Thursday, March 24, 2011

Longest hike I did in Ireland and I survived!

Day 5 Ireland –

It is a wee bit more frosty out this morning. The car was actually covered in frost along with the grass and anything that sat outside all night long. The nip in the air made my ears bright red on my walk into Kenmare, but there’s nothing like the smell of cow dung to clear the sinuses and open your lungs to the fresh air of the Irish countryside.

This morning I could not decide whether to pack up the car and take a drive to Dingle or try to walk part of the Kenmare Way. I decided that since it was looking like a gorgeous sunny day ahead to walk into town, have breakfast, and if I can figure out this Walker’s Guide to the Kenmare Way then I will hike the 15 kilometers to Inchaquin Lakes/Waterfall and then another 6 kilometers through a valley in the Caha Mountains. Part way through this trek is a stone circle and at the end is the waterfall.

But before I go there, I must get food and hydrate.

This morning I had a breakfast bap. “What’s a bap?” you ask.

A bap is a light, floury, soft roll. A breakfast bap has egg or ham or sausage and maybe an egg or cheese if you want. I went with the Irish bacon, egg and cheese bap.

Cross my fingers that my calves and shins survive this hike. Yikes! After yesterday’s long walks, it’s iffy.

On my way to Gleninchaquin I had to cross over Our Lady's Bridge, which was constructed in 1932-1933 to replace the original suspension bridge that went up in 1841.

Near the bridge is some type of park where they probably hold concerts. I believe that based on the stone sculptures standing in this spot as well as the rockwall benches that are spread out.

After crossing over the bridge the rest of the LONG walk is on a narrow road that parallels the river. It's a peaceful walk except for fear of some car coming around the corner and smashing into you.

Actually, the drivers are very used to hikers walking this road. There are even signs telling drivers to be cautious of walkers. As a matter of fact, I have never waved to so many people in my life.

Whenever a car saw me they would move over and then wave as they passed me. Isn't that a nice gesture? Seriously! Every car that drove by yours truly waved.

As part of this walk I actually ended up on the Beara Peninsula. Cool! Check out the sign to the left. The Beara Peninsula is a peninsula on the south-west coast of Ireland, bounded between the Kenmare "river" to the north side and Bantry Bay to the south. It has two mountain ranges running down its center: the Caha Mountains and the Slieve Miskish Mountains.

I was headed toward the valley of the Caha Mountains.

I saw a black sheep for the first time ever on my walk in the Gleninchaquin park. Yes, I took pictures.

The walk was long but pretty.

Gleninchaquin Park has breath-taking landscapes and scenery. You walk around and through beautiful streams, mountain paths, rock passages, along glens and lakes to higher altitude all framed by the Killarney McGillicuddy Reeks along the horizon.

The walk through the park was quiet except for the sheep I ran into and the occasional car that drove through. I would so not want to drive through the park. It was almost worse than Kerry Way.

There are these beautiful blue lakes in the middle of all the brown land and rock.

I ran into another hiker and we chatted for a few minutes before I walked down far enough to see the waterfall. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a falls due to the fact that they hadn't had a lot of rain. It was more of a trickle.

On my walk to the park, I stopped at a pier to give my legs a break and met a very nice couple whose names are Linda and John from England originally but now live in Ireland.

They were the sweetest couple who thought for certain I was nuts to want to walk that far. They insisted that they drive me to the opening of the park so my 40+ kilometer walk was cut short a couple of kilometers. Linda and John even invited me in for coffee to their place, but since I was working against time and sunlight, I had to take a pass.

They gave me their phone number in case I found myself too tired to return to the cottage by foot. As my way of thanks, I gave the couple a copy of NEVER TEMPT DANGER. I loved their reaction.

“You’re not the Denise Robbins, are you?”

Too cute!

I did survive my 38+ kilometer walk. BARELY!

By the time I walked back into Kenmare, or maybe I should say waddled into town, all I wanted was food and drink and to put my feet up. The bad part is I left my car at the cottage so I still had a ways to go.

I decided very wisely that if I sat down with a pint of Guinness that I would never get up and make it back to the cottage. So I stopped at the only Chinese restaurant in town and ordered Take-away. Take-away means to-go.

I managed to make it back to the cottage before dropping and then I scarfed down the worst chicken with garlic sauce I have ever eaten. By that time though, who the heck cares. I only had breakfast and walked over 26 miles. I needed sustenance.


Dad March 25, 2011 at 2:29 PM  

That sounded like it was a GREAT walk with all the scenery and the nice folks from the UK. However, I'm glad it wasn't my legs making the trip with you.

Love ya,

Robin K March 25, 2011 at 7:03 PM  

HOLY SHEEP!! *giggles*

Denise March 26, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

HA! Very funny, Robin.

Dad, he walk was fabulous.

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