Reflecting on my time hiking in Snowdonia National Park, Wales
Cities explode with commercialism, consumerism, and any other man-made industries you can think of. While living in the midst of an industrial landscape, one can easily feel detached from the natural world. In order to satisfy the craving for unpolluted air, calming silence, and rich natural landscapes, it is essential to venture away from the city once in a while and reconnect with mother nature.
Being someone who spent most of my life in the lovely Boylston, Massachusetts, AKA the middle of the woods, I get this urge to immerse myself in natural areas of the world that are untouched by man-kind. Granted, places that remain completely pure and free from the influence of humans are scarce, especially near London, but I’ve done my best to spend some time in relatively natural areas.
A few weekends ago I visited Richmond Park, which nicely fulfilled my desire to breathe fresh air and hug some trees. On the way to the park, I walked past Terrence Gardens, which was such a beautiful sight that I wrote about the scene in my journal (if you can call my illegible scribbles on random loose-leaf paper a “journal”).
11 AM at the top of Terrence Gardens, and my view literally looks like a painting. The scene is incredibly silent and motionless with the exception of a few pedestrians and dog-walkers in the distance. But despite the heavy stillness, the light autumn wind breathes life and energy into the moment. On the horizon, pale silhouettes of distant towns and layers of colorful trees mingle with the misty blanket of clouds, creating a sense of eerie romanticism.
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to reunite with nature again in the northern countryside of Wales and hike the country’s tallest mountain, Mount Snowdon. This experience was a blessing to my body and to my mind, as I was able to combine the challenging act of hiking for six hours with the exquisite beauty of my surroundings.
The journey consisted of walking through a dense forest, strolling along a few dusty dirt paths, clambering over steep areas of unsteady rocks, and constantly admiring the picturesque hills, lakes, and towns in the distance. The temperature dropped significantly as we climbed higher up the mountain, and the misty fog of the low-set clouds swallowed up any views of the distant landscape once we reached the summit.
But the overwhelming cloudiness made the experience feel surreal; after climbing for so long to reach the top of this massive mountain, you look out only to see a vast nothingness. Despite the emptiness that you see, the silence of the space around the summit forces you to feel the thrill of the high altitude and the beauty of the isolation.
While the summit itself fell victim to the chilly fog, the majority of the hike provided amazing views. The frequent passing of adorable steam trains, the little stone bridges, and the sheep and horses grazing peacefully gave the sense that we were walking through an old folktale. The fresh air was untouched by any major forms of pollution and had that pure, clean smell of wilderness that made the hike more fulfilling.
The wonderful combination of physically conquering the mountain and enjoying the stunning scenery made the weekend in Wales an incredible opportunity to immerse myself in the purity of the nature. While I actually love living in the excitement of London, I do find myself missing the simplicity and the peacefulness of spending time in nature.
Luckily for me, London is one of the world’s greenest cities, and hosts numerous parks and spaces of natural relaxation. I definitely plan on exploring more of the city’s green areas, but visiting both Richmond Park and hiking in Wales made a nice start to my search for nature while living in London.