As we watched the mountain loom closer and closer for the last 20 minutes of the drive toward Westport. It didn't look as hard as it felt on the way back down.
The trouble started almost as soon as we climbed out of the coach. I forgot to fill up my water bottle at the hotel, and promptly discovered that the water was unsuitable to drink. Fortunately, Mrs. Cosgrove was sweet and gave me some of her water.
At the base of the mountain was a very nice riding stable. It was tempting to go hang out with the ponies instead. It was even more appealing when we got to the top.
Then the hike started. It was a sloped asphalt path to get the the base of the trail.
Then the footing changed completely.
|We have to climb WHAT!!!!!|
|Another view of the footing.|
|Shouldn't this path be going toward the mountain and not away?|
After the initial surprise, I took on the mentality of a mountain goat and climbed steadily, unfortunately energy only game in spurts, but the views were spectacular and stopping to take pictures was as good as any to take a break from the steep climb over piles of rock.
|I loved this curly island in Clew Bay behind us|
|That is our road. The white line cutting through the mountain.|
|In fact, I loved every aspect of Clew Bay.|
My companions up the mountain changed the higher we went since most of the group were ahead of me. By Paige and I decided that we had to at least see the other side of this dreadful mountain.
Step by step we came closer. Finally, we reached the halfway point, which was also where I ran out of water.
|The far side of the mountain.|
|More mountains behind the mountain we stood on.|
|Looking back. See how far we've come? Remember this was only the easier half.|
This was where Paige turned back, but I decided to continue on. (This is arguably one of the worst decisions I have ever made.) The path continued to the right. At first the going was fabulous. It was the easiest part of the hike, reasonably flat, few rocks, mostly packed dirt and pebbles. That was the path across the ridge of the mountain.
Then I reached the foot of Croagh Patrick. And with every yard uphill, the experience went downhill.
The footing turned from bad to terrible. How would someone even do this barefoot?
|WHAT IS THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
|This is the best representation of how steep this hike was, and it does not do it justice. It only got worse from here.|
|The Church at the top. In which mass is held during the annual pilgrimage.|
|I made it!|
But we finally made it back down without causalities. Everyone else was already on the coach and we stepped on and everyone erupted in cheers.
As this whole trip to the northwest was one no Taylor group has done, Diana and Koert were taken aback by the sheer difficulty of the hike. So they talked to Vance, who informed us that we were never supposed to the entire hike all the way up the mountain.
Oh well. It was an interesting experience that I'll never forget and now I have a new T-shirt.