Hello again! The past few weeks have been insane. With the approaching winter break we've been swamped with stacks on stacks of papers and other coursework, meaning staying up until 5:30 AM to finish essays sort of trumps making blog posts. There was also that lost week where I accidentally left my laptop on a bus and was computerless, but luckily those dark times are over and blogging can continue!
Finally, we present to you the exciting tale of when Jackie and I went on our program's 'Adventure Weekend' in the Lake District!
So, first things first. The Lake District is in Cumbria, and basically at the tippy top of England. This meant an early start time and a long drive.
Thanks to an accident on the highway, our seven hour journey turned into a grueling nine hour ride. Like, people go into labor and have babies in less time than that. Luckily, we did have one break for lunch on our way, where I made friends with some nice little duckies (and also some terrifying geese) at a pond.
Animal befriending pit stop over, we jumped back on the bus, only to be told by the driver 45 minutes later that he was owed a 30 minute break, stalling us even further. When we finally arrived at our hotel it was pitch black. Pairing not being able to see anything with the scary winding road to get there was not a great combination. But we made it!
After our long awaited dinner, Jackie and I took a little stroll around the hotel grounds. It was so beautiful to see that even though it was pitch black out, we could still make out the huge outlines of mountains nearby. We walked the length of the field of the hotel and were faced with a small fence. Jackie suggested we continue through it, supposedly into another cute little field. All of a sudden a huge mass stood up within the gate, I freaked, and RAN out of there, Jackie on my tail. Turns out, it was just a little sheep, but it still gave us a shock! We saw the little fella the next morning, looking less scary, but still pretty menacing as he stared straight at us.
The next morning we woke up ready for a beautiful day in the countryside. Little did we know, the town we were seated in was right next to the rainiest town in the UK.
|Yeah, that's right, this is a real blog, we've got gifs!|
So, damp, cold, and tired, we ate our breakfast, packed our bag lunches, and walked out, ready to face the day. The first activity on both of our schedules was Gorge Scrambling. Basically, this is just hiking up a waterfall. So, the first order of business was to get all dolled up in some seriously sexy waterproof gear.
|Photo credit: Cambria Minott|
See? Isn't that a hot outfit? We've got: two pairs of leggings, a fleece jacket, a woolen body suit/onesie thing, waterproof trousers, waterproof top with hood, helmet, and some Wellington rain boots. Absolutely no way water could ever get through that fortress, right? Yeah, that's what I thought. Turns out I thought very, very wrong.
|Photo credit: Adventure Makers UK|
The above is a good visual of what we were doing. It started off pretty tame, just walking on rocks in a gentle stream, but it soon ramped up to us trying to wade through waist deep, freezing, strong waves of water. There was lots of falling and tripping involved, to say the least. I'd say within 20 minutes, everyone was soaked. The waterproof gear did little to keep the rest of our clothes from getting drenched. After a while, they even started to slow us down as water pooled in our trousers and in our boots, making us feel like huge water balloons. It was great fun though! We got to slide down a mini waterfall and jump off the rock wall into a big pooled area. At the very top of the waterfall, we just had our final steps and then we'd be done! Of course, for me it couldn't be that easy. As soon as one foot left the rock I was on to reach out to the next, both feet flew out from under me and threw me into the water, about to be rushed down the waterfall with the strong waves. Luckily, our instructor was on the ball and quickly grabbed me and threw me aside, safe to live another day.
We headed back to our basecamp at the hotel to prepare for our next activity. Jackie was off to do the Via Ferrata, which is basically rock climbing on a mountain face with little foot holds to step on.
|Via Ferrata. Photo credit: Glaramara|
I said nooooooooooo way to that, and instead went with the less insanely terrifying indoor rock climbing.
|Me rock climbing, or as Jackie says 'that's not rock climbing, that's rock posing'. I try.|
It didn't take me too long to realize that maybe rock climbing is scary in any form, whether it be inside on a plastic wall or outside on a mountain. Either way, it was still fun, and although my paparazzi never sent me the photo, I did make it to the top. Wahoo! Waiting up there for someone to scramble to capture the moment on an iphone was the longest minute of my life.
After a long day of activities, we returned to the hotel, awaiting dinner, a pub quiz, and a dance in the evening. I decided to go out for a walk and check out the surrounding area. Of course, the second I went outside it started to pour.
|Moss is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to photograph in England, which is good because there is certainly no shortage of it!|
After dinner, Jackie and I teamed up with the rest of our dinner table to form the 'Pirates of the Caribean' team for our pub quiz. We didn't win, but of over 15+ teams, we made third! After the quiz there was an awkward, middle school-ish dance for all of us. Jackie and I called it quits after they played 'Don't Stop Believing' the first time round. We could hear little snippets of 'Call Me Maybe' wafting up our window all night, I think they played it at least four times, and we knew we had made the right decision.
Taking an early night ended up being a good idea, as we had to get up and at 'em the next morning for our last activity of the trip: a nice little half-day hike up a closeby mountain. It took about an hour to reach the top, all in the rain, but by the time we reached the peak, the clouds cleared and the sun started to shine. It was so beautiful, and we spent at least half an hour just looking around and taking pictures, in awe of the scenery.
|Some mega Lion King vibes|
All weekend we saw sheep everywhere. Even while gorge scrambling, there was alway bound to be a sheep just around the corner. On the trail down from the top of the mountain we saw this sad sight of what was once a sheep.
The journey home was non-eventful, save for a beautiful sunset, and for the fact that it didn't take nine hours like the ride down had. Yeah, boi!