At 7pm on Friday I joined the last group to depart Cambridge for Snowdonia, Wales, with Josh, Georgia and Nikhil, all of whom were new members to the club like myself.
We arrived around 11pm in the carpark close to the Bunkhouse, oblivious to the beautiful scenery surrounding us that was hidden by the darkness. After claiming the last available bunkbeds, we got to meet the rest of the group, a mix of people of different backgrounds, ages and hiking experiences united by a shared desire to get out of Cambridge routines and into nature, to experience the beauty of Snowdonia in autumn, and to meet friends with a shared love for the outdoors.
The next day during breakfast, everyone started to find other hikers with similar plans and objectives for the hikes, and groups started to form. Since it was forecast to rain, I decided to join Elliot’s group for a "sensible" valley hike, in a group that came to be known as, "The Sensible Seven".
Shortly after breakfast we began our walk from the bunkhouse and soon the rain decided to join us. However since we stayed in the valleys, the rain didn’t bother us as we continued on our scenic journey through forests coloured by autumn leaves.
We had planned the walk to include a beautiful lake, a waterfall and a cosy tea house. Around lunch time we reached the first highlight, a lake where we stopped for lunch. Then we continued on our way, passing by beautiful scenery we started getting to know each other better. After admiring the waterfall, in my opinion the highlight of the day, we decided to warm up at the “Ugly Teahouse” with some hot tea and delicious homemade cakes.
We arrived back at the bunkhouse just before dark. Hot showers and delicious food for dinner awaited us, and the evening was filled with delightful conversations about the day’s adventures.
On Sunday morning, I started my own group with Josh, Georgia and Nikhil to explore the mountain area west of the bunkhouse, and soon others joined. We decided to climb a mountain in order to enjoy views of the surrounding area. As we departed the bunkhouse we realised our luck: the rain had finally stopped. Ascending the mountain was difficult, the rain having made everything slippery and wet, but this only increased the feeling of achievement when we finally made it to the top, where we were rewarded with a breath-taking view of the valleys, lakes and mountains of Snowdonia.
For the way down we soon lost any trace of the trail we had intended to follow, and so struggled down the steep side of the mountain. When we finally made it down to the lake that we had seen from above we were all covered in mud and our shoes were sodden. But when we looked up the way we had come down we couldn't help but feel a little proud at having managed to go down the way that we did.
On the way back to the bunkhouse everyone was a little more subdued than when we had started out in the morning; no doubt we were all tired from our hike that turned out more difficult than anticipated.
At the bunkhouse we started cleaning up and saying goodbye to all the new friends we had made that weekend and then soon started our journey back to Cambridge.
Sitting again in the car with Josh, Georgia, Nikhil, and Ali, I thought about what we had experienced this weekend. Of course we were all now more smelly, more tired and had significantly wetter socks than when we started the trip two days prior, but we had made new friends, got to experience the beauty of Snowdonia in autumn, and had regained energy and mental clarity, ready for the return to our regular routines and work in Cambridge.
Trip List: Katja N, Danny V, Elliot B, Oliver N, Bill C, Hendrik R, Thomas S, Ashray G, Emily J, Johsua R, Samra P, Kathryn L, Tommy R, Honour P Mario D, Noah S, Kate P, Grace S, Nikhil G, Iris H, Alessandre A, Yuqian L, Juliane R, Nick N, Varun S, John-Jo B, Stani G, Georgia S, Lingfeng L