Saturday, June 07, 2008

Back in rainy Calgary

We're home! Eric came and picked us up at the airport yesterday afternoon. Now we just have to adjust back to Alberta time. It's two in the afternoon here but nine at night in England and I am getting pretty sleepy! Over the next while I'm going to post an overview of each day on our hiking trip. That should give our normal readers a sense of our trip, and it'll hopefully be of use to future Coast-to-Coast hikers looking for information on places to stay and things to see along the way. We looked at some blogs of the trip before we went and really appreciated the information, so I thought I would contribute to the body of online knowledge of the trip. But, generally speaking, some highlights of the trip: - Church in Westminster Abbey. It was just so amazing to worship in a church so beautiful and one with such a history of worshippers. I am seriously considering converting to Anglicanism, but that's a whole nother story. -Our night at Keld Lodge, half way through the trip. We crossed that day the Pennines in the pouring misty rain and were soggy wet and grateful for a warm bed and cozy B&B regardless where it was, but this place outdid our expectations. They had a whole room devoted to drying out hikers' gear (they get a lot of us) which was toasty warm and had our soaking wet stuff crispy dry by morning. They had a bar lounge for those who wanted it and a sitting room with a coal burning fire place (which was going) for hikers to relax and put their feet up (which we did). They had a restaurant that, while certainly not the cheapest place we came across, had WONDERFUL food. We had the best meal we had the whole time were in England there. The bed was comfortable, the shower fairly large (an uncommon thing) and with plenty of hot water and pressure. And to top it off, the evening was misty but not raining and the world was green and hilly and full of lambs and silent rural desolate beauty. -Our Australian friends. We met up the first day with three Australians hiking the trail, who unlike us wimps who had the majority of our baggage delivered from place to place, were carrying all their stuff on their backs. When we met them, they told us we were from the second best British commonwealth country (Australia, it would seem, was first). ;) But we got to know them better over the days of hiking and spent a whole day with them in the middle, wandering through a valley in the Yorkshire dales. They were lovely enthusiastic people and it was really neat to share our excitement in seeing the countryside with them. We were sad to leave them before the end of the hike (they split a day in two that we did in one). -Meeting two of my grad school colleagues in London. It was fun seeing two friendly familiar faces in London, and we enjoyed spending a little time with them and sharing our adventures with them and hearing about their time doing the Battlefields tour. -Finally, climbing peaks in the Lake District. The tops were beautiful and there were so many little tarns and villages down below to view. Plus our hiking companions were hardy, sure-footed, fit and well-dressed-for-the-weather domestic sheep (you thought I was going to say Swiss mountain climbers or something, didn't you). There were ewes and lambs calmly chewing their cud at the top of Britain's third highest peak. You may say, yes but Britain doesn't have much for mountains, does it? But you shall see when we post pictures, they certainly do have some high peaks! Ok, on to the hiking posts...and with picture this time!

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