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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Stonethwaite to Grasmere

We woke up still footsore but surprisingly refreshed and ready for another day. A typical English breakfast followed (recommended only for people who are doing hard exercise—the same fare would probably provide a heart-attack for anyone else), and then we were on our way. I discovered that sock-liners made my boots feel too small, so resorted once again to moleskin to reduce contact with the sore part of my ankle (which was still unblistered)

A bridge crossing later, we were on the official trail route again, which passed waterfalls and then started climbing quickly in the beautiful morning light. After a false summit, the path led us through some boggy areas—so far, there’s never been a day here that I hadn’t ended up being grateful for my waterproof hiking boots.

The hike up to the top was uneventful, but the scenery was gorgeous as was the light—the Lake district mountains have a distinctive talent for appearing to be much taller than they have a right to look, despite none of them being higher than Mt. Hamilton in the Bay Area.

The book noted that today had the most accessible of the coast to coast’s high ridge walk, so despite our lingering soreness, we decided to take it. The views were again outstanding, with visibility being good enough for us to see both Grasmere and Windermere lakes.

The descent from Helm Crag, however, was steep beyond belief—the bottoms of my feet were again pulsating by the time we hit the bottom, and it was to our relief that the hotel we’d booked was the first one we encountered in town.

Grasmere was a picture-perfect little town—so small that the nearest Laundromat was a bus-ride away. Fortunately, the bus comes by every 20 minutes or so (at least, that’s what we were told). We wandered around, found dinner, booked dinner at the Jumble House for the next night (yes, things were so crowded we couldn’t have dinner there that night!), and then found the Wordsworths’ graves at the Church of St. Oswald.

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