Welcome to Part 2 of my journey along Ireland's Dingle Way! Yes, I'm well aware that all you Americans are chuckling at the word, Dingle. If you haven't read Part 1, here's the link so you can catch up: Slackpacking Ireland's Dingle Way with Hillwalk Tours, Part 1.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a stile. As a girl who spent a large chunk of her life on a farm, I'm embarrassed to say that I was 30 years old when I learned what a stile was. Had it not been for the impeccable directions from Hillwalk Tours, I might not have learned the meaning of the word. I would still be wandering in a pasture in the hills of western Ireland. To survive the Dingle Way, one must become proficient in crossing stiles.
The day began in the pouring rain, and I was surprised to learn that several articles of my clothing were not waterproof. One could hear a lovely sloshing sound coming from my hiking boots with every step. It was fabulous.
The terrain was mainly rolling hills and farmland. I couldn't take my camera out due to the rain, but it was overwhelmingly green- exactly the way I had imagined it would be. However, my sniffles from the day before slowly evolved into a genuine cold as the day wore on. The rain probably didn't help much, either. At some point, I started running a fever and got delirious, so I made some videos that were quite entertaining to go back and watch...
The rain often made the trail a little difficult to maneuver as well. At one point, I was neck-deep in a river, rushing water all around me, fearful for my life. I'm only exaggerating a little.
Okay, I'm exaggerating alot. In addition to bravely fording rivers, I [accidentally] ventured off the beaten path...
Immediately after this video, I also unwittingly dropped my phone. After retracing my steps, the Lord shone down His holy light upon it. I said a silent prayer of thanks that His hand allowed it to fall in the soft grass instead of an unholy pile of sheep dung.
We don't have many of sheep in Arkansas, so seeing them dotting the hills was extremely exciting for me at first. My imagination entertained grand hopes of becoming an Irish Heidi. Yes, in Johanna Spyri's classic book, she was from Switzerland and herded goats, but hopefully you can connect the dots here. As evidenced in the video below, I was wrong. The sheep wanted nothing to do with me. I'm still trying to cope with the disappointment.
The entire day was spent walking solo. I had no human contact whatsoever, which means I talked to myself quite a bit. I mused about life, Ireland's beauty, why people use the word "irregardless," and how I could probably make a sick rap to the rhythm of my sloshing shoes. On a slightly more disgusting note, the solitude turned me into a woman of the woods. I used nature's toilet when I needed it, hocked loogies, and blew my nose... I became the Irish countryside, and the Irish countryside became me. A classier woman wouldn't have mentioned any of that. My parents are very proud. Sarcasm aside, my dad would actually be genuinely proud about the loogie one. He's been trying to teach me for years.
I arrived in Dingle just in time to grab a quick bite to eat, take some sinus medication, scribble a few trail notes in my journal, and crash at my Bed and Breakfast. The last sentences in my journal for the day were, "I either have a fever or a sunburn, but Imma pass out now."
Hang tight for Part 3: Dingle to Ballyferriter, Slightly Less Than 12 Parsecs.