Tag Archives: Road Trip

A Scotland Adventure – Part 8, Fairy Pools and Sligachan Bridge

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Hello, and welcome back to your annual story time of Ben and Sarah’s international adventures! Keeping with the tradition of the last few years, Sarah and I visited with her family, this year going back to Scotland.

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Tuesday, 31-Dec-2019

 

Our last day in Skye was, frustratingly to all involved, some of the best weather of the whole trip.

Our main plan for the day was to get back to Aberdeen – but we couldn’t let the amazing weather pass by without getting some last minute views of Skye!  We picked two adventure spots on the drive out – The fairy Pools, and the Sligachan bridge!

 

The two were gorgeous!  Both places had amazing views of their respective Cuillins, and the sunlight breaking through the clouds gave the whole vista an amazing ephemerical feel… I’ve said it before in these posts, but Skye just seems like a fairy world – I completely understand why so many myths and legends sprung up in Scotland.  Maybe it’s the variance between the rough seas and beautiful hillsides, or maybe it’s the extreme length of the golden hour due to the high latitude.

Whatever the reason, the pictures below speak louder than any descriptions I could write.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Cairo, Climbing in New Paltz… and getting rained on

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Wednesday, 27-May-2015

 

On the way between visiting my Grandma and partying it up with Big T in Connecticut, I did a bit of adventuring in Upstate New York.  See… I’d been reading American Gods again, and the thought of visiting the town of Cairo (I’d learn later that this wasn’t the same town from the book, unfortunately) was too good to pass up.

So I drove down the highway, took the exit, and started looking for a diner to find some breakfast.

Well, it was a wasted effort.  The town of Cairo, New York is not really what you could call a “lively” town… instead, it was mostly closed storefronts and empty houses.  Abandoned roads and… not really much, aside from a single excellent welcome sign.  Maybe it becomes more lively during the evenings, or on holidays?

But I ended up just driving through.

 

 

Instead, I spent some time at my favorite climbing spot – The Gunks, in New Paltz.

Since I was rolling solo, and the weather was kind of threatening I decided to take it safe and go to the swimming hole instead of straight into the climbing area.  Figured that I could save a few bucks on a climbing pass too.

Well, finding the swimming hole wasn’t as easy as I thought… I remembered the main turnoff, but got a bit turned around while I was driving down the back roads.  Thankfully, another car pulled up and asked me if I knew where to go – since they were coming from one side, and I knew it had to be one of the two… I got to sound all smart.  And so I led a convoy down to the waters…

But turns out that the girls were really against paying anything (seriously, what?) so the other car turned around, and I went swimming solo.

Or not so solo – I ended up hanging out with some Physics students from the nearby university – chatting, swimming, and doing some water-solo bouldering.  It was awesome, until they mentioned how close we were to some other bouldering… which I decided I had to go see.  So I grabbed the crash pad and headed down the trail.

Turns out, the trail was just another way of getting to the main climbing area that I know and love… but that wasn’t a bad thing.  Basically, just meant that I had an excuse to climb it again!

So… I did.

 

But see, that’s where the fun comes in.  I was bouldering all nice and pretty as your please, for maybe an hour or two. I tried a few interesting routes; mostly just traversing the bottom of some of my favorite tall routes. But I did a few pretty solid overhangs as well… at least until it started getting disconcertingly dark.

And then it started raining. Normally; not a problem. But today, I had brought my new Laptop with me, so that I could do some writing between routes. And my new laptop was not, in fact, waterproof. And I had parked a long way away…

So, I tried walking back to the car, using my crash pad as an umbrella.

That didn’t really work, since the rain was impressively heavy, and the wind was strong.

So, I found a small cave. Deep enough that the rain wasn’t getting anywhere near the back. I put the bag with the laptop on a rock, and layered the crash pad on top. Then, I ran.

I’m happy to say that the runs I did back in Cambridge paid off – I made it back to the car in record time, sloshing through the puddles and ponds and runoffs that covered the trail.

I got changed, and pulled the car up to a parking lot that was nice and close to the cave that I’d stashed the gear in. I’d thought ahead to bring a tarp, just in case I wanted to make a covered campsite, so I dragged that out of the car too. Now, clad in my full rain gear, I was ready to casually walk back out and save the laptop.

Which, I did. I wrapped everything in the tarp, and then casually walked back in the rain again. Slipped the laptop into the front seat, and stuffed everything else into the back in the car, and drove out to the supermarket to get some food, and relax for a bit before driving out to link up with Big T.

 

First obstacle on the roadtrip: dealt with.

A visit to Connecticut before the storm hits

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Weekend of 31-Jan-15 through 01-Feb-15

Ben Hutt Jan 2015

As we’ve established, I enjoy visiting my Aunt.  Her house in Connecticut is amazing; she just creates this perfect atmosphere of warmth and serenity, no matter what season it is, or what’s happening in my life.  This winter has been rough for me, as most winters are… I dislike being trapped, and the longer commuting times due to the snow, combined with a lack of sunlight and general “you can’t do that, because it’s zero degrees out and there’s a billion feet of snow on the ground” makes me more than a bit blue.

So, I drove down to CT to visit and recharge my batteries.

The drive wasn’t too bad – it had snowed pretty hard earlier in the week, but there had been enough time and snow and plows to clear the roads out pretty nicely.  Of course there were a few spots that I had to slow down and be careful at the wheel, but for the most part the drive was the usual relaxing.  It did help that I’d stopped in Cambridge for a bite of breakfast before hitting the highway – that way I was able to just drive straight, and had a belly nicely full of pancakes and coffee to keep me going.

Once I got into Connecticut, there was a short bit of hanging out and catching up – chatting about my job, her writing, my lack of writing… the usual stuff that my Aunt and I chat about.  Eating kumquats, and playing with Einstein (pictured above, with me).

The main goals of the weekend were to eat delicious pizza, do a bit of shoveling, get grain for the goats, and get hay for the goats.  The pizza part we killed off that first night, along with picking up the grain (if I remember correctly).  However, the shoveling and hay had to wait for the next morning…

My Aunt, as we’ve established, is amazing.  So her goats are, obviously, amazing as well.  But that means that they need amazing food, and amazing hay can be hard to find.  So, we went to a small farm, with a large barn.  And an owner who scours the nearby farms (and some not so nearby farms) for bales of hay, and then organizes them all up into the huge barn.

And from the huge barn?  Tetris skills man.  Tetris skills to get six huge bales of hay into one small Volvo.  I mean, not a tiny car by any means, but definitely not a monster van or anything… or even the usual pickup that you’d expect.  But it can be done, and it was be done, because it done got done.  Yes.

And then – we belted up to do battle.  See, the path down to the goat’s barn was all well and good for walking, but not for trucking bales of hay down from the car.  So we shoveled it out.  Nice and light and fluffy snow, and the job was made easier by the fact that somehow Boston’s been a magnet for snow this season – meaning that there was only ~8 inches of snow on the ground, vs. Boston’s 16-30 inches.

So it was a simple job.  Moving the hay was a bit tougher, but definitely fun due to the wicked hook that we used to haul it from the car into the wheelbarrow… Seriously, that thing reminded me of Captain Hook…. but scarier.  I loved it.

Once the hay loft was stocked, we played a bit with Violet and SweetPea, helped them do their nails (Trimming their hooves, really only Violet, since SweetPea was too big for me to hold onto), and ran around the pen like crazy people.  Sometimes I chased the goaties, sometimes they chased me.  Usually we just ran around crazy, enjoying the outdoors and the winter as only Swiss goats can.

 

 

Blog Link for my Aunt!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Plantswise-by-Tovah-Martin/188220037885906?fref=photo