Distance: 9.5 miles
Breakfast was an odd experience. This was not the usual chummy, Coast to Coast crowd of hikers and there was no conversation. I had come to look forward to friendly chats with fellow walkers, but I was the only C2C walker in this group of B&B guests. In addition, rain had fallen heavily most of the night and continued to do so. All the rain gear would be necessary and this day would be quite an experience. I walked to the youth hostel to meet up with Deb and the girls, and then returned to Grasmere to buy cheese and pickle (chutney) sandwiches for lunch. Finally ready to go, we departed, braced for a wet day.
The gravel country road wound its way up the beautiful, but thoroughly wet Easedale Valley. We could see the water gushing down the mountainside from a great distance away.
Not only was the water flowing in the beck, but down the trail as well.
We were encouraged to come upon a bridge across the river, which gave us hope that streams further up the mountain might also have bridges. That was not to be.
The guidebook gleefully wrote “no bridges here, just leap across the stream.” Unfortunately, these wide torrents gushing down the hillside were too wide for leaping. The ground everywhere was saturated and very squishy. Walking upstream a bit we managed, however, to make it across a smaller stream with our boots still dry.
The higher we went, the wilder the wind blew. We struggled to stay upright, but at one point Kait was knocked over by a huge gust.
We came to a large boggy area where we could not find solid footing. Finally, the inevitable happened, our boots sank so deep that the water flowed freely in and our socks were thoroughly wet. The “silver lining” to this circumstance was that we didn’t have to search for a good stream crossing, we just waded in and crossed where ever it pleased us.
In spite of the rain, the abundant waterfalls were beautiful.
As if rain was not enough, a wave of colder air now brought hail. We were quite hungry, but did not want to stop for fear of getting cold. I began to mentally run through what clothing I had in my pack that would prevent hyperthermia.
The laces on my boots were indistinguishable from the mud I was walking through. With no traction, I slid down a grassy section of the trail on my backside. I was able to remedy that problem by rinsing the mud off my boots in the next stream. The wind became fiercer as we came upon two women coming toward us and had lost the trail. We helped them get back on course. They left us a little concerned when they informed us they had “no idea how we would manage to descend the waterfall” they had just traversed (we were not aware that the trail had become a waterfall at Lining Crag, the steepest part of the trail still ahead of us). When we finally reached that section of the path, the rocks were extremely slick which made for a slow scramble down the mountain.
We continued to make our way down Lining Crag .
The trail was not improving, but we just waded in and crossed the many streams whenever we needed.
To our delight, we spotted Borrowdale below us. The end was in sight.
Borrowdale is a tranquil, lush valley snuggled between steep, rugged mountains.
The wild weather of the mountains was now behind us and we had survived to hike another day. As crazy as this day had been, we would never forget it, and it added to the wonderful memories of this Coast to Coast adventure.
Deb and her daughters stayed at the youth hostel in Longthwaite and I had a room at the Stonethwaite Farm B&B where my host, Tracey, kindly took me in – as wet and bedraggled as I had become. After cleaning up, I enjoyed touring her farm to see the orphaned baby lambs, blue silky chickens, dogs, cows and horses. The Vermonters and I reconvened for a well deserved and delicious dinner at the Langstrath Hotel in Stonethwaite. We were most happy to learn that my UK friend, Peter, would be joining us the following morning to hike the final two days of the Coast to Coast trek with us.