Look out, Ireland. I’m heading your way in 2016, at least that’s the plan. What started out as half a joke is another step toward reality.
A few weeks ago on a Friday, my car broke down and long story short, on Saturday I ended up walking from my home to the Sears Automotive shop to deal with my beloved Saturn. As I was walking along the sidewalk-free road in grass that probably had not been cut in a month (and during this time of year in Florida grass needs to be cut on a weekly basis), I kinda felt as though I was in training for a multi-day walk. Specifically, I felt as though I was training to walk Ireland’s Wicklow Way.
How the heck did I think of that? Random, right?
If A Chicken Can Do It…
When I visited Ireland a couple of years ago to attend TBEX Europe, I sat next to one of the conference organizers who was planning on walking the Wicklow Way through the Wicklow Mountains following the conference. He told me it would take him about six days and it was the type of trail where you don’t need to camp but can stay in B&Bs along the way.
I had no idea where or what the Wicklow Mountains were but he sold me on the idea of doing it in the future. During that trip, I ended up visiting the Wicklow Mountains and fell in love with the scenery and history. I also saw some hikers walking the trail.
“I can do this,” I thought.
Well, just like the chicken’s answer for crossing the road, the only reason I want to walk this trail is simply because I want to. It also fits the amount of vacation time I have with my day job because I don’t have time for a month or longer thru-hike.
As for the timing, if not now – or if not planning now – then when?
My dear, uber-cool friend Jen (who owns 8 Arms Community Bakery in Washington) has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail, which took her months for both. Bill Bryson partially walked the Appalachian Trail (and wrote about it in A Walk in the Woods) because the cool kids were doing. Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail to deal with her past. (And wrote about it in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.) My friend Janet will be walking across America next year to raise awareness about obesity. (Check out her blog Roam for Improvement.)
Friends, writers, adventurers have hiked to accomplish, prove or raise awareness for something. I want to embark on a multi-day hike in Ireland simply because I can. It’s not to blog about. It’s not promote Ireland. It’s not to make a statement other than I can set a goal and make it happen.
Which Way Do I Choose in Ireland?
The question is, do I stick with the Wicklow Way? After doing a little bit of research, it may not be as easy to hike as I first heard. That’s alright, there seem to be dozens of hikes in Ireland to choose from and I’m currently eyeing the Western Way in Mayo because that’s where my great-great-great grandparents were from.
My target date for this trip is September 2016 and although this trip is mine, anyone interested in joining me is welcome to do so. Drop me a line or message in the comments.
Have you hiked any of Ireland’s trails? If so, which do you recommend or what tips do you have for me?
My social media hashtag for this experience is: #STGTrekinIE