When I am walking or cycling up from town to Rathmines, I can see the Wicklow Mountains straight ahead of me. This morning they were covered in a light snow.
You can catch glimpses of the mountains from many places in town. They are right on the edge of the city, and yet I don’t get out to them that often.
This past weekend C and I were taking care of two doggies so we decided this was a perfect excuse to get out and walk around in the mountains for an afternoon.
We drove up towards Sally Gap, following signs for Powerscourt Waterfall and Avoca Handweavers. In all the time I’ve lived in Ireland, I’ve only been up there twice before. The day was Irish: grey, windy and cold. We took a trail high above Loch Dan.
The ground is wet and muddy but luckily a walking track has been built above it all to save our shoes and keep our feet dry. Our doggie wards are both of the tiny variety, and had there not been a walk-way, we might have lost them in one of the cold puddles.
I love being able to see far and wide and not be able to see Dublin or any sign of a city. There were other walkers and hikers on the path but not that many. I love that a mere forty minute drive from the centre of a major European capital I can be standing on a mountain surrounded by mountains and air and sky and nothing else.
We hiked up Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles on New Years day. LA has many great canyon and hill walks. It took us about 40 minutes to park the car, let alone to drive to the base of the walk. When we hit the trail, we were some of hundreds of people and dogs walking. Everyone looked perfectly LA stylish as well. At the top we stood above the intense sprawl of Los Angeles. The city spreads as far as the eye can see. The Hollywood sign sits in the Hollywood hills to the left, and the Pacific Ocean is down on the right. Planes take off every few seconds from the airport. You are aware, totally and completely, that you are above, in and a part of a massive American city.
The Wicklow Mountains are the opposite of that, and a welcome relief. Not that I would mind of we could steal some of that LA sunshine. I hope we won’t have to wait until our next dog’s visit to head up to the mountains again.