Saturday, 11 May 2013

Bank holiday expedition

From the first half of the Pony Trail
 I love camping.  I am not quite sure why I like it so much as it can be quite hard work.  You sleep in a less comfortable bed than usual; meals are more difficult to prepare; the seats for relaxing in the evening are not so comfortable as being at home; if the weather is inclement you can be too cold, too hot, uncomfortably wet, or unable to sleep because of the noise of the wind.  And yet . . . there is the freedom of no email to answer; being so close to the elements is exhilarating and enriching even when it is inconvenient; and our tent is about as comfortable as a tent can be.  Nevertheless the sum of the parts does not add up to a reason for why I love camping.  It is just as it is and there is no purpose in trying to rationalise it.

We so want to be able to rationalise everything: this is like that; I like this because of that; I don’t like that because of this; and so on.  We try to live our lives through the rational thinking of conceptual mind and this limits the infinite potential of our being.  Direct experience does not need to be rationalised. 
I love camping!

Llyn Cau
This expedition was to climb Cadair Idris.  We have climbed as far as Llyn Cau several times on the Minffordd Path, and to the peak once via the other two lakes, Llyn Gafr and Llyn y Gadair, on the Foxes Path.  This time we tried the Pony Trail.  We did not make it to the peak because bad weather rolled in and visibility was reduced to almost zero, so we decided to head back down.

I didn’t like the Pony Trail.  We thought it would be an easier path.  While it is true that it is does not have the difficult steep steps of the Minffordd Path, or the near-vertical scree of the Foxes Path, it is a longer continuous slog.  There are a lot of steps in the first half and I found the continuous steps more wearing than the strenuous, short, sharp section of steps on the Minffordd Path.  The second half of the trail is mostly loose scree underfoot.  It is not steep and sheer like the scree on the Foxes Path, but I found it hard work to walk on for such a long time.  I missed seeing the lakes and the view was not so interesting from the scree section of the walk - though this may not be entirely accurate as there was a lot of low cloud when we were walking that obscured any view.

If we attempt the climb again I will go back to the Minffordd Path and risk my knees on the steps.  At least there will be the beautiful and extraordinary Llyn Cau to look forward to after the rigours of the climb.

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