After an overnight in Tralee, Ireland, my husband and I planned to head out bright and early for a full-day trip around the Dingle Peninsula. Our innkeeper recommended that we take Conor Pass over the mountains to the town of Dingle. We were warned that the Pass is very narrow, winding, and sometimes treacherous, but (on a clear day) the spectacular views are worth it.
As we traveled along the Irish coast south of Tralee, we were hopeful as the visibility was good below the low cloud cover. We hoped that the clouds would lift or blow past by the time we reached the top of the Pass or that the cloud bank was just low on the north side of the mountains.
We were not so lucky. We drove into the clouds, literally, on a narrow, winding, and sometimes treacherous road. The closer we were to the top, the steeper both sides of the road became.
Even without the benefit of the view, our innkeeper had also mentioned a waterfall near the top of the Pass. The misty clouds hugging the purple and grey rocks obscured much, so we were fortunate that we didn’t miss the roadside waterfall. We parked our car in the small lot and stepped out into a lonely, foreign landscape.
What might have been an ordinary mountainside on any other day was transformed by the thick fog. Despite the half-dozen other visitors, the mountainside seemed a quiet, forlorn place.
Continuing on, we arrived at the top of the Pass and pulled our car into the viewpoint’s car park. We were at the summit of the highest mountain pass in Ireland, but the fog was as thick as ever. What we should have seen at this point was a green, rock strewn valley with a smattering of lakes and steep, stacked mountains stretching all the way to the North Atlantic. (If you’d like to see what the view on a clear day looks like, check out this beautiful photograph. If you do, be sure to check out the full-sized image).
I find that trips seldom go exactly as planned, so it’s best to keep expectations in check and to enjoy the unfolding experience as best you can. Sometimes the expected would have been great, but the actual is worthy of appreciation, whatever that actual might be.