The first time I heard of Snowdonia, I instantly thought of a fantasy land with majestic mountains and otherworldly sceneries. There is something magical about the name that makes it sound dreamy, I thought. When I first set foot in there, it wasn’t far off.
Unlike the southern part of Wales that I’d visited a few times before, Snowdonia felt a bit more grandeur, thanks to the mountains surrounding the area. We drove through the national park for miles, and I watched in awe as the mountains came into view and disappeared, again and again for the rest of the journey. It was a promising start.
One of the main agenda was to hike Snowdon, but to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I’d never been a fit, sporty kind of person, and the trek seemed arduous to my untrained eye (and body). H had been hiking Snowdon since he was little and had summited the mountain 5 times prior, so it was a breeze for him. I, on the other hand, didn’t know what was in store. But I was determined to at least get to an acceptable height to enjoy the view.
So on one gloomy Sunday, we took the bus to Pen-y-Pass, the car park where some of the moderately easy trails begin.
The Ascent: The Miners’ Track
We took the Miner’s Track to ascent, and it was an easy walk for the first part of the journey. Apparently, H’s target was to reach a lake called Llyn Llydaw and turn back. We got there in no time hour and I still had a lot of energy, so I told him to keep going. Clearly, he underestimated me. I trod on, fired by the promising vista I would get if I just hiked a little bit higher.
The ruins of the old mill on the Miner’s Track.
This guy. He got me into hiking.
The stunning Llyn Glaslyn on the background.
At another lake called Llyn Glaslyn, my confidence shook slightly as I saw the towering rocks for the first time. It looked too steep and slippery for my first ever scramble. I didn’t dare to look down; I just focused on my limbs and tried my best not to fall.
After what felt like a long time (and many stops), I truly felt defeated. By then, we were surrounded by the mist and I had no idea how much longer I had to walk to reach the top. That was until we passed a guy on his way down. He must have looked at our faces as he said encouragingly, “It’s only 10 minutes away until you can get a beer!” That helped a lot, knowing we were almost there.
And we made it!
There was a line to the monument at the top as everyone wanted to capture this moment. Here, there was also a funny mix of hikers and visitors (?) who took the train (yes, you could buy a return ticket to the summit from Llanberis). I saw some people dressed like they were going to an interview with trench coats, smart pants, and leather shoes. Standing next to hikers with their parkas and dirty shoes, the contrast couldn’t have been more palpable.
We had a quick lunch and coffee in the warm cafe, and it tasted like one of the best meals I’d had.
‘Here, you are nearer to heaven.’
Surprise surprise, it was foggy. But then it started to lift, ever so slowly.
The Miners’ Track from above.
By now, my knees were starting to feel a bit funny after all the climbing, and I wasn’t keen on the idea of going down scrambling. It was hard enough to go up, and I could only imagine how much harder it would be to descend using the same route. We were planning to take the Pyg Track which would be similar to the Miners’ Track, but in the end, we decided to go with the Llanberis Path.
The Descent: The Llanberis Path
The Llanberis Path is the easiest, longest, and least steep route (around 7 km in total), ending in a village called Llanberis. If it hadn’t been for my knees, I’d chosen Pyg Track or Miners’ Track. The walk down was a tiresome, slightly boring slog. The view, while still good, wasn’t up to par with what we had on the Miners’ Track.
There was a race that day. “Who would do a race in here?” I asked, shocked. Apparently, H himself had done it.
Llanberis village at the end of this long, never-ending path.
But we made it, safe and sound. Five hours of hiking, 12 kilometers of distance, muddy shoes, sore muscles, and hundreds of photos. This is honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, and I understand now. I understand how H was still got excited when he got to the top for the 6th time, and finally, I get his love for the mountains.