I arrived in the Glendalough Valley in the owner of Captain Halpin’s Bunkhouse somewhat beat up old van accompanied by my friends Anna, Eike and Myles, all of whom were staying at the hostel in Wicklow and who also happened to be my roommates.
As the day drew to a close, I certainly had some reservations as I watched all my new friends drive away in Ian’s van back to the comfort and confines of the hostel. Had I known then what I know now, my ass would have loaded up in that van so quick it would have made your head spin. But no, I had to be the great adventurer. Taming the wilds of Ireland alone. Forging ahead into the distant horizon. Going where no man has gone…well, you get my drift.
So, with that, I pitched my tent on the hillside being harassed in part by the few midges that had decided to join me. No biggie I thought 'I can handle a few pesky bugs.' However, by the time I had my tent erected, which takes all of about 5 minutes, I was beginning to regret my decision to stay behind. The longer I was out there the more midges joined the party until I unceremoniously left my tent behind, walked briskly back down the hill into the park, and finished my day with another short hike, because at that point constant motion was essential to my survival. Now, those of you who have read my blogs before must be thinking, she has dealt with this before, why on earth did she not bring some repellent? Well, that is a great question. And the answer is: NOTHING repels midges. There isn't anything thing that exists on God’s green earth that can combat those little flying Piranha teeth. What does work? Keep moving. Hey, no problem, at least for a few more hours. But eventually I would have to go back to my tent. And when I did, it was war. And guess whom was on the losing end...again. Sitting peacefully on the side of the hill watching the sun go down over the majestic Glendalough Valley was out.
The next morning I awoke, after maybe two hours of sleep, to the sound of a gentle rain falling on my temporary home. I thought to myself “well at least there won’t be any midges to contend with.” Unfortunately that was not to be the case. As I unzipped the door to my tent I realized that what I thought was rain pelting my sleeping quarters was actually….yup, you guessed it, four trillion midges. I took a deep breath of exasperation, ate 250 midges in doing so, and immediately re-zipped the tent door and thought…fuck. I considered my options. Grabbing my gear, leaving the tent behind, and high tailing it out of there, was on the top of the list. Couldn’t do it. That is in essence littering. So there was no way I could do that.Over the course of my camping experiences in Ireland I have done pretty much everything in that tent, sleeping, writing, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, all while lying flat on my back.