This is part of a phrase I taught my boy scouts over the years.
When my oldest son was ten, he decided to quit karate. He immediately turned to computer games and television shows. A week turned into a month and he showed no interest in any other physical activity so I pulled the ‘bad mom’ card and strong-armed him into something else. Strong-arming did not involve guilt. My sons are both half Italian and I believe they were born immune from any and all guilt, which was an adjustment for me. I was raised by a mother who used guilt like a finely-tuned instrument, always the right degree for the right moment. She could have me at defiant quiver in two seconds flat.
No, for the oldest I resorted immediately to blackmail and it worked. He announced he would be attending a boy scout meeting with a friend. It went well. Every week he went and he was learning manly skills – knots and lashing, cooking and fire. Then came the first camp-out.
Now, my kid had never been camping. I had, but not in about twenty years, so I wasn’t a lot of help. Off he went with his leaders who let him pitch his tent in a gully. It rained. Then, it rained some more and got cold. My kid was in the tent where the river ran through it and came home Sunday a shivering, miserable mess. His leaders felt it would be a good lesson for him. My son thought it was a good reason to never go camping again. But I could see that he liked it, and he liked himself doing it, so I said to him, “If I go camping with you, will you go camping again?”
The guys who were the leaders didn’t know what to make of me, but over time, they got used to the idea, and I got really good at camping. Eventually I took over as the leader of the troop. For anyone who has done this kind of activity, you will recall the motto, “Be Prepared…” which is my long-winded way of saying once I figure out where I’m going, I start to do research… lots of research.
The corollary of ‘Be Prepared?’ If you don’t know a knot, knot a lot! There are some things you just can’t anticipate. If you think that this unknown could be a big thing (like the availability of water that won’t leave you with some kind of intestinal distress), then assume the worst and double-down!
Since I’ve landed on Dingle, and I found there was a trail designated as part of Ireland’s National Waymarked Trail system (http://www.irishtrails.ie/National_Waymarked_Trails/), I had a good starting spot.
For over a week I perused the site. From a planning perspective, this site is one of the best I’ve run across. Each of the trails is placed on an interactive map. You click the trail name and you are pulled to a page that is loaded with information specific to the walk you are planning. There is a description of length, elevation, and where to start and stop. There is a general description of the walk, and links to maps and reviews by other hikers. You are provided the name and link of the organization that is maintaining the trail. There is also a book that was written and published by a woman who did the walk in 2009 called The Dingle Way.
Fire up the internet and put my money down? You bet! And well worth the dollars it was (the price is listed in Euro, of course).
What’s more, the book is laminated so I can carry it with me (yes, extra weight) and not worry about it falling apart, because according to my weather app, which now shows Dingle, it’s been raining there every day for the past three weeks.
Yup – Dingle and I were destined.