I like to think of myself as an optimist.
But I’ll admit when I glanced up at Carrauntoohil, a 3,400+ ft. peak, I had my doubts about reaching the top. Even as we ascended up the mountain, the pessimistic thoughts kept creeping up. The brown cross perched on top looked so tiny from our point far below it.
Upon deciding to take a weekend trip to County Kerry, the four of us knew the mountain was something we had to conquer. A must.
I envisioned a steep hike, a bit of sweat and a massive feeling of accomplishment at the top. Clearly, I hadn’t done enough research. Carrauntoohil is climbed by walkers and hikers every day, but it’s a rock-covered, rough trail that requires a bit of scrambling and strict concentration to avoid slipping on loose rocks and tumbling down.
We walked along the rocky trail leading up to the mountain, passing lovely blue lakes and glancing at the challenge that lay ahead. Slowly, we began to ascend, stepping up onto rocks, grabbing onto others for support. There is little to compare to clinging to the side of a mountain to avoid falling to the bottom.
We stopped frequently to rest, drink water and satisfy our hunger with strange, cardboard-like Wheatabix bars. Before too long, we started up a long, rocky stretch, and fellow hikers informed us that the top wasn’t too far ahead.
The weather moved in cycles- sunny, cloudy and windy, chilly. When we reached the top, we couldn’t see anything below but white fog. The cross stood firmly, surrounded by proud hikers posing for photos. Marshals in neon jackets gave us candy for a bit of energy.
Once we descended a bit, the view was breathtaking. High mountains, rocky up top, green down below, stood all around us. The beautiful blue lakes we’d passed on the way up looked even more stunning from our higher point of reference. The waterfalls easing down the side of Carrauntoohil made it one of the loveliest things I’ve ever seen.
Three hours up, three hours down. Hiking Carrauntoohil was one of the most physically challenging things I’ve ever done, but a major highlight of my trip thus far.
With achy legs and hungry bellies, we headed back to town for milkshakes at Murphy’s Ice Cream. A sweet end to an adventure-packed day.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi there! I'm a California native studying journalism in one of the coolest cities in the world, at The University of Texas at Austin. I'm a fan of chocolate, watching sports (go Giants), nice people, anything vintage and pretty much all music. I write as much as I can, whether it's a news article, a blog, or just a journal entry. When I'm not writing, I love to run, try new recipes in my little kitchen, take dance classes and catch up with friends. My goal is to see every continent someday. I'm getting there!</span></p>