Posted by: mandaleigh | 14th Oct, 2011

The Welsh Stairmaster

I can definitely say hiking in Wales today was probably one of the best experiences of my entire life. Now let me go John Muir on you for a second.The most amazing feeling is when you accomplish something, right? Add some nature in there and you’re golden (I won’t spit out some Tintern Abbey, don’t worry). We hiked up a MOUNTAIN today. Not a high hill, not even Glastonbury, but the highest mountains in the Brecon Beacons National Park.  The highest peak in South Wales. 2906 feet. I just need to emphasize that—for me, a person who lives in front of my laptop and TiVo, this is quite a feat. And that feeling when we reached the very top, in the clouds, with the wind pummeling us and cold seeping into our bones, was indescribable. There was a lot of excited whooping and TONS of pictures. I couldn’t erase the smile from my face!

I’ve never experienced the feeling of a STRENUOUS HIKING workout, first of all. A 7 mile hike, half of it being uphill, does tend to get the blood pumping and your thighs burning. 10 minutes up, all I could think was “Jesus, why did I sign up for this?”. But once you just accept the fact that you’re doing it, you just go.  Once you’re in the clouds, it kind of changes your perspective on your previous piddly gym workouts. And there is definitely something spiritual in it that you can look down at rolling fields of green, sheep the size of quotation marks and think yeah, I just climbed up that.

After we reached the very top and took tons of pictures, we finagled a spot into the crags of the mountain to eat our brief lunch. Of course there was group bonding and all that jazz. We hiked back down (that’s pretty refreshing after the opposite) and headed to a local Welsh pub and had traditional meals—I had beef stew “hot pot”, which was a great concoction of potatoes, veggies and beef. And hot chocolate to drink? Apparently it’s a thing there, no idea.

We did leave one of our own behind….the only guy in the group, go figure. He’s kind of hard to miss. We made it a block away in the bus before we all just realized he was back at the pub. Whoooooops! Oh well, at least everybody made it safely off the mountain! And it’s an experience I’ll never forget 🙂 I can now say me and my ASE-ers have climbed mountains together. And don’t worry, you’ll never see this much corniness from me again in a future post! haha






By my best estimate I think we climbed one of those...haha

Mini-cliffs where we had snacks


First starting out---beautiful Welsh countryside!

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