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Hiking and Hacking


I’m currently 30k into my memoir, so all my creative energy is either going toward that or into watercolor painting. It leaves little time/focus to update the blog, so forgive the sparsity of posts.

Every week, I go for a hike (or as they say in England: walk) in the Lake District. It’s magnificent. I don’t have the talent to describe such beauty, but I try to in my book anyway. I’m mostly following a small book I got called Walks to Waterfalls, part of the Lake District’s Top 10 Walks series. It’s a handy little book, sturdy and compact to take along on the walks. The directions are pretty accurate, and if I can follow them, anyone can. 

Since my riding skill has increased, my instructor says I’m progressing faster than anyone else at the school, I went on my first “hack” in Cumbria two weeks ago. It was the realization of a dream. Below is me with Ula, the pony I rode during the two-hour hack.

We walked, trotted, and even cantered across the fields of “this seat of majesty.” It is another “eden” to be sure. The joy England brings me wells up in my soul and escapes through my eyes in the form of tears. Rolling hills, sheep scattered across the fields, crags and fells in the distance, and a perfectly cool spring day made my first hack perfect. The woman who went on the same hack said, “It makes you glad to be alive.”

It really does.

Last week, I went for a “walk” up Helm Crag, pictured left. It was supposed to be a 4.5-hr hike (not in my waterfall book) “crag-hopping” from Helm Crag to others around it before descending back down to Grasmere. Sadly, I misunderstood that heading up, thinking Helm Crag was the solitary destination, so I wasn’t prepared on many levels.

At the top of Helm Crag, I sat overlooking Grasmere, both the village and the lake (below), had lunch, and attempted a watercolor painting, just like Beatrix Potter (without the skill). Attempted because it was shit. Still learning how to do it. For those who know my art, I normally work in acrylic. Watercolor is a different medium all together.

I’ll post some of my watercolor postcards soon, where I try different techniques and develop my skill/find my style. Much like my acrylics, I tend to get too detailed.

Working on it.

Although I was rather hard on myself for turning around for the most direct route back to town (utterly exhausted), I did find enough energy to visit Allan Bank, one of Wordsworth’s homes in Grasmere. It’s just a few miles from Dove Cottage, another of his homes. There I had a bowl of soup while reading his poetry. Quite a nice rest.

A month ago daffodils were everywhere, but they’ve all faded now, giving way to carpets of bluebells (below) between the trees and in the fields. England does wildflowers right, especially in Cumbria.


Afterward I treated myself to some of the amazing, world-famous Grasmere Gingerbread.

Best. Ever. In the entire history of gingerbread. I thought I had done so well with the soup, instead of something heavier, but I ended up eating SIX PIECES of gingerbread before I got home. My body was screaming for calories after my exertion, and I obliged.



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