I have been planning for this trip since the day I returned from the UK last fall. This time I am planning to walk the length of Ireland – 620+ miles – starting in the southwestern village of Castletownbere and finishing at the geological wonder in Northern Ireland – the Giant’s Causeway.
My friends are the best!
I am blessed to have two companions joining me. One friend, Mary, I know from when I lived in Carson City. She is going to walk the full distance with me. We are allowing 60 days to complete the trek, but many folk before us have finished in 40 days. We are in no hurry.
My other friend is Thomas. We met in a hostel in Inverness two years and have stayed in touch since then. I have visited him where he lives in Wiltshire County, England and he has visited with me in New York City.
Did I hear “Epic Adventure”?
This is really an epic adventure for me because I will be carrying my fully loaded backpack the entire way. I haven’t backpacked for some 30 years, and then it was just for long weekends in the Toiyabe Mountains in central Nevada.
We will be camping about half of the time, as many of the villages we will be visiting have few or no accommodations. Besides, my objective is to travel as frugally as possible. From what I have read, the first 50 miles are the most strenuous. On day one we must hike up and over a mountain to get to the next village. It’s only 13 miles. However, some people take 12 hours to complete it. We’re going to stop and camp in the woods before we are physically wiped out.
Are you ready for this?
Am I ready for this? I hope so. I have logged in a ton of trail miles because I trained for a 50k – Way Too Cool. But that is another story for another post. I have been very diligent about working out at the gym 3 days a week. My trainer Craig encouraged me to push myself and go up in the weights as I grew stronger. Plus I have been faithfully hiking up and down the hills of Auburn, California every Monday night for the past 5 years (except for the the time I have been overseas exploring the British Isles.)
I did my research as to what to take. On my first attempt I packed the things I wanted. Unfortunately my pack tipped the scales over 30 pounds. Too heavy, considering I still needed to add food, water and fuel for my Jetboil Flash. My target is 30 pounds with food, fuel and water. I sighed as I set aside those things I didn’t need. I repacked and achieved a more reasonable weight. The final weigh-in will be in Ireland.
I successfully moved out of the room I had been renting for the last six months and my storage unit is filled to the brim. I even arranged for a place to store my car with my friend Ali.
Then the final step was getting to the airport on time. I was going to take the train to the Bay Area then Bart to San Francisco International Airport on the day of departure. I thought it was possible since my flight was scheduled for 12:10 pm. After consulting with friends I decided to book a room for the night before.
Instead of taking public transportation, as I originally planned, my dear friend Heather drove me to the motel. And driving over the day before turned out to be a good decision because traffic was horrible. What should have been a 2-hour drive ended up taking 3-1/2 hours. Most of the delay was at the Oakland Bay Bridge.
And so it goes. I made it to my first of three flights and my adventure commences.