The trail out of the Glendalough valley follows up the rapid flowing Lugduff Brook passed the Poulanass water fall. We walked up the steep Derrybawn Mountain to climb the Lugduff Gap at Mullacar Hill. Our walk took us up 400 meters (more than 1200 feet). The scenery continues to surprise and delight us. Magnificent forests, sweeping hills of green luxurious grass. At one point of few of our pilgrims broke into "The Hills are Alive," from the movie, Sound of Music. It was a cute moment to lighten the load of the day.
The weather has been strikingly unusual for Ireland. Each day more so. The sun shone brilliantly without a cloud in the sky for the entire walk. Fortunately, we walked under the shade of the forest and a breeze seemed to always arise at the most needed moment. The forecast for the next few days is equally sunny, possibly rising to 70 degrees, which here can be warm when carrying a pack.
The weight of the pack is an issue when walking up and down the Wicklow Mountains. I made several decisions about what not to bring based on how many ounces it weighed. Even the slightest increase or decrease in what you carry on your back makes a big difference. Every pound in the pack increases the pounding on the knees and feet by about 7 pounds.
The same can be said about the amount of burden we carry. The more intense the situation, the heavier the grief, the greater the concern, the more pounding our soul takes. Walking pilgrimage grants us the privilege and the challenge of thinking about burdens over the long trail of the daily walk, day after day, step after step. The hope is that at some point along the way we will decide to set down as much weight as possible. Deciding what are the things we can really make a difference about—and letting go of those we have no control over. This kind of work is one of the reasons we choose to walk the way of the pilgrim.
We have now reached the halfway point in the Wicklow Way. But, the walk is not downhill from here. Tomorrow holds another 15 mile day beginning with another steep climb. Every day we begin again, on pilgrimage and in life.