Fresh air in our lungs, rocks beneath our boots, warm sun on our faces and new friends and sights all around, these are just some of the reasons why we LOVE adventuring. Our favorite kind of adventures? The kind that are so beautiful and challenging that we can’t help but be changed by them in some way forever…. reaching the tallest peak in a new country (throwback to Mount Whitney), now that’s what we’re talking about!
Sitting at 3,406 feet, Carrauntoohil is the central peak of the famed Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range, a collection of the 12-highest peaks in Ireland!
Here’s a great map of the trail found on an Irish site that may not be available to you if you are researching from the US. Note: This is the shortest route to the summit.
It took us about 6 hours total (including our picnic lunch + 45 minutes relaxing at the top) to hike the 7.5 strenuous miles, but it was worth every Irish step! We started at the Cronin’s Yard campground which is a great place to start and end the hike, regardless if you’re staying here or not, because they have a cute little tea room (hot drinks, treats and sandwiches) and hot showers (1 Euro per minute)! We hadn’t showered in a record-breaking 9 days (simply because public showers can’t be found here) so this was one of the main reasons we chose to make this home base. Look for this plaque located at the Carrauntoohil trailhead:The trail from Cronin’s Yard was very enjoyable and easy to follow + we were gifted with views of the famous “rolling hills of Ireland,” and met numerous fluffy sheep along the way!
We even found a Gator fan!:It was a gradual incline for the 1st hour, until we reached the DEVIL’S LADDER – the name speaks for itself. Here the trail transformed into an extremely steep, boulder-filled crag, where the relentless, thigh-burning fun began (3 days later and we still feel the burn!). On the plus side, it was an extremely rewarding and beautiful way to reach the top. Look at that hunky mountain man 🙂
We still had the way down to look forward to…After what felt like forever we finally made it to the top of the pass… just 30 more minutes and we would be celebrating above the clouds:
After reaching the pass, there was no clear path to the top. Every once in a while we’d come across a section of crushed rock and follow that until the next patch, but for the most part we just knew we had to KEEP GOING UP.
Surrounded by patches snow, gentle clouds and other grateful summit-seekers, the only thing left above us was the clear blue sky and a giant, iron cross:
Dare I say it, it was actually HOT at the summit!! If this isn’t the face of pure bliss, I don’t know what is:
And of course, I was heels over head on top of Ireland:The views were breathtaking and the first BIG ADVENTURE of our honeymoon was had. All that was left to do now was rehydrate, enjoy and take the ride back down, one steep, Irish step at a time:
For the full experience, sit back, relax and watch this fun mashup Drew made of clips taken along our journey to the top of Ireland!:
After making it back down to land, we enjoyed our first hot showers in entirely too long and just when we thought we could sit down and relax with a nice hot van-meal… THIS happened:
All humor (and ketchup) aside (if you watched the video above that should make sense), the day after we summited Carrauntoohil was the day Brussels was attacked. Now we know this instills fear in many of our family, friends and fellow-travelers, but we don’t want it to. Being on top of that mountain with that giant iron cross made us reflect on the fact that while many things are out of our control in this lifetime, our ability to have faith in the good that IS in our world (no matter how faraway or how small it may seem) is always in our hands. It’s practicing THAT faith, in the hardest of times, that provides strength and inspiration to the people and places that need it most.
Our hearts go out to Brussels and we promise to continue sharing and spreading our faith wherever this adventure called “Life” takes us. On that note, we are excited to announce that we will be co-leading the “Jewels of the Adriatic” trip with Carpe Mundo this summer and YOU CAN BE A PART OF THE ADVENTURE TOO! Mention “Mr and Mrs Adventure” at the time of booking and you’ll get $150 off your trip! 7 days exploring a new land filled with seaside-mountain adventures, delicious food and warm hospitality… we are so stoked to finally be able to take our love of inspiring others and sharing our adventures to a whole new level! Will we be seeing you here?
Fun fact: Carpe Mundo was started by our AWESOME friend Mero, who we met on a college camping TRiP back in the day, actually it was THE camping trip Drew and I fell in love on 🙂 Here’s a pic of the three of us roasting mallows by an epic campfire: