June 19, 2010

Black Diamond (or Big Foot) Ahead

With a name like Snowdonia, you would think that this area in North Wales is known only for winterland bliss; however Snowdonia delivers summertime excitement as well. And not just on the black diamond level, although you can find that extreme entertainment as well.

Upon our arrival at Graig Wen, where we are tucked away in a glorious yurt. Some of you may be asking, what's a yurt. Imagine the luxurious large round tents that Ghengis Khan and company stayed in and you'll get the idea...ours comes complete with oriental rugs, plenty of fur, plus a gas burning stove and wood burning stove for heat. The area around our yurt, and all through Snowdonia, is lush...huge stands of pine forest surrounded by tangles of oak and ash cut with walking paths. I half expect Big Foot to pop out of the bushes.

At the yurt, Heath from Firefox stops by to give us a crash course in outdoor survival, skills necessary to the major hikes and climbs that are so popular in this area. The boys love learning to start a fire...what boy wouldn't?...and learning to put a "basher"...a small shelter. After we bid Heath goodbye, we embark on our own hike, but I think the large flock of sheep are more in need of survival skills than we are as the boys attempt to heard them.

We can't come to SNOWdonia and not try skiing, and the slopes are calling, the dry slopes that is. At Plas y Brenin, they offer courses in kayaking, mountain climbing and skiing. So the boys pop on the Rossis and head down a grassy slope covered in a white netting and sprayed with water. Skiing without freezing, the cold wimp in me approves!

We end the trip just outside Snowdonia in the medieval town of Conwy where we stay within the still intact town walls just down the street from a towering castle! History comes alive as the kids solve the mystery of the Children's Trail through the castle, which includes a ramble along ramparts and a climb up to a soaring tower...hundreds of feet high!

Snowdonia's adventure land has been lots of family fun, but tomorrow we're off for a different sort of adventure...a journey down the Llangollen Canal. If you see us floating by, be sure to say Hello!


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