's the Lake district, not the Lakes District.

Whatever. Looks like a lake to me.

Ennerdale Water

Just like the Colorado Rockies, only with more oxygen and sheep )

These plus more photos, 14 in all, at Flickr
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
Official start

So this is it! The beginning of our Coast-to-Coast* walk. (The asterisk is because this particular guided/group trip is the "Connoisseur's Coast to Coast", that is, a selection of the good bits and minimal boring (such as hiking along a roadway) bits, connected by bus. We actually ended up walking only about half the standard distance of 190 miles. We also had our luggage transported by bus, so that we only needed to carry daypacks, but that's quite common even for people doing the full walk.)

From St. Bees to Cleator )

Twelve photos at Flickr
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Early Saturday afternoon we got on a train heading west to Carlisle; we'd spend the next two weeks going back across the country that took only a couple of hours to cross by train. We checked into our B&B and unloaded our gear, then headed to a restaurant where we met the rest of the participants on our trip (including [livejournal.com profile] zebra363). From here on out, pretty much everything was taken care of for us (both logistically and financially), which made for a much more relaxing vacation than our usual! After dinner, Britt and I took advantage of the looooooong daylight hours this time of year to walk around Carlisle, which began life as a Brythonic settlement, became the Roman fortress-town of Luguvalium, but was most marked by the conflict between England and Scotland, who traded the town back and forth between them until the 17th century.

The next morning we boarded a private tour bus for the nearby Birdoswald (Banna) Roman Fort, which is along one of the best-preserved sections of Hadrian's Wall. Yep, after just having seen a bit of the eastern end of the wall, we got to see the western end! Here it really looks like a wall, stretching out across the country:

on the wall at Birdoswald

More )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
We got off the train in Newcastle upon Tyne (to give it its full name) and were met by [personal profile] whatistigerbalm and her charming husband, who immediately hustled us off to see the sights. These included the...new castle! (Where new = built in 1172-1177. Because it replaced a Roman fort built on that site in the 2nd century or so. It's all relative!)

New Castle city wall detail, Newcastle

A whirlwind tour )

Or just look at the 8 photos. (ETA: have also added three photos for the next bit of the trip to this set, so you'll get an advance peek!)
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Crowds in Edinburgh CastleAfter an overnight flight at the end of a very long day, during which neither Britt nor I slept a wink, [livejournal.com profile] tryfanstone collected us at the Edinburgh airport, shepherded us into the bed at her flat, gave us her spare keys, and then went off to work. A couple of hours of delicious sleep later, by afternoon we were ready to be tourists. Along with everybody else in the world; Edinburgh is a major tourist destination, and as we walked along the Royal Mile toward the castle, the crowd thickened. (And this was early-season! I'm told it's ten times worse during the festival season in August - I can't imagine!)

Edinburgh is a grey city: grey stone buildings, grey skies. Narrow streets cross even narrower alleys (closes and wynds), and even the 'new' part of town dates to the 18th century - the 'old' stuff is literally medieval - so at times I felt like the Awesome Weight of History was closing in all around me. (Not to mention the Awesome Weight of Tourists!) But the city is thickly dotted with parks and open spaces, and the deep green of trees and grass (and the ubiquitous golden gorse) stands out even more vividly against all that grey.

The Firth of Forth and the Stone of Scone )
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
I haven't been posting much here this winter; I've been running, as usual, and skiing on Fridays, and doing stuff in local politics blah blah blah. Typical winter. But things are going to ramp up this spring!

There's the Canyonlands Half in Moab a week from Saturday; Britt's running the 5-miler, and we decided to bring our bikes and make a weekend of it. Not that I'm going to be full of energy after a half marathon, but. We have to get in mountain-bike shape as we were invited on a White Rim trip in mid-April! Britt and I have done it twice before, but that was back in the 1990s, so it's high time we go again.

We also need to get our rowing arms in gear as we have been invited on two raft trips this spring. One, on the Salt River in Arizona, may or may not happen depending on how much run-off there is this year; we haven't had much snow so things are looking grim. The other is on the San Juan in Utah, one of my very favorite rivers! So we're going to have to get the little boaty-boats ready, and do a few Animas River runs soonish.

Finally, in late May we are flying to Edinburgh, where we'll spend a few days with a net-friend before joining a Sierra Club trip on the Coast-to-Coast walk. Yep, we are going to walk across England! And in style, too. We've never done a group trip like this but hey, we get to stay in B&Bs and have our luggage hauled while we dayhike every day for two weeks, sounds good.

I fell down on the job as far as vacation reporting goes last fall, but we didn't take very many pictures on the Grand Canyon (it was COLD in November!). I promise to do better this spring!
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
As many of you know, my husband Britt was working in Bakersfield, CA for much of this winter. As his project began to wind up, I flew out to stay with him (I worked from his hotel, since I telecommute anyway) and then on Friday, January 27th, we packed up the Sportsmobile (he'd driven it out, originally) and headed home, taking our time and visiting tourist traps and national parks along the way.

Joshua Tree

Our first destination was Joshua Tree National Park. We are both rock climbers - or used to be, anyway - and had heard about the climbing there; we were not prepared to actually climb there, but we wanted to see the rocks, and hike around, and so on. We spent two nights at the entirely gorgeous Jumbo Rocks campground, and two days visiting pretty much every corner of the park accessible from the main road.

More photos and rambling about Joshua Tree NP )

Trailer parks and tourist traps. And a wolf. )

Petrified Forest National Park )

Oops, I almost forgot: more photos (a total of 30) at Flickr.
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
Again, the images are laid out in pairs, so you might want to make your browser window nice and wide. Lots of photos, but there are even more I uploaded to Flickr but didn't put inline here.

Wednesday, July 27 (Tena): in which we get wet )

Thursday, July 28 (Tena): in which we get wet )

Friday, July 29 (Tena to Papallacta): in which we get wet. Are you detecting a pattern here? )

29 photos at Flickr

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

June 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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