Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Sarah's Life | Climbing Mount Snowdon

Sunday was a good day! I finally ticked climbing Mount Snowdon off my bucket list! *tries to happy dance but can't move properly because my bodies so stiff*
At the end of September I am travelling to Peru to trek the Inca trail to Machu Picchu and it's now May and I have hardly started training for it at all which isn't great. I'm going with my friend Stacey and we thought that to start our training we would give Snowdon a go. Stacey has already done Snowdon about 7 or 8 times for training when she went to Everest Base Camp but it was all brand new to me. I think I underestimated just how unfit I was, I mean I get out of breath just walking up the stairs in work to the meeting rooms never mind walking up a Mountain! I go the gym a couple of times a week but nothing prepared me for just how tough I would find this Mountain. Me and Snowdon are now sworn Nemesis's, although I do think we could become friends after a few more attempts!
My cousin Tricia came along with us too because Snowdon is something she has always wanted to give a go as well. Unlike me, she didn't struggle that much until we were nearly at the Summit but she found coming down the mountain much more difficult than going up. I am so proud of her because she managed to get up without using trekking sticks which is something to be so proud of, especially for your first time doing it. She actually said afterwards that it was harder than giving birth! Haha!
Snowdon is the highest Mountain in Wales and is used as training by professional climbers all the time. It's also one of the 3 peaks in the 3 peak challenge so for my first trek we definitely didn't start easy haha! We trekked the Llanberis Path which is the easiest in terms of steepness, although still very steep in parts, and is also the longest out of all the paths. To get onto the path you first have to walk up a steep road which I'm not lying was probably one of the hardest bits of the whole trek. That tarmacked road of pain is honestly sent from hell! Once up the road the path starts and that's when you are actually on the trail climbing the Mountain. I struggled from the very beginning and straight away I was thinking I wanted to turn back but I knew I couldn't. I wasn't coming all this way and falling at the first hurdle, not a chance! The views around were just absolutely breathtaking and we put some music on which definitely helped me get along the steep path. Even the bits that weren't as steep as other parts were a struggle purely because the ground is just covered in rocks and is so uneven so that just made it all the more harder than it would have been walking on flat ground. After what seemed like forever I managed to get to the halfway house which is a cute little cafe where you can get snacks and freshen up and have a rest, and we rested there for about half an hour for dinner. We sat on a little grass verge and just took in the gorgeous views around us while we ate. It was definitely lunch goals! It's one lunchtime I won't be forgetting in a hurry!
Stacey was saying that after resting at the halfway house you normally get a little burst of energy and you feel recharged and ready to go again, but I'm not going to lie, I was the complete opposite. Once I started walking again I just found it so so hard and had to keep stopping every 5 minutes to sit down and rest my legs and have water. A little further up and after about half an hour of waking we got to a spot which was a gorgeous photo opportunity and while Stacey and Tricia were taking photos, I just sat on a rock and burst out crying! I started saying I wasn't going to Peru anymore, I couldn't do the Inca trek, and I couldn't make it to the top here and I wanted to turn around and go back to the car but Stacey sat next to me and comforted me and gave me a little pep talk and made me realise that I just had to push myself but I could do it and I would do it. I knew I had to do it because I didn't want to have to go home and tell people that I had turned round but I just felt so crap at that point and was struggling so much. Also I have just started seeing someone and a week into a relationship you don't want your new fella thinking your a wimp do ya, so I knew I had to do it to make him proud of me haha!
After my little breakdown I was ready to set off again and this is the point I started using the trekking sticks and they helped me so so much, I really don't think I would have made it to the top without them, they were a lifesaver for me. As we set off again, I was warned that the hardest bit of the trek called the Allt Moses was just around the corner and it was seriously steep and tough but I just had to power through that bit and it would be a lot flatter and easier for the rest of the way, and then you would be able to see the Summit! Even people walking past were stopping and saying this bit is a killer but just push through the pain and they were not wrong. The Allt Moses was genuinely one of the hardest half an hours of my life, I was literally digging my sticks into the ground in front of me and just dragging myself up screaming how much I hated the Mountain haha. I do think the little breakdown helped me though because it gave me some new determination and I was not going to let some Mountain defeat me! Once I got past that section, I couldn't help but start crying again as I was walking along with the sheer relief that I was feeling. Knowing that after wanting to give up so badly and thinking that I wouldn't be able to go any further, that I carried on and forced myself up the hardest part of the trek was one of the most proud moments I have ever felt for myself.
Once we turned the corner and saw the Summit I think that's when my burst of energy kicked in. I think seeing the Summit there right in front of me just gave me the motivation I needed and I was off! It was probably the quickest I moved the whole trek haha. We all got to the Summit together and headed up the little staircase together and once I stood on that ledge with my two girls and put our hands on the Summit Monument I literally just started jumping up and down with happiness and we had a group hug to congratulate each other. It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt in my life, just the feeling of achievement and accomplishment was incredible and it was so overwhelming standing there after all the pain and tears of getting there. It's something I am so proud of myself for doing and at that moment I felt like I could achieve anything. Doing it with my two best friends and two girls who mean so much to me as well made it even better and I am so proud of them as well, I couldn't have done it without them.

The decent down was far easier for me than that climb up. We got down much quicker but my whole body was aching, my feet were throbbing and I was shattered where I had been battered by the wind all day. Getting back to the car and being able to sit down was the best thing ever haha, and afterwards we treated ourselves to some nice fish and chips in Betws-y-Coed, a little village about 15 minute drive away and it was some of the nicest fish and chips I have ever eaten! The drive home flew by because we spent most of it belting out Mariah Carey's greatest hits at the top of our voices, is a drive with your girls complete without some bad car singing? I don't think so!
It's been two days now since we did Snowdon and the pain I am feeling is still very much real. My legs feel like they are made of wood and I am walking like Pinnochio probably did when he was a wooden puppet but every time it hurts I just remember why and I feel so proud again.
I think I definitely learnt something up that Mountain on Sunday. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. No matter how much you want to give up or want to quit, just keep going, think positive and you will get there. Mind over Matter and you can achieve things you didn't think you could.
To do this I would definitely make sure you wear some proper walking boots because I honestly think it would have been so much harder without them, and make sure you drink plenty of water and have lots of layers you can take on and off. The temperature and weather changes in the blink of an eye up there so it's always better to be prepared.
I would highly recommend giving Snowdon a go if you want to challenge yourself. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!


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