We had planned to climb it on saturday as the weather was looking good and after the events on friday we decided that we both needed the distraction and to go ahead with it.
Up and away from site nice and early it took us about an hour to drive around to the back of the mountain and then about another hour (due to poor signs!!) to find the start of the walk. The track down to the car park was four miles of ‘off road’ driving with pot holes the size of craters – driving is never boring around here, but eventually we got to the right place.
The walk starts at around 3300 ft so you are pretty much half way up already. It felt pretty ‘nippy’ when we got out the car and I could see my breath so I was glad of the gloves I had packed in my rucksack. The weather was forecast to be about 21 degrees but we knew that it would be colder up top and so took plenty of layers with us. However, the weather did the opposite of what we were expecting and got hotter the higher we climbed and by the time we were at the top we had shed all our layers and had them tied around our rucksacks and waists!!It felt like 25 degrees at the summit and there were people walking around in shorts and one chap who looked like he just had his underpants on – not what you expect at the top of a mountain!!
The first third of the walk was through woodland and the smell of the pine trees was fresh and intoxicating. We climbed steadily and got glimpses of the summit every now and then between the trees. It looked a long way up!! Once through the trees we started to climb more steeply and scramble up and over rocks. The path was posted and arrowed the whole way up which was a good job as the route was difficult to make out at some points.
We haven’t climbed anything of this height since leaving the Lake District ten years or so ago and with me in new walking boots (probably not my most sensible move but I got away with no blisters!!) we took it nice and steady with plenty of pit stops along the way – note to self; I need to do more cardio exercise!!
We reached the summit in a modest four hours and sat for an hour or so in the sunshine eating lunch and chilling out. The views were not as spectacular as we had been hoping for due to a heat haze but we could still see across to the Sierra Nevada mountains to the north. Our descent took us three hours and by the time we got back to the car we were both pretty exhausted. Seeing the car as we turned the last corner was a welcome sight and we celebrated with a nice cuppa and some chocolate (vegan but not raw!!) One of the nicest things about finishing a particularly long walk is the relief you get when you take your boots off. It is always a moment to be savoured and it didn’t disappoint!!
We were tired by the time we got back to Bessie but not so tired that we couldn’t enjoy a glass (or two) of chilled beer…….The last few days have been interesting in terms of ‘walking’ and getting around the caravan is proving hilarious but every time we step outside and see Maroma we get a renewed sense of achievement but strangely not a desire to repeat the experience. Hubby has promised that he wont want to climb another mountain for some time and I have it in writing just to make sure!!!
Pathway getting steeper and more narrow. The scenery changed all the time and this part felt a bit like the film set from Lord of the Rings. At other times it felt like an old film called ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ with narrow pathways cutting through big huge overhanging boulders.
Hubby at the top of the monument thingy at the top of the mountain! He started a craze with his pose as everyone was doing it once he had been up. Health and Safety would have a field day as the metal climbing bars were loose and rickety and an accident waiting to happen!!
Stage one – climbing – first its ok then it hurts
Stage two – descending – first its blissful then it hurts
Stage three – walking on level ground – first its blissful then it hurts like hell……
And remember we did this for FUN!!!!