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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: Apr 9, 2019
Date: Mon, Apr 8th, 2019
Entry Visits: 839
Journal Visits: 5,085
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Wales Coastal Path
After skipping last year, here I am about to embark on yet another walkabout. I really enjoyed the three trails I did in 2017 so I looked for more opportunities in the UK and Ireland. Based on information I got from an Irish bartender at a pub near Paddington station in January of last year while waiting for a train, I first researched Ireland. I was told they have a trail down the Western coast but on further inspection it was really more of a car/bike path and had lots of road walking on some pretty dangerous coastal roads. Then I looked at Wales and found they have a coastal walking path all the way around the country and that's what I decided was my next adventure. The first photo is a screenshot from my Backcountry Navigator program showing the whole path. If you want to see a more detailed version, I'd suggest you go to Google maps where the trail is marked all the way around (I think). On Backcountry Navigator, I can zoom in to the fine detail that exists on one inch Ordinance Survey maps and I'll use this in place of paper maps to stay on track.
I will start this hike in Chester which is at the Northeast corner and finish in Chepstow at the Southeast corner. Including walking around the Isle of Anglesey in the northwest corner, in total the Welsh Coastal Path is 980 miles long. But I'm not planning to stop there. I'll cross the Severn River on the old motorway bridge and then follow the English coastline for about 120 miles to the seaside resort of Minehead. For those of you who read my 2017 journal, you might recall that is where I completed the South West Coastal Path. If all goes according to plan, then that will mean I will have walked a continuous path from Poole on the South coast to Chester in the northwest. Coupled with the Coast to Coast trail I also completed in 2017, that will mean I will be about halfway to circumnavigating England and Wales. Maybe that's a hint of future adventure since the authorities are supposedly opening the complete English Coastal Path in 2020.
But I haven't been getting lazy since the last home. I've had a number of big home projects that I've completed and I still take occasional half days off to walk around our local nature preserve. Recall from 2017, just as I was completing the South West Coastal, I met a another hiker going the counter clockwise direction who I discovered lived about a mile from my house in LA. Afterwards we met up and went on a couple of very interesting local day hikes in the San Gabriel mountains.
The first was Mt. Lowe, named after an eccentric but very wealthy professor who had this idea of building a hotel and lodge high up in the mountains to provide a retreat from the summer heat. He built the hotel on Echo Peak along with an electric powered railway up a very steep incline from Altadena. The lodge was built higher up on Mt Lowe and another railway section was constructed, also electric powered, to get patrons there from the hotel. All this was done in the 1880's and 1890's and it was a marvel of engineering in those days. Like many such ventures, it fell on hard times and was damaged from natural events and everything was eventually abandoned in 1938. But there were lots of places where relics from the railway, hotel and lodge were still very visible and now there are information signs all over the place explaining what used to be there. All very interesting and a nice hike with great views of the LA basin.
The second hike was to the Bridge To Nowhere, also the result of an ill-conceived plan. This was a project back in the 1930's to provide another road across the San Gabriel mountains along the east fork of the San Gabriel River. They built the road and at the top the river went through a deep slot canyon over which they built the bridge. The next step I think was to tunnel through the rest of the mountain and link up with the to-be-built road on the North side. Before that started, Southern California had a really wet winter, the river overflowed and the resulting torrent washed away most of the new roadway. At that point the project was abandoned but the bridge remained. The second picture shows the impressive bridge which I think is almost identical in design to the more famous and iconic Bixby Bridge on the scenic section of Pacific Coast Highway. Today the Bridge To Nowhere is just used for bungy jumping.
Most things will be the same for this Wales trip. I do have a new phone with a better battery and I also got an extra power pack so I'm hoping there will be less pressure on finding power outlets to recharge the phone whenever I stop. I also got a new air mattress as last time I was feeling cold on the very thin lightweight, half length one. This new one is full length and about two inches thick. It also comes with a "pump" - the carry bag connects to the valve and then you open the bag and then roll its top, pushing the air into the mattress. It takes only five "bagfulls" of air to inflate, a much better solution than me having to blow it up every night. It's a few ounces heavier but on my one night trial I could tell it will be a lot warmer.
I leave on 8th April and hope to start the next day if the transportation plans all work out. I hope you enjoy the journal.
Hiking the Wales Coastal Path and short connection to South West Coastal Path.