Hiking Wicklow Mountains

Views over Glendalough

Months ago, after returning to Dublin from Morocco I joined a hiking group. This weekend I finally went on my first hike. I’ve only been back from the Camino ten days, but have been itching to get back on the trail. So, I dove in, choosing to join a 20km higher difficulty hike around Wicklow, an area I’d been but had never hiked. But I figured, 20km was nothing, even with a near 1,000m elevation gain, right? Saturday brought a cool, clear day during a week of bizarre and mercurial weather. A welcome change, and a good thing too, as this hike would wind up being hard enough without the often present inclement weather.  Continue reading

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On the Countdown to Home.

Our first Dublin Home-Herbert Park.

Our first Dublin Home-Herbert Park.

We have a year left in Dublin, at least, technically. Twelve non-consecutive months broken up by three months in the states this summer, that’s it. It’s been two and a half years since we moved here; it hardly feels like that’s possible. We’ve started thinking about the move back, starting to bring things stateside on our visits to prepare for that eventual departure.

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On “Training” for El Camino de Santiago

IMG_3998By “training” I mean, wander around Dublin at a reasonably quick pace while stopping for groceries and cappuccinos. I don’t really know how I should be preparing for this, having never attempted anything like it. The internet ranges in advice from, “didn’t train, was fine” to “here’s my guide to the 156 exercises you should master for a long distance hike! Do it or you’ll die!” I’m a reasonably fit person, and don’t have the inclination to walk 800km in preparation to…walk 800km. After all, that’s what this is, a walk. Not a run, not a hard climb. It’s long, but it’s not a grand feat of strength. More like not pushing too hard and wearing proper shoes (to grossly oversimplify). I didn’t train at all for Kili, at best I was acclimated from being in Moshi for a few months. And I made it, granted, with a fair amount of fanfare and struggle. But I did it, so I figure I can do this too. But because it doesn’t hurt to be somewhat prepared, I’ve thrown together a training program to get my body (most particularly, my joints) somewhat acclimated for a daily assault.

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Hiking to Sandycove: A Questionable 25km decision.

Sandycove coastline

Sandycove coastline

I am inherently terrible at moderation, I tend to be all in or nothing at all. In life this has both served me very well (I tend to be very good at what I chose to do), and very poorly (sometimes you should probably show up to that Freshman seminar you hate, if you know, you want to pass). When it comes to athletics, sheer determination got me to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, even if I was intermittently unconscious ten minutes later and had to be run down the mountain because I didn’t acclimate properly (whoops). I am also extremely competitive, which manifests itself in the usual ways, and in slightly odd ways like disliking most board/card games because they have an element of chance, and I can’t depend on my pure ability to win. I am also terrible at “playing for fun.” So when I decided to see how I would fare at a 25km hike (about 16 miles) because I’m considering a long-distance trek this May (more on that later), instead of building up, I strapped on my hiking boots and walked along Dublin’s east coast from city center to Sandycove and back.  Continue reading