Adventures in Hiking

I’m still buried under an avalanche of essays, but the load is easing slightly.  On Saturday a group of us decided to take a study break and head up to the highlands for some hiking.

A friend of mine organised the entire trip, and managed to rope in two people who had cars to take us all up there.  She had warned us that we were to be ready promptly at 9 am Saturday morning, or risk being left behind.  I set my alarm for 8, and rushed over to the flat where we were all meeting.  On the way I met the two other girls who were going on the trip (including the one who had planned everything).

Well, what do you know, when we arrived at the boy’s flat they were all still asleep.  Typical.  An hour and a half later we were finally on our way.  Another two hours after that we arrived at the place where we would pick up the hiking trail.  Interestingly, it was near some kind of fish farm/power plant, which prompted the usual commentary on radioactive salmon.

We set off on the trail that was supposed to take 5 hours to complete “at a leisurely pace.”  The scenery itself was gorgeous; we were quite deep in the woods, and at some points the trail took us near a lake.  The trees were all vibrant colours, and fallen leaves were strewn all about us.  It was an overcast, foggy day, and the white sky provided a canvas for the foliage.  We saw a handful of other hikers, but mostly we were completely isolated, and it was almost eerily quiet.

Along the trail, we also visited the spot where some battle was fought.  I can’t tell you exactly who was fighting or why, but it was very exciting all the same.   At one particular point, we found a plaque marking the “soldier’s leap,” where a soldier apparently leapt 18 feet off a ravine to a rock down below to escape enemy troops.  Our attempts to get to the same rock were, unsurprisingly, less successful.

After hiking for about 3 hours, we came to a conveniently positioned inn.  Even more conveniently, they had a bar.  At this point we were in desperate need of rest.  We stopped in for some whiskey to warm up, and were told by the wait staff that the trail that had just taken us 3 hours to complete should in fact have only taken us an hour and a half.  By this time it was almost dark (it’s always almost dark here – it gets dark at 3 pm) so we decided it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to stumble back on the regular trail.  Instead, we took the main road back to the car, which still took about an hour and a half (estimated time: 45 minutes).  When we finally arrived back, we were catatonic with exhaustion, but it was a lot of fun.

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