Monday, August 2, 2010

Hiking in Betws-y-Coed

By Claire
We found the trail Denise had recommended, the Ilyn Elsi, right next to the church, just as she had said. Chuck’s comment when he read the description on the map next to the trailhead was “Naturally, she picked the most difficult one!” But, it was worth it. Steep uphill but then leveling off with beautiful forest, moss and falling down slate walls all around us.

Trailhead church

We crested the top and found the beautiful lake and masses of birds. Something set them off, and we had a sudden burst of noise and flapping wings as they soared around us, finally settling back onto their little islands.

A patch of blue! Maybe it will spread.

Beautiful mushroom; there were lots of different kinds along the trail.

The lake

The views were gorgeous and I had to ask Chuck, “Do you realize we are hiking in Wales? Did you ever imagine yourself here?” His answer? “Sure, after we met Gino and Denise.” Truly, they are the reason we are spending time here. Knowing nothing about this area of Britain, I’m afraid we might have just driven through it on our way back to England.

We’re enjoying our campground here, Riverside Touring Park, €27. It's a short walk into town, which we took this morning in search of breakfast. The campground wardens are storing our refrigerator items but don’t open until 8:30. We were on our way before 8, enjoying the quiet and the almost empty town. It’s very small and consists mostly of cafés, outdoor clothing and souvenir shops plus a couple of churches.

Some sights along the way:

Brynmawr Church, Eclwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru. I'm guessing it's a Presbyterian Church.

We found a Spar market open and selling cappuccinos and baked goods. I went for the muesli flapjack, a square of nuts, oats and fruit glued together with honey. Perfect. I don't know why they call it a flapjack. Chuck went for a chocolate brioche and a strudel. Sitting on a bench in the park, it was a splendid breakfast.

We decided to go back and get our proper hiking boots and some water before setting off on the hike. We even used our trekking poles. A good idea all around. We were very impressed with how well marked the trail was: a footprint in black and white for the lake trail and a footprint in blue and white for another. We found the markers often and it made the hike so much easier not to have to worry about taking the wrong fork in the road. I am so happy to be hiking again.

We arrived back in town to find it swarming with tourists and completely changed. No wonder early morning is my favorite time of day.

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. ~ Henry David Thoreau


Karin said...

My God, you have died and gone to Heaven! That is Paradise!

I am putting Wales on the list!


Glad you are walking ok now, Claire.

Karin on Paros

Pat in Santa Cruz said...

Thanks for sharing the "love story" of Gino and Denise. The wedding vows were so touching. The little girl is soo cute...reminds me of an actress we have in several commercials.
Claire, I am SO glad that you are hiking again!

Anonymous said...

Hey the lovebirds are one thing but the little birdy with the almost- grumpy look on his face is utterly priceless. How close did you actually get? Trying to think of a caption. All of today's outstanding fotos make me want to be there - Wales;) Gorgeous.