scribbles tagged ‘mountain’

umbrellas at the ready

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Why I love England #19:  Umbrella’s at the ready
a break in the rain

Within 30 minutes of starting our hike up Tryfan from near the Ogwen cottage  – the rain put in an appearance. No real suprise. For me the suprise was the back and white spotted umbrella that arrived to help keep the rain off.  I had to chuckle.  Surely only the English would take an umbrella as rain protection up a mountain when wearing high tech water repellant, goretex, clothing.

Here we see the happy hikers taking a short rest break in the rain, accompanied by the cheerful umbrella.

Excellent show!


umbrellas at the ready
2 votes rating 4.5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

Being there: GOLD highlight

Sunday, August 19th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

The pinacle gold highlight position for our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking goes to:

Gold winner: being there

TryfanBeing completely there, watching where I place my foot, thinking about my balance, taking a deep breath of damp unpolluted air. My mind so totally wrapped up in the here and now that nothing bursts in. The details of work, home ownership, family membership are temporarily lost behind being on a mountain.

Even when I take a break from walking to soak-up the view I am still totally immersed in being on that mountain. The feeling is exquisit and rare. For me it compares to some unpublishable experiences and:

  • racing a Laser in a force 4 gale
  • climbing the technical move on a severe rated climb (highest grade that I managed).
  • excellent sex

This experience achieved ‘4 Smiles’ 🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂 on the Wendy House rating scale –  Ratings explained


This highlight alone more than cancels out all the nastiness of the 3 winning downsides:

Being there: GOLD highlight
1 vote rating 4

4 bits of fabulous banter »

Full-on weather: SILVER highlight

Friday, August 17th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

The much awaited silver position for the penultimate highlight of  our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking highlights goes to:
amazing clouds

Silver winner: Full-on weather

We left the Plas Curig Hostel holding a weather forcast of rain, sunshine, thunderstorm and hail.  Hoorah! No half-measures in this August forecast!  A veritable buffet, lots of bite-sized variety chunks.

“Duck for the lightening, avoid the ridge, and for heavens sake  don’t stand in the water!”

Watching the lightening strike against the black clouds on nearby peaks was exquisit. Counting the seconds ’til the thunder struck then shaking with its power.

Walking through one of the most dramatic scenes in the world, laid on just for us.  We walked on through the sunshine towards a rainbow. No camera, film crew, special effects designer involved – just us directly experiencing the full weather experience – live, unmediated. Very sexy.

This experience achieved ‘3 Smiles’ 🙂  🙂  🙂  on the Wendy House rating scale –  Ratings explained

This highlight more than cancels out all the nastiness of the 3 winning downsides:


Full-on weather: SILVER highlight
1 vote rating 4

2 bits of fabulous banter »

Good kit: BRONZE highlight

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Yay! The awards for highlights of our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking trip starting in reverse order start with 3rd place:

Bronze winner: Good kit

pathway across the screeThere was good kit all over the place. Good kit made people feel happy, warm, dry, loved and wrapped in just oodles of lusciousness. The key good kit that got hugs galore from me included:

  • Boots – that fit (NO BLISTERS), are waterproof (Goretex), green and by Berghaus in 1995. The hike guides had insightfully bought some compede plasters along to ward off blisters for the few people did suffer.
  • Jacket – early Sprayway goretext (DRY) in a rather fetching royal blue from 1995. Between us we managed a full rainbow of colours
  • Daypack – hung low on my hips carrying lots of yummy food, drink and holding emergency warm gear.  On the two times that I fell over I landed on my bum and this 2004 Arcteryx bum bag gave me a wonderfully soft landing.
  • Flapjack – sticky-sweet and freshly made by LargeOutdoors staff Saul and Gareth at the Hostel. Everyone enjoyed the benefit of the flapjack, no hike should leave home without some good home cooking that includes honey!
  • Welsh water – Oh my! The water in wales tastes SO good! I wish the suppliers would do a deal with Thames water.
  • Outstanding guides – the LargeOutdoor guide, Sian, was a local Welsh lass who really knew how to herd a large group of inexperienced hikers through the basics of outdoor health and safety and make sure their spirits are kept high.
  • Excellent company – friendly adults of all ages. I mainly work with people in their 30’s so it was really refreshing to meet some more plucky ladies in thier late 40s. Yoga teachers, Engineers, Working in Child protection services, Project managers…. all sorts…

This experience achieved ‘3 Smiles’ 🙂  🙂  🙂 on the Wendy House rating scale –  Ratings explained

I hope that you’ll agree that this highlight feels all the more fabulous when set against the scurrilous backdrop of the recently winning downsides:

Good kit: BRONZE highlight
1 vote rating 2

2 bits of fabulous banter »

Spongy bog: GOLD downside

Saturday, August 11th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

Tryfan across the bogThe only bog I want to see from now on is white and made of porcelain (anon)

Before karmic predictability brings the awards for the mountain highs I am proud to present the gold winner of our Snowdonia hiking teams’  lowest experience:

Gold winner: spongy bog

The bog and lack of opportunites it ironically supplied for private, midgeless, ‘wild wees’ were the lowest point of our Tryfan hike.

The bog on Tryfan is high up, soon after the relief of summiting. It’s relatively flat open land on a gently curving ridge. See how pretty it looks:

It’s like walking on a sodden sponge

schhhhlllllop….. ….schhhhhlllllup…. ….sccchhhhhhhhhhllllllllop

There were times when I wanted to use both of my hands to pull my foot out from its last step. Thank goodness for waterproof, tightly tied-on boots. One walker demonstrated that his 6ft pole was easily swallowed by the bog, just a few feet away from our trail.  That depth of water could easily submerge everyone of our party. We cautiously stayed on-trail, behind our guide. Hmmmm….   …..nice firm looking bottom ahead…..

All this water and nowhere to pee in privacy, not a pert little boulder or little rise to sneak behind. The sound of schlurping water taunted our middle-aged bladders. 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour on the bog….  it just goes on and on and on….

The bog broke our spirits as surely as chinese water torture.

This experience achieved ‘3 Frowns’  🙁  🙁  🙁  on the Wendy House rating scale –  Ratings explained

Spongy bog: GOLD downside
2 votes rating 2

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Swarming midges: SILVER downside

Thursday, August 9th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

Welcome to the 2nd in a mini series of  mountainous, yet not Olympian, awards for our teams’ Snowdonia hiking experiences. In the tradition of reverse-order announcements we’re first going through the downsides, then we’ll celebrate the upsides.  2nd place for the downsides goes to…

a break in the bogSilver winner: swarming midges

Single handedly I saved the lives of about 100 midges by providing essential blood supplies from my face, neck and ears. More generous hikers got their arms, cleavages and backsides out for the banquet.

These midges curtailed all of our rest breaks.  Our lunch stop lasted less than 10 minutes.  It takes about 10 minutes for a few stray midges to gather a swarm and target us.  While we kept moving we just walked into stray midges,  lone biters. So generally we just kept moving and I was left popping peanuts to make up my lunch.

How do such large swarms of midges survive on the top of this mountain? Midge food in the form of other hikers and the sheep were both few and far between – so what do they eat when mammals aren’t about?  Are they canabalistic?

We saw quite a few happy bog frogs.  Frogs eat insects. Midges are insects. Those frogs really do need to up their gameplan, be much more active….


 This experience achieved ‘2 Frowns’   🙁  🙁  on the Wendy House rating scale –  Ratings explained

Swarming midges: SILVER downside
2 votes rating 1.5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

Scree scrambling: BRONZE downside

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

I am honoured to present you with the mountainous, yet not Olympian, awards for our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking downsides. The lows of the experience. These downsides played an essential role in making the highs, the upsides, so much more intense and pleasurable. 3rd place for the downsides goes to….

Up to the saddle

Bronze winner: Scree scrambling

No-one told me we’d be scrambling, we’d have to use our HANDS

The scramble was an unexpected, unpleasant, suprise for those with immaculately mannicured nails.

There were mumbles of being mislead and longing looks back. But no-one mentioned turning back.  Going forward meant that we all had to scramble.

For unmanicured, short-nailed, me – traversing the slippy slate was actually fun. A tad exciting!

Like a prince charming, one young guide took his cheeky disposition downhill to catch any slippers. Some of the girls considered deliberately Miss footing, but no-one was prepared to lose face in order to win a hand up.


This experience achieved ‘One Frown’ 🙁  on the Wendy House rating scale –  Ratings explained

Scree scrambling: BRONZE downside
1 vote rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

mountain mary

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

wendy: i think I must be lonely

mary: rubbish, you are the least lonely person that I know, you just spend a lot of your time on your own

We met several months before.  We both started a ‘mountain glacier hiking’ course.  At 60 Mary was the oldest person on the course. She had not signed up as part of a couple nor was she treating the course as a mate-finding opportunity.   How refreshing. I soon started to seek-out Mary’s company while hiking and during the rest breaks.  I quickly tired of the chattering from other hikers, normally affluent couples considering what gear to purchase, what restaurant to recommend.

At 60 Mary’s love for her terminally-ill bed-ridden husband was not stated, but it beamed stronger than a lighthouse.  She recorded our hiking sessions, the beautiful scenery and laughter,  for him with her new digital camera.  He could feel part of an active interesting life because she sought this life out and carefully bought it back to his bedside with love. What a fabulously generous heart.

I fell in love with Mary. Not the love that hungers for sexual validation. Not a love that needed to be returned.  There was deep peace in her company. Knowing this I invited myself to her home in the foothills of Mount Ranier. The home she had built with her husband before his death so noticibly stepped towards him.

wendy: can I help you gather the leaves from your garden?

Mary: yesthey  will fall as fast as you’ll be able to gather them

After a morning gardening, mostly in silence, we went inside and Mary finished the home made french onion soup.  She talked while she stirred. Talked of how her father raped her and how the authorities didnt believe her story. Talked of how her sister committed suicide. How she left her bilogical family and built her own new family.  How she worked to help abused children and beaten wives. Clearly she has known and seen more loneliness than I could feel.

The cedar dappled autumn sun played on her face.  No tears, no frown lines.

It seems we have both found some form of peace amidst life, in the silences

mountain mary
2 votes rating 5

14 bits of fabulous banter »

clark chambers farm

Saturday, January 6th, 2007 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Recommended for an informal friendly bed and breakfast in Dungeness 🙂 🙂

ratings explained

Glenda Clark (ne Chambers)  explains that the farm is the oldest family run farm in Washington state.   She is thinking about trying to get it ‘registered’,   the UK equivalent of ‘listed’.  It is no coincidence that  Clark Chambers farm is the first building on ‘Clark road’.   Bob Clark is a never ending source of stories about farm life and the social history of the Dungeness region of the Olympic peninsular.   A chirpy cheerful couple,   they remind me of cockneys,   with a different accent.

All American accessories included a white picket fence, a porch that surrounded the whole house and warm friendly owners.   Spectacular accessories included a view of the Olympic mountains to the south and a huge bath en-suite.

The bedrooms are named after their original occupants,   mom and dad’s room,   Bob’s room, the guest room.   I stayed in mom and dad’s room with a big en-suite bath.    I miss the decent sized British baths made for lounging in.    Being a person of aquadexterous talents  I could adjust the waterfolw with my tootsies.   I sloshed in the outstanding luxury of  two baths per day.


clark chambers farm
rate wendys scribble

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stranger hugging

Sunday, June 18th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Wendy:   hug?

Blonde in car:   (smiles and blushes)

Wendy: leant into the driver-side car window and wrapped my left arm around her ‘thankyou so much’

I had just finnished driving 100 miles along Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachain mountains between Blowing Rock and Asheville.   There are no gas stations on the route or signposted from the route.    

No prizes for guessing what happened to me in my rented car….  

I  discovered that:

  • A Chevy Cobra can go about 40 miles (20 of them coasting downhill) on an ’empty’ fuel tank,   while flashing all sorts of lights at the driver.
  • I  can tolerate an empty tank without panicking for about 20 miles.
  • 0 out of 10 American SUV drivers surveyed carry a spare couple of gallons in a container in their boot ‘just incase’.  
  • the Park Rangers don’t all have either a cell or radio-phone.  
  • people love to help a gal in trouble but aren’t too sharp on varied innovative solution routes.
  • I feel like I need to ask people permission to hug them in the US,   unlike the UK where a good dose of hugging all round happens at the drop of a hat and especially on soccer pitches.

pictures gradually being posted on flick-r

stranger hugging
rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

Mud Mountain Dam

Friday, August 19th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

Last Saturday we took a short hike starting from Mud Mountain Dam on the White River near Mount Rainier:

We didnt take a look at the Dam. I wish we had found it beyond the park. We walked a short hike through the forest along the riverside. I photographed general greenery.

It smelt, sounded, felt and looked wonderful. Like walking through a faerie tale.

One day I hope to paint a picture of sunlight breaking into the deep forest. I’m collecting images to help me construct something. I’ve attached one from Mud Mountain.


Mud Mountain Dam
rate wendys scribble

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