Partway through this morning, around the time my raincoat soaked through and the wind started lashing raindrops into my face, I said to myself, “Why am I still doing this again?”
Three hours later as the sun beamed down and I gazed out at fantastic lake views, I said to myself, “Oh, right.”
That’s today in a nutshell.
I have few pictures from the first part, because it was largely gross and horrid and unphotogenic.
It had some scenery but mostly that scenery was rain
I’d even prepared, but it was just warm enough that wearing all my rain gear was uncomfortably warm. So I stopped and peeled off my rain pants. Right before it started raining. Because timing.
Two miserable hours brought me to Drumshambo, where I stumbled into the first cafe I came across and enjoyed the best chai latte in all of human history (along with some legitimately delish food). Fortified if still damp, I emerged to a rainless sky which gradually cleared as I continued on.
The walk to Drumshambo had been… well, it would have been okay if not for the rain, but it was not exactly writing-home-to-mom material (hi Mom!). In Drumshambo though I joined the actual Leitrim Way (as opposed to the roads you need to walk on from Leitrim Village to get to the Leitrim Way)
While the weather had certainly improved (anything would have been better than the previous state of “the devil is pissing directly into your eyes”) the first stretch of the Leitrim Way wasn’t particularly inspiring, scenically. It puttered on along country roads and I found myself thinking, “Is this it? For this, I dragged myself back onto the road, after hauling my ass over hundreds of kilometers?”
Also, there were the sheep.
But eventually there were other interesting things besides sheep to see.
A whole section of road was marked as under construction for “hedge trimming”. I wondered why until I saw the hedge trimmer in question
See, nearly the entire Leitrim Way parallels the eastern edge of Lough Allen. But after several miles, this was the first I had seen of it. Happily it would not be the last.
And fields of ferns
Sunlit curtains of rain
So then I encountered a bit of a surprise. I am familiar with the native American tradition of the sweat lodge, and I am aware that other places have such things as well. I hadn’t entirely realized this was so in Ireland until some signs drew me off the path:
So I followed to check it out
Extremely fae looking sweathouse – the setting helps, of course
Inside – no I did not actually venture in it all looked a bit damp for me after this morning
The next bit of trail led to a well
Maurice and I are used to them at least
Not long after this, I met with a pair of hikers I had encountered previously – they were looping around to return to their car in Dowra. We walked together for a bit – one of the first times I have walked with fellow hikers – and chatted about their project to walk along the River Shannon, along with other journeys we had taken. They also saved me from a nasty muddy stretch they had passed through on the way down, which I was happy to skip after my rainy morning. I parted ways with them in Ballinagleragh, under the mistaken impression my lodgings were there; it turned out they were about 45 minutes south (back the way I had come) but happily the owner John was willing to come get me. His establishment – the Gables B&B, right on the shore of Lough Allen – may have once of the nicest locations I have stayed at, up there with Kilronan Castle’s lovely grounds and woodlands and Aherlow House’s stunning mountain views.
Out my window
Sun through clouds from the docks just outside
Not a bad place to spend a couple of nights by any stretch.