Week IV: No Tech Trip, MASSIVE Scary Hike and Biking to Castles
We have been here for about a month now. This place continues to feel more like home, and my friendships with these people grow every day. I have gathered so many amazing experiences already in just the last four weeks, and I look forward to getting lots more.
We began our week with our final leadership workshop with Ryan. For the next four weeks, we will have workshops with Killian instead. The workshop focused on non-verbal communication and we talked about showing emotions without using words like using body language, facial expressions and tone. After lunch, we went surfing. I personally did really well, and I feel like I’ve gotten so much better, which is really exciting for me! We had an early dinner and then had our second workout with BMS. I can’t speak for everyone, but my legs HURT.
Tuesday morning, we had the raft race. We were given four planks of wood, two big barrels, and a bunch of rope. The objective was to put it all together and then get two people to ride the raft down the river behind our house. The first team to get all of their supplies and people past the finish line won. My team’s raft fell apart almost immediately, but Dylan and Betsy just swam all of the parts to the end, so we won! We took the afternoon to clean the house and pack for our trip.
That evening, we had Liquid Therapy. It was very cold, and the waves were small, but I still had lots of fun with my surfer.
We had been hearing about the big hike we did on Wednesday since we got to Ireland. Slieve League was the longest hike we were going to do while we are here. It was a six-hour hike. It was very long indeed. We also had a phone detox for the next three days, so we started the day by giving up our phones. For this trip, we were with Sarah, who was awesome as always, and a leader in training, Nial, who was very cool (but I think we all also missed Joe).
We hiked up the mountain and had lunch when we got to the top. Then we had to cross this crazy ridge called One Man’s Pass with insane drops on both sides. After that, we descended the mountain, going down for a long time. When we got to the bottom, I looked back at the mountain looming over us and was blown away by the fact that we had just been at the top. We left the mountain behind and followed the coast to the tiny town our hostel was in. We had a very good student-led meal, and many people went to bed early.
On Thursday, we were in Glenvaegh national park and biked to the Glenvaegh castle. I gave a presentation on the castle and its history, and we had lunch in the tea room. After we ate, we continued biking past the castle to a waterfall and a small cabin. It was a rough ride back to the bus because we were all sore from the hike, but we all managed to make it back in one piece.
We drove to the hostel we were staying at that night that was at the base of Mount Errigal, Donegal’s highest mountain (750 meters). I was in charge of the student lead meal, and I learned that it is very challenging to make food for 14 people. We ended the day by watching “Catch Me If You Can”.
We woke up on Friday and couldn’t see Mount Errigal, so we all thought we weren’t climbing it. Turns out, we were. The beginning of the hike wasn’t very hard, but it was super boggy so everyone was hopping over big patches of thick, wet mud. After the bog, it started to get steep and rocky. As we went up it not only got steeper, but also started to rain, and the wind picked up. My legs were burning!
We were about 20 minutes away from the summit when Sarah decided we needed to turn around and get back to the bus. The winds were so intense I kept having to ground myself because I felt like I was going to be blown over. We quickly got down the mountain and sloshed through the bog (no one was concerned with keeping their feet dry at that point) to the bus. Dylan managed to get his boots totally stuck in the mud, so he ended up just going barefoot for the end.
We changed into warm, dry clothes, and drove home to Bundoran. It was a little scary to be on a mountain in a storm, but looking back at it, it was totally kickass and super cool.