Part 1 of 9
The Dales Way, located in northern England, crosses between West Yorkshire and Cumbria Counties. For almost 80 miles it winds its way along a river and through two stunningly beautiful national parks, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park. And my best pal Michelle and I plan to walk the whole thing.
You might wonder why we would choose to walk 80 miles (and a lot of it likely in the rain, too). Well, I fell in love with the Yorkshire countryside when my hubby and I walked two different lengths of the Dales Way last winter, and I was inspired to go back and walk the whole distance. Michelle got roped into this adventure because she and I had been planning a girls’ weekend for August (we try to have one such weekend getaway together each year). Somehow, though, two days in NYC at a 5-star hotel with mani-pedi’s, craft cocktails, and access to Uber, turned into 10 days in England with rain gear and backpacks…walking. I don’t pretend to know how this happened, but suffice it to say, I’m glad it did.
I have visited England many times, and Michelle and I have visited England together once before as well. It was 10 years ago when we split a week between the excitement and energy of London’s theaters and restaurants and the idyllic, fairy-tale thatched cottages of the Cotswolds. We enjoyed the tourist’s life. But this time will be different. This trip is not about seeing historic sites (though we may see some along the way), nor is it about getting through an itemized daily agenda. Instead, the walk is the trip. And unlike any vacation either of us has ever taken before, Michelle and I will be getting to know a place not through its tourist sites, but rather through its landscape, its weather, and the kindness of strangers (especially when we need to ask directions when we lose our way on the trail). We are consciously choosing to set off on this adventure being open to anything, and getting lost is at the top of the list, because what’s an adventure without a little surprise or two?
In total the trip will be 10 days in all, allowing two days for travel on either end and eight consecutive days for walking. We will fly from Boston, Massachusetts and arrive in the UK on Thursday morning, August 23, and begin our walk on Friday, August 24. Our only agenda is that we plan to walk an average of 10 miles per day. Most evenings we will stay at a different hotel, B&B, or inn. We have arranged to have our luggage transported via a travel service from hotel to hotel, so that all we will have to carry with us are our daypacks, which will be filled with essentials like water, chocolate, a good book, and an abundant supply of blister pads.
We’ve been preparing for this trip for a few months now, not only logging miles and breaking in our hiking boots, but also saving up on gossip, random ideas, questions, and complaints to ensure that we have something to talk about for 10 days. Though truth be told, we have never in 40+ years of friendship been at a loss for conversation, so I can’t imagine we’d start now.
I don’t know how this is going to pan out, but I can’t wait for us to get started. Thanks for joining us on our journey!
~Lisa and Michelle