Facing new and old Ghosts

Posted by Fabio on Aug 17, 2009 in Cronicle, Journey, Reflections

The say goes that the journey is more important than the destination. Well if that is the case, this project fits really well. In fact well into day two, we decided to call it a day.

As I say this, I’m doing my best to hold on to what this short journey represented to me personally.

It has been a great exercise facing new and old personal ghosts.

Just few months ago I set out to prepare for this journey with the intention of sharing an adventure with Matthew, my soon to be teenage son. The surprise was that along I found the teenager still lingering in me.

On the first evening of phase 2 we pitched the tent in a proper campsite at Lock Key lake resort. There Matthew and I set down our reasons and objectives. Strong of the lessons learned the previous week I gave him the opportunity to call the shots.

I explained to him what my reasons are for keep moving forward on this journey even without the horses. And I explained to him that I was happy to stop there and enjoy few days in the resort making friends with the other campers, if he choose to do so (in all truth my right knee have been troubling me again in last few days and I was ready to face the next four days walking with an elastic knee support, kind of foolish really 😕 I know better and I was kind of hoping for a bit of rest).

Right then I understood that Matthew wanted to keep going more for me than for the desire of adventure, the horses represented his motivation and not having Cara along with us was a real let down (On a different note is probably for the better the kind of terrain I’ve been enduring the previous week is more suitable to cobs and Connemara than Thoroughbred/Swedish warm-bloods like Cara). I have to bow to Matthew and I am really proud of his bravery to hold fast on my account.

So the day after we packed up our stuff and set out on our way. In my mind I know that Matthew is capable to overcome a lot of difficulties with just a gentle push. I also know how hard and uncomfortable is to carry a backpack that does not fit well and his pack was not the best fit at all. We tried a number of different permutations, using wool socks as padding for the shoulders. The bigger problem was the back frame. It did not hold the shape and continuously bent outward pressing on Matthew’s mid back.

After moving along most of the day we arrived to a point not far from Keadew where I had to give Matthew an out. I explained to him that he could still decide to stop there and that we could do other things together. He didn’t have to hold fast in account of my thirst for adventure, after all I already had my share the week before(Sure I got so addicted to it that I was becoming foolish enough to walk along with a busted knee).

Eventually I was convincing enough and we decided to call Mummy to rescue.

[singlepic id=48 w=320 h=240 float=left]There is were the Ghosts started to surface. I knew they were there waiting for the right moment, they had been lingering for the past few days biting at my new found confidence. We arrived home Matthew went to his friend to tell the story, Rachel went to tend Cara at the stables and the Ghosts of past, present and future started to show up one at the time just like in Ebenezer Scrooge’s story…. 😯 (to be continued)

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The show must go on..

Posted by Fabio on Aug 10, 2009 in Advenure, Cronicle, Journey, Planning

Phase one of the Father & Son Project has been a true adventure of exploration. Few kilometers into the journey I discovered that no horse could have gone trough it. The main problems I found have been simple obstacles that go from crossing over some sort of fixed fencing to ground so bogy that would not hold my weight let alone the weight of a horse.

I’m in the process of adding a detailed account of the journey including difficulties to expect and gear to bring along if you decide to walk the trails.

Despite all these obstacles, I also learned what roads a horse can trade without the risk of intense traffic or the problematic barrier of land boundaries. I also learned that there are a lot of very kind people are ready to help if I find the courage to ask. In many ways as they say is not so much the destination that counts as the journey to get there.

To add to that Cara has been lame for the past week and while she is now on the way of recovery, is not wise to bring her along for phase two. By now I learned not to despair, like I did the first time I found an obstacle on the way, or the day I reached Drumkeeran soaked to the bone and no place or strength to pitch a tent. Problem will always be there weather or not is an adventure or everyday life. Along this journey I discovered that is all about discovering how what I see is a problem and recognise the alternatives available to move forward, wherever forward is.

This project was not about horses, even if the idea of travelling on horse back is still very much alive for both of us. I asked Matthew how he felt about continuing the journey on foot and maybe complete the full round from where I started.

He agreed and we decided that we will start exactly from where I left it on Wednesday, Boyle. From there we will follow the Historical Trail around Lough Key to Keadew, then deviate on to the Miners Way till it joins back with the Leitrim Way to reach Drumshambo. On day 3 we will walk all the way along the other side of Lough Allen till we reach Dowra. From Dowra we will close the Sli Leitrim loop and re-join the path that bring us back to Manor Hamilton.

In this way we will both face a completely new trail and with it a new set of challenges. We will not have horses with us but we still share a great adventure.

Before I close this post I also want to thank everyone that contributed so generously to Goal the latest count was at 770 Euro, far beyond what I had imagined and I hope it will keep rising in the next few days :-).

Thank you all very much.

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Ireland seen on foot…

Posted by Fabio on Aug 9, 2009 in Advenure, Cronicle, Milestones, Reflections

When I see Ireland Post cards I always wonder where such wonderful places are. Only now, after this short journey, I realised that to see the real beauty of Ireland you need to leave the main roads and venture along the most impervious bog-lands Sli (ways). Here some of the picture that I feel best represents the places I’ve walked trough.

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People Kindness…

Posted by Fabio on Aug 6, 2009 in Cronicle, Journey, Kindness

There are few people I really would like to thanks: First of all Paddy Walsh, for  being the first person stopping by and talking to me while I was resting at the little Church over the Arigna River.[singlepic id=13 w=240 h=160 float=right]

I want to thanks the Lorna Gralton of Ballyfarnon House for interceding with her neighbour Joe to let me pitch my tent in his garden, and of course thanks goes also to Joe a very kind old man.

[singlepic id=12 w=240 h=160 float=left]A special tanks goes to Anthony and Mauruna Healy, not only for giving me the opportunity to pitch my tent in the most beautiful spot I could ever imagine, but also for sharing a pleasant evening and a very welcomed cup of strong Irish tea :-).[singlepic id=11 w=240 h=160 float=right]

Thanks you all very much for your kindness.



What would you do if this stands in your path?…

Posted by Fabio on Aug 6, 2009 in Advenure, Cronicle, Journey, Milestones

[singlepic id=9 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left]Beyond those step is the last boggy field before the final 2 km stretch of walk to Boyle. Behind me 3 km of squashy and soggy moss, overgrown bramble bushes and dark forest trails. After 4 days of facing such kind of dilemmas, I stopped getting worried about it and made a quick assessment.

I stepped on the top of the ladder I could se no bull; but I know how deceiving this high fields can be, it is probably grazing bang on in front of the exit point. There is no visible post to guide the correct direction, with 12 kg on my shoulder in such tricky boggy ground, going downhill and with my dog sky along I don’t stand many chances to outrun a bull.

There was no way I was going to walk back this trail. I looked at the map to take my bearing a road should be just down the hill on my left. I followed the boundary and eventually found the exit, to the road and back few minutes after I was back on the trail with the Bull treat on my back.

It has been and incredible 4 days and I’ve just realized that I will have to do some work to tell the story on this blog so hang on you will hear all about it and see the fantastic landscapes of Ireland in the next few days.

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Posted by Fabio on Jul 31, 2009 in Advenure, Cronicle, Milestones

Finally here we are. In few hours I’ll be on my way for Phase 1 of the Father & Son project. For 2009 the journey has changed a lot, the original spirit has remained the same and was the driver of all the changes. The journey is divided in two phases.

The plan is to divide the journey in 2 phases:

Phase 1 will involve me and my lovely dog sky walk along 120 odd kilometers of the decided route.  During this phase I’m looking for key stop areas as well as places where I can leave the horse food along the way.

Phase 2 will involve Matthew riding cara and me walking the whole 120 km route again.

  • The route I’m planning to follow will see us leave from Manor Hamilton along the Leitrim Way up to Doo Lough at 371 M and down to Drumkeeran for a total of 35 KM.
  • Day 2 will see us embrace the miners way and reach Ballyfarnon 25 km away.
  • On day 3 wil start alon the Historical trail for a short 15 km to Castel Baldwing, there are a lot beautiful areas that I’m planning to explore on the way so I kept the total day mileage short.
  • Day 4 will keep on the Historical Trail for 19 km till we reach Boyle.
  • Day 5 will start along Lough key with the plan to return to Ballyfarnon and close the Historical trail Loop . the Option here is to deviate onto the Miners way to close the loop to Seltannaskeag.

By the end of the journey Matthew and Cara will have walked over 120 Km. And I would probably be close to 240.

I will not bring with me the computer so I will not be able to keep a day to day up to date of the journey. But I will have a 2 days between Phase 1 and Phase 2, I will make an effort to publish a short update then.

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Last few preparations for the Journey

Posted by Fabio on Jul 15, 2009 in Cronicle, Planning

The last 2 weeks I’ve been quite busy, a lot of the equipment for the journey have arrived and I’m now testing weight distribution and what to bring along with me. The last very important component that is remaining to figure out is the kind of food to bring along. There will be a good opportunity to do buy food in local shops, fruit and vegetables still I’m wold be more conformable knowing that I do have a certain amount of high energy food.

At the moment I’m exploring a number of whole grains bars and packaged Miso soups they are all very light in weight and will provide a a ready available energy in a compact  size.

A certain sense of excitement is surfacing and all of a sudden it feels like I don’ t have enough time to be ready at all.  Well I guess this is the feeling of adventure I always been seeking for.

I still have not made up my mind fully on the path to take. There are a number of consideration to be made about rigorously journeying along the dismantled North Western railway. At time it takes very long winded deviations away from a more attractive direct route. I guess I will have to make the decision were it is possible to follow smaller roads and walkways. It is all part of the unknown. and in some way I’m glad I’m going ahead surveying the ground It will make it easier when Matthew will join.

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Lead the way…

Posted by Fabio on Jul 1, 2009 in Cronicle, Planning

Wow!! it has been so long since my last update, Irish summer is really amazing, I know many people might not agree with me on this. Just think about it we have such long bright days that span from 4:30 in the morning to 11 in the evening, the temperature is swinging between 16 and 24 degrees at best and the more than occasional light rain keeps the country green and luscious. It is great to be out, and the time goes by so quickly…

I’m just back from Italy, my little brother finally got married, and in the few days I was there I got torrid sticky heat with daily thunderstorms that made the air heavy and stuffy, we almost got caught by one of them, and the boys were so surprised by the water downpour that you swear they never saw rain before.

Every time I go back to Italy I’m punctually reminded why I love Ireland so much…

Aside from the weather let me update you on the project status.

This has been the more tortuous project I’ve ever had to face, but I can certainly say I’ve got what I asked for. So the goal has changed a bit, the Journey will be only about a week, so I’m about to nail down where to start and finish, and my gut say that I should start at Malin Head none the less and wind down to Sligo.

Seen that I will not need that much free time for the journey  I decided that while Matthew is enjoying his well deserved holiday in Italy I will go and survey the path on foot to start with so that when it come down to ride it we will know exactly where to go.

I’m prepping for this little hike, walking will also allow me to time how far we can go in a week. Going solo with my dog Sky a rucksack and a tent will somewhat appease my thirst for adventure. I guess is a way for me to lead the way in the best way I know, just do it !!

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Testing Edges…

Posted by Fabio on May 19, 2009 in Cronicle, Milestones, Reflections

[singlepic id=8 w=320 h=240 float=left]It has now been a couple of weeks that I haven’t posted any update here. It is now time to face reality. A while back Rachel asked me to reconsider the journey for a number of reasons, my reaction was somewhat  that of disappointed, I was really looking forward to the adventure. And I was really counting on everyone in the family being bought into the idea. Adventure is all about crossing over into the unknown and experience discovery. Planning is a very small part of it too much planning for me would kill the entire experience. But when Matthew expressed that maybe it would be better to start with something smaller this year maybe a week treck just to see what it would feel like it.That took me aback. I literally frozen, at first I felt betrayed, then I started to realize that really the whole project was for the both of us to share a sense of partnership. I had considered the possibility not to complete the journey, that is a prerogative of the unknown, and I was prepare to keep my mind open and avoid being stubborn. I did not conteplate the possibility the journey wouldn’t even start. I really jearn that feeling of adventure.

It is now two weeks since then and I can’t still describe accurately what is going on inside me. Yes I for me is all about understand emotions, is the critical foundation of who I am. this journey for me is a mixture between my yearning for adventure, sharing a meaningfull experience with Matthew, and yes in part was also a way to get the attention I crave.

So today is time to take stock of that eat a little humble pie and admit that to myself. Yes because is not all there. After I sort of accepted the change in program something else started to surface. How am I going to deal with the fact I have been talking to everyone about this? what would they think of me? They will all believe that I’m backing out of this… and bla bla bla!!!

It is quite an irony to think that I was going to show my son what adventure is all about. really he showed me what purity of spirit is all about. two days ago while I was still grovelling about writing this post I heard him talking to my parents over skype and just plainly and unreservedly say : “by the way you know we are not going to do the full journey but just a week!”. what stroke me was his matter of fact attitude to it. I’m still worrying about it but he just accepted the situation as it is.

I’m so proud of Matthew, he showed me how to be honest with myself and simply accept that is ok to change your mind. Thank you Matt

To recall the words of Dewitt Jones “its on the edges that we find the winds that take us higher” this week Matthew helped me test my own internal edge face the truth I so often hide under excuses and justifications and admit to myself that I migth not be afraid of danger but I’m surely, still afraid of judgment.

Where to now? when I superimposed Westrack 2009 over the logo, I asked myself  “do you men would there be a 2010? “And why not, maybe that is exactly what is all supposed to be. Maybe this is a never ending journey looking for a new edge to test in search for the currents that take us higher 🙂

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A journey of the mind

Posted by Fabio on May 5, 2009 in Cronicle, Reflections

[singlepic id=3 w=320 h=240 float=left]As the progress of the journey have come to a very slow pace, I started wondering what can I do in the mean while to build a connection with both boys. So I thought that maybe small little adventures in the discovery of Ireland would be a good way to start. The past week end we travelled to the Giant Causeways, it was a slow start but we eventually got there and it was phenomenal the energy and enthusiasm they developed as they discovered this new place full of unusual rock formations. Both Matt and Rory are very fond of rocks and at some stage I was expecting them to want to bring back a memento, like a full hexagonal rock. I got away with a couple of collector crystals from the souvenir shops. It was a great day we had fun we took lots of interesting pictures, it was a mini adventure maybe not a unique one but still important. After that I started wandering who I’m really doing this journey for. The answer come strait out, yes west track is really for me and that is ok. I know that Matthew looks forward to it too so that makes it even better.

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