It didn’t take me long to pack, I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now so routine takes over. Long gone are the days where I would cram every piece of outdoor clothing I owned into the back of my car for fear of being caught out by the most unusual of circumstances. “But what if…” was a regular thought process for taking a spare “thingamajig” and a “whatchamacallit” with no reason other than I might be caught short for the most absurd reason. Now its more militaristic, one of them, one of those, and ill just have to brass it out if it goes wrong. At 3am the alarm goes of and without hesitation I’m up, this has been in the planning for weeks and as the day approached iv been getting more and more restless. Everything was already laid out, the car was packed and food all prepared. All I had to do get dressed, head downstairs and prepare some breakfast. That had already been decided the night before, for this I was going all out by adding Nutela to the porridge, Breakfast of kings! [gallery ids="1709,1708" type="rectangular"] The 4 hour drive up to Snowdonia it altogether relatively mundane, and unless you have an interest in week old road kill and motorway service stations there REALLY isn’t much to say about the initial three hours. The final leg onto the A5 however is a whole other kettle of fish. I have driven halfway around the world and over entire continents, and I can tell you the road from Oswestry to Bets-y-Coed is still one of my favourite. Snaking its way around the north welsh countryside the scenery is some of the most awe inspiring and breathtaking Britain has to offer. There’s much to say about this, but we'll come back to it another time…
For this climb I’d chosen the Pyg track, its beautiful, relatively straightforward and iv done it so many times that these days it almost seem obligatory (not that I’m complaining). I arrived at Pen-Y-Pass 7:30 Sharp and stumped up a tenner for parking – This being my only grumble for the whole trip. From the confines of my nice warm and cozy car, the outside world seems so peaceful and calm, you can just watch the world guy by and be left completely untouched. That however all became a distant memory the second my door opened. Almost as soon as id pulled the door handle back, the wind got underneath ripping it from my hands. Swinging wide open I faced a chilling and icy breeze, the type that seeps under all your layers, sucking away at those last elements of comfort. Having still been relatively groggy by this point this was an unpleasant wakeup call. One of the great advantages of Backpacking Australia and living in a van is you learn to make the most of every available space. So when it comes to getting changed sat upright with a steering wheel pressed in your face, most people would laugh at even considering it. But when the temperature outside is hovering just above zero and the sleet is starting to belt down this suddenly becomes a very appealing option. After about 10 minutes of faffing around in the car I’m set. The bags packed, everything’s where it should be and cramming some nibbles and a map in my pocket as I set off. High winds, sleet, snow and mountains – these are the days I live for. [gallery ids="1710,1712" type="rectangular"]
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They say that you really find out who you are when you are in your lowest moments. When you are tired, hungry, aching and in pain your true character will emerge along with all of your fears, happiness, confidence and your doubts, and as I sit here wrapped in 5 layers for warmth and inhaling my pint, I certainly know mine.