Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 8: Birthdays on Mount Snowdon

A big happy birthday goes out to our instructor Eric O'Brien today! Thanks for spending your birthday with all of us, and leading us on such an amazing trip instead of being with your family. Our plans had changed slightly from what was on the itinerary for the past couple of days. We had planned to hike to the top of Mount Snowdon on Saturday but due to poor weather we switched our plans for Saturday and Sunday.

There were 11 students along with Eric who all hiked up to the top of Mount Snowdon today. We left the hotel around 9:30am and got dropped off at our starting point around 10:30am. After a final bathroom stop and a group photo we set off on the trail just a little before 10:45am.

The first part of the trail was a fairly steep climb and most of us went from being chilly when we started to sweating fairly quickly. We couldn’t see the top of Mount Snowdon when we began the hike and most of the mountain was covered by clouds but the weather was starting to clear up. The trail on the way up was split into two large sections that involved mostly climbing and then two shorter parts that were relatively clear and flat. Once we were able to see the top of Mount Snowdon it gave us some extra incentive to keep going. The views kept getting better and better as we climbed higher and higher. After about 4 hours of hiking we finally reached the summit and words can’t describe the views we had from the top. You could see for miles and miles in every direction.

Since it was Eric’s birthday we surprised him with a small cake and banners at the top of the mountain and we gave him a card that all of the students had signed the night before.

After lots of pictures and some rest we headed back down the mountain on a different trail. We made great time on the way back down and a good portion of it was very flat and smooth which made it much easier than the hike up.

A few things tied to sustainability that we saw while we were hiking was that there were signs along the trails that asked you to keep you trash with you in order to keep the mountain clean. At the top of the mountain the small café/rest house had several different types of recycling bins for glass and plastic and the bathrooms had low flush toilets. We could also see wind turbines far away in the distance from the top of the mountain. It seems like sustainability is always within view in Wales.      

Chad Dentlinger- Senior in Earth Science, Environmental Science

Meanwhile, the rest of the group (those that would’ve complained the entire time climbing the mountain) toured the town and all of its beautiful shops! We ate lunch at a café called Fortes and came to find out that “lemonade” is not really lemonade here. It is actually Sierra Mist. It was very disappointing receiving a Sierra Mist when you’re crazing an ice cold lemonade. At almost every place we went to, someone stopped us and asked if we were from America. Apparently Americans don’t normally stop in Llandudno for vacation so those we run into get excited and want to know all about us (along with making fun of our accents).

After visiting all of the cute boutiques in this town and spending money I really shouldn’t have spent, we walked down to the beach and obviously had to take multiple selfies with our selfie stick. The view behind us was amazing! You can even see the sustainable wind turbines in the background!

From there we took the hike up our own “mountain” to go down a huge toboggan slide. We were all literally out of breath not even halfway up the hill we had to climb. We were definitely thanking ourselves for not choosing to climb Mount Snowden. Unfortunately, the slide ended up being closed by the time we got up there so we decided to visit the local pub that was right next to it to make our trek up the huge hill worth it. By the time we got back to the hotel, the other group had gotten back and we were all able to tell about our day! We are all having a good time and are pretty happy with our stay in Wales so far!

Autum Brocka 
Senior, Accounting: Finance