Today started off similarly to yesterday. Up at 7, though with a few more aching muscles, and down for breakfast at 7:30. The breakfast picked up where the dinner ended - another great meal with the chef making special versions of porridge and beans/mushroom/tomatoes for us, along with the usual cereal and fruit. By the time we had settled our bill and were ready to head out it was 8:45 am - a bit of a later start than we had hoped given how long the day would be.
The rain that had been falling earlier in the morning had stopped by the time we started the day's hike, so we felt grateful for that. As we left the hotel, we saw our new friend Julia from yesterday and ended up spending the day hiking with her again. The first few hours were spent hiking around Ennerdale Water, a fairly large body of water surrounded by some imposing and spectacular mountains. We had been told by several locals that it would be better to deviate from the set path and take the northern route around the lake because the southern side would be swampy after yesterday's rain. The northern route only added a little mileage so we decided staying dry was more important than saving a little distance. Olivia and Jonah wanted to be on their own, so they took off in front of us - it was enjoyable watching them hike as a pair, sharing stories and songs as they hiked. After an hour or so of walking, we could see the clouds and fog start to roll in. For the next few hours we had intermittent rain, so we put on our rain gear and continued with the day. It didn't matter as the views were spectacular. Today was Olivia's day to have a stretch of difficulty (I'm sure we'll all have our day before it is over.) Her legs were feeling a little dead, so I became her sherpa and carried her bag for a mile. Being freed from her bag seemed to lift her spirits and energy, for after about a mile she was ready to take it back. My back and legs were extremely thankful! Our goal was to hike until about 2 pm when we had completed about 9 miles and then stop for a lunch break. That timing worked out well since the weather turned nasty just at that time. The rain started to pelt down on us, and someone was smiling down on us because within minutes we came to the first house we had seen in miles (and the only one we would see for another few miles). It was the Black Sail Youth Hostel and it provided the perfect refuge from the storm. We went in to dry off and eat our packed lunches: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some crackers, and the largest potatoes that we had ever seen. Each one was the size of a grapefruit!
By the time we were ready to go it was 2:45 pm and the rain had stopped. I couldn't imagine doing the next leg of today's hike if it had been raining. Over the next mile, we climbed just over 1000 ft, mostly stone steps besides waterfalls and streams. It felt like a stairway to heaven as we were still surrounded by fog and it got thicker as we climbed. The picture for this blog shows what our view was like. By the time we reached the top we could only see about 15-20 feet in front of us. Fortunately, that was about the distance apart each of the marking cairns was so we could still be confident that we were going the right way.
The rest of the day was spent hiking down the other side and on to the village of Rosthwaite (in Borrowdale) where we would be spending the night. We made it to our lodging, the Royal Oaks Hotel by 6:15 pm, thoroughly exhausted from another exhilarating day. While we are all staying in the same room tonight, it is a spacious one. And as a major bonus, we are able to do laundry here (only a handful of places list that as possible, and this wasn't one of them.) We're extremely grateful for that as we are running out of clean clothes. Normally our clothes might last a bit longer, but this weather has made everything dirty quicker than it normally would. We should be good for another 3 days at least.
After showers we went down for dinner and, once again, the meal was excellent. I had let each lodging know in advance about our vegan diet and so far they have all been excited to create special meals for us. Tonight we had a broccoli soup, a falafel and couscous main dish with leeks, potatoes, and string beans, and then an apple pie.
We are finding the same handful of people at each spot and catching up over dinner and after.
It's nice to commiserate about the day and share stories. Everyone is thoroughly impressed that Olivia and Jonah are doing so well. Tonight, one man (a big muscular guy with a crew cut and arms covered in tattoos) called us over to his table, astonished that the kids got here so quickly. We had seen him this morning at breakfast and then bumped into him again tonight at dinner. We are really happy to see how much Olivia and Jonah are enjoying the experience - so far, so good for all of us!
Miles hiked: 14.63
Total time hiking: 8 hrs. 7 min.
Avg. miles per hour: 1.8 miles per hour
Total Ascent: 1843 ft.
Total Descent: 1938 ft.
Lara's observation of the day: This day was amazing - the scenery is spectacular throughout but my favorite part was traversing between mountains, huge boulders all around, green green grass and the freshest air.
Olivia's observation of the day: We saw a pair of Jack Russell Terriers as we walked around Ennerdale Water. I never realized how cute they are, but now I really want one . . . or two!
Jonah's observation of the day: Today was an easier day for me. We got poured on in the middle of the day, but by the end it was beautiful.