The alarm rang merciless in the early morning. Pulling back the curtains, we saw the hills outside the window covered in some off-white mud. It had snowed during the night, but the pouring rain had turned the white cover into muddy patches. The sky was grey as far as we could see. There were no signs of it stopping. Sighing, we stepped away from the window and got ready for our hike up Mount Snowdon.
The rain didn’t stop when we got into the car, it didn’t stop when we were driving along the countryside roads covered with snow and it didn’t stop when we got out of the car. In fact, it didn’t seem as if wouldn’t stop at all in the near or not so near future. Despite the miserable weather, we decided to go ahead, we hadn’t come all the way to Wales just to go back again. We put on raincoats and rainproof trousers, covered our backpacks with rain covers and pulled up the hoods.
Just across the road was the start of the Watkins Path up to the summit of Mount Snowdon. The first bit lead through some forest and across a little waterfall on a muddy path, before we left the woods. A stunning view revealed itself. In the gorge between two mountains was a waterfall pouring down into the valley, with the ruins of what seemed like a mill at its side. On the meadows below were sheep peacefully grazing. Around this scene mountains were stretching out, their tops vanishing in the low hanging clouds.
The path was rather flat in the beginning, but got steeper eventually. Again and again we stopped to take in the beautiful views. The rain didn’t matter anymore. After a while, ascent turned into rocky stairs covered in the slushy and muddy remnants of snow. My glasses started to steam up from the humid air and my breath. I enjoyed the physical challenge. Proper snow was now covering the rock.
It got even steeper. We scrambled across the rock and through the snow, trying not to hit any big gaps hidden under the white snow. Finding our path was a challenge, and I’m pretty sure at one point we definitely had lost it, but merged back into it again a littler higher. Distracted by that, we hardly noticed the fog around us getting more and more dense.
Only when the path flattened out a bit, we became aware of the fog. We could only see a few metres ahead before everything vanished in a milky white blanket. Hiking on, the path became more slushy than snowy again. The weather conditions started to concern me. If the snow was to melt even more, the descent would be pretty slippery and dangerous, the view was awful and a strong wind was blowing into our faces. We decided to push on a few metres further to the highest point visible, before turning around.
As we started the descent, our fear turned into reality. The snow was melting and we were constantly slipping away and falling while carefully scrambling down rocks. Luckily only our hiking poles bend and broke, not our legs. Slowly, we came out of the clouds and the view got clearer. Totally unexpected, even the rain stopped. It seemed like a miracle. The views over the hills and mountains of Snowdonia National Park were exceptional and we almost forgot how soaked we were. Mist was steaming out of the woods we had started in.
When we reached the rock stairs again, they had turned into a little waterfall with all the melt water coming down the mountain. It was the 28th waterfall we came across on our hike (yes, we had counted waterfalls). Energized by the views and the rain stopping, we picked up the pace a little and made our way down Mount Snowdon, back along the river, past the mill and waterfall and through the wood.
We crossed the road and stopped at the car. Finally we were able to get out of the cold and wet clothes. Even a rain proof coat can only take a certain amount of water, and this had definitely been more. After changing into dry pyjamas, we turned the heater up and had a snack. Our cheeks were glowing red. It had been a great day. After all, we had reached the highest point of Mount Snowdon visible. We smiled as we started to make our way back home.