BEEP BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP click!
No matter how essential those bloody things are I can assure you I come to despise them more and more everyday, unfortunately I needed to ensure I was up on time as there was a bus leaving to a town at town close to the base of Snowdon at 8am. In short I couldn’t believe it was 7am already, I had expected to awaken long before the alarm went off.
I threw my T-shirt on and given that I didn’t have much time decided to forgo my trainers and ran to the shower as fast as I could, towel in one hand wash bag in the other. Things were going pretty fine till I hit the tarmac road leading upto the shower block, after the nice soft grass it was sending shocks up my legs pretty badly so I adjusted my running style so I was a little lighter on my feet, this worked put was really throwing the hem of my t-shirt about, but I didn’t have enough time to worry about that.
I ran in the shower block and at first it looked as though all the shower cubicles were taken, I was considering just getting washed at the sink when one of the doors opened and I practically barged the woman out of the way. 5 minutes later I was showered dried and on the way back to my tent it was now 7:15. Yet again T-shirt flapping away in the breeze behind me when I finally reached the tent it struck me again how busy it was, there were several people eating breakfast outside close to my tent and all had a good view of the entrance.
I knew exactly what sort of a view they were going to get when I crawled into my tent but I didn’t have time to wait for them to turn away for a second so I more or less dived through the door closing it behind me as best as I could. The next task was to pack everything I was going to need for the day into a backpack towel, bikini, dry shoes, sun cream, food, waterproof, map etc. Bag packed I got dressed a slight change from my usual attire this time it was a case of hiking boots, baseball cap and denim shirt over a lighter top and trousers all designed to protect my legs from brambles and the like as I’d read there were some beautiful trails in Snowdonia and I intended to see as much as I could.
I looked at the travel clock the time was 7:35 it would take about 20mins to get to the gate so I had a little time left, the smells of other peoples breakfasts were starting to get to me so searched my pack for a choc bar and an apple then set off to catch the bus.
8:15am the bus finally arrives, and we still end up waiting for people waving from the top of the lane for the Bus to stay. After several pickups we finally arrived at a tourist park in Snowdonia at around 9:30am. We were told the bus would be making pickups at 5:30 and they wouldn’t be waiting for any stragglers… which was something I doubted very much after this mornings journey.
The first thing I wanted to do was get the train upto the top of Mt Snowdon, I have came to the conclusion that it would not only be quicker to climb to the top but a damn sight more comfortable. The view however more than made up for it as you can see for miles around in every direction, its truly magnificent to say the least.
I walked back down the tourist path and after a hour or so sight seeing and purchasing snacks in the village I decided to follow one of the trails set out by the forestry commission.
It was coming on for 11:30 by the time I reached the start of the trail that had took my fancy, and it was already pretty hot. The denim shirt had long been relegated to my backpack and I was ever thankful for the small amount of shade my hat brought. The trail in question follows a river for several miles and I decided this would be a most pleasant way to fill in the time before the bus left. Yet again the scenery was beautiful and I completely lost track of time as I walked along the trail but it seemed to be getting hotter by the minute. After a few hours I was really beginning to regret my practical but heavy equipment and I was boiling up, Id arrived a very scenic spot along the river where there was a sudden drop in the riverbed making lots of mini waterfalls… this was the perfect place for lunch and a much deserved rest.
After I’d eaten the idea was gradually coming to me that Id only seen one couple all the time I was on the trail and I really wanted to stay here a little longer, so I decided to change into my bikini and spend some more time on the riverbank. I didn’t try to cover up while I was getting changed but nobody passed, after a little sunbathing I went into the water to cool off a bit, it wasn’t deep enough to swim so I was able to walk up and sit under the waterfalls… It was absolutely freezing! But it was exactly what I needed.
Nobody had passed at all so I decided to get a little adventurous and removed the swimsuit while I was under the rocks. I had a clear view of the path and would see anyone on it long before I was seen myself, after I’d finished playing in the waterfalls I had one quick look around to make sure no one was coming and headed back to my kit, bikini in hand. It was now about 3ish so it was time to start heading back towards the bus but I didn’t want to get dressed quite yet and while I was quite happy wandering around here where it was quite secluded I didn’t really want to risk meeting anyone on the trail while I was like this.
I would have just put the bikini back on and left everything else in the bag but once I’m out the water I don’t like wearing wet clothes and given that it was going to be quite a hike back it wouldn’t be a good idea anyway. In short I came to a compromise I put the bikini and towel back into the bag and rearranged things so my trousers were on top, I then put the denim shirt on (leaving it open) and finally put the boots and socks back on. I decided the denim shirt would be perfect, it hung just below my waist and if I heard anyone coming I could cover up by fastening a few buttons, of course when I got a bit closer to the bus Id simply pull the trousers over my boots. With this in mind I walked back to the track and set off.
As I started to head back down the track I was starting to feel a little nervous, the track was quite twisty and unlike the campsite or waterfalls I no longer had a view of who was coming. The only reason I didn’t get dressed then is that is was still a lovely hot day and I was really enjoying the cool breeze from the river against my body, coupled with this was the memory of how hot it was when I was wearing my clothes!
Given a few more minutes I may have decided it wasn’t worth the risk, however I was to be denied this opportunity when I heard a woman shout a greeting from behind me. I hadn’t heard her coming so I was a bit shocked and kept fumbling the buttons on my shirt, matters were further complicated by the way the straps of my backpack were making it difficult to pull the two sides of the shirt together.
By the time I responded with a quick “Hi” id managed to get 4-5 five of the buttons tied. I quickly decided this was enough to cover me up so I turned around very carefully to see who had shouted. It turned out to be a couple in their late twenties, from the heat in my face I knew I must have been blushing but there was no escaping so I started a general conversation with them. They were called Dawn and Lee, it turned out they’d recognised me from the bus queue this morning and were also heading back, time was getting on and they suggested we’d better get going, so still talking we continued down the track.
After a while her partner commented I seemed a little underdressed for hiking, if I wasn’t blushing before I certainly was then. Thinking on my feet I said id slipped further down the river and my clothes were completely soaked, so rather than wander around in wet clothes for the rest of the day id just put on my swimsuit and shirt with the intention of changing back before reaching the bus. They seemed to accept this though he kept staring at the gaps on my shirt whenever he thought I wasn’t looking. I felt more naked now than when I was under the waterfall.
While I was pretty sure the shirt was staying closed over the important bits the gaps between the tied buttons seemed to open wide then close again with each step, but after an hour or so Id started to accept this and started acting as though I was fully clothed. Though it is worth mentioning that my arms were right by my sides the whole time just incase the hem of my shirt started to rise. Eventually the bus came into view, I’d been so busy talking that I hadn’t noticed how close we were getting, I started to make my excuses to run off to the ladies room and get changed when Dawn pointed out it was already 5:30 and I didn’t really have time, besides there was a loo on the bus and Id be able to get changed in there…
I really couldn’t make a good argument against this besides ‘I did have my bathing suit on’ I was really beginning to curse myself at this point. As we approached the bus I remembered the steps Id have to walk up to get on… to mount each step Id practically be lifting my leg up as high as my chest which would immediately put paid to any doubts Lee and anyone else in the park may have had about my bikini. In short there was no way I was going that far!
I was left with a few options…
a) I could try and put my trousers on out here and hope I did it quickly enough that no one would notice… which was no good since Id already said they were soaked and at this moment they were quite dry in the top of my pack.
b) I could put on my waterproof which would hang down to well over my knees… which would require squatting down to collect it from the bottom of the rucksack, not to mention the problems associated with removing the rucksack to do this.
c) Say “tell the bus to wait a minute” and walk as fast as I could to the little girls room (running was really out of the question) so I could get changed.
I decided option C was really the best option so I scurried off to the bathroom despite protests from my little party, and said “The bus will wait a few mins its not like they don’t know where I am”. There was a small concrete step as I approached the bathroom and as I walked through the door standing on it I felt a small breeze brush against my bottom, though I sped through the door as fast as I could I was thankful I hadn’t even thought about trying the stairs on the Bus… and while I may still have dispelled a few doubts at least I had minimised the damage.
As I tried to pull my trousers over my boots I was also grateful that I had never actually tried to do this outside, after 5 mins of the most undignified contortions I finally had them on. I was almost out the door before I remembered the claim that they were soaked so I dunked my towel in a sink and suitably wet the trousers with it, once done I made sure all the buttons of the shirt where now tied and headed off towards the bus.
As I arrived it was pretty obvious I was indeed the last to return and as I approached the bus everyone was watching out the window. I started to enter at the back of the bus I was greeted by the traditional cheers for the last to arrive when the bus driver bellowed, “you’re not comin on my bus like that!”
I was a little thrown by this and responded with all of my veritable wit “What?!”, to which the bus driver repeated his earlier challenge. I stood there bewildered there was no way I was hiking back the 20 or so miles to the campsite even assuming I could find the way, so I responded “Well what do you expect me to do walk!”, at this point Dawn spoke up and said listen why don’t you nip into the loo there and just change back? I’ll lend you a towel so you can dry off a bit… yet again an entirely reasonable statement. The bus driver grunted, “okay just be quick” at me.
She walked to the back of the bus and handed me a dry towel, not having much of an option I ducked into loo and started thinking. The problem was my bikini was still wet, my trousers were wet and now my base of my denim shirt was also soaked so this really wasn’t going to work… and while I had been willing to do it a few mins ago 2 hours in wet clothes was not a prospect I was looking forward to. Then my little brain started working properly.
I stripped off in the loo (which given the space available was a remarkable feat in itself) this time starting with my hiking boots, which sped matter up no end. Once Id dried off I took my trainers from the bag and put them on then pulled the waterproof over my head. Packing everything back in the bag took a while but by this point I was assured that no matter how much I moved about the waterproof would stay put.
I opened the door and stepped out, yet again every head was turned to face me no doubt by this point expecting to see me wearing the bikini and quite a few looked very disappointed. I moved towards the front of the bus so I could return the towel, Dawn had saved me a seat next to them. From the looks they kept giving me I was pretty sure they had noticed what had happened on the step but they said nothing so we chatted about the weather and such till the bus returned to the site.
It was nearly 8:00 by the time we arrived and the weather had taken a turn for the worse and I was feeling a little cold to say the least, though I had no one to blame but myself for that. As I dismounted from the bus I held the rucksack in front of me so no one got a clear view if the waterproof rode to high on the steps and jumped onto the pavement to avoid the worst one. Dawn and Lee joined me and we headed back to the campsite their tent wasn’t too far from mine but in a different row so we said our goodbyes near the shower block.
Even though it was early when I reached my tent all I wanted to do was go to sleep, tomorrow would be my last full day and I had no intention of wasting it!
Well there we go I think that’s the longest day yet, though I’ll have to alter it a bit later, on the return journey I had an isle seat on the bus and its amazing how many people were trying to peak under my waterproof as they walked down the stairs!