Another day in Grasmere, another day in paradise. On many of the long-distance cycling or backpacking trips that I have done, rest days are often some of the most tiring. They represent a gap in a routine, that can be a good or a bad thing. Either way, they are not always as restful as they purport to be. There is, however, something truly wonderful about waking up and cooking leisurely because you know you don’t need to break down camp. That same feeling echoes at the end of the day when you return to camp with your tent set up and your bed already made. That might be my favorite thing about a good rest day.
Our rest day shared those wonderful qualities. We rolled out of bed knowing that we didn’t have to pack our bags or rush into breakfast. Afterwards, we planned out our day. The weather was perfect for a hike, so I wanted to hike. Being in Grasmere, one of the epicenters of William Wordsworth’s work, my Dad wanted to explore Wordsworth’s relationship with this area. In order to give my Dad’s feet a rest, we elected to part ways for the day. He went to Wordsworth’s sacred places around Grasmere, while I hiked through sections of Wordsworth’s favorite landscapes.
My goal was Easedale Tarn, a high mountain lake nestled beneath Tarn Crag. The most scenic way for me to get there was to retrace our path from yesterday up the ridge that we descended yesterday. At the top, I would climb upwards to Sergeant Man then drop onto a new ridge that would lead me down to Easedale Tarn. Plenty of mileage and plenty of elevation gain: my kind of day. And even though I was going back over familiar ground, it never feels the same from the opposite direction!
Under sunny skies dotted with the occasional cloud, I marched my way up the ridge and up Sergeant Man. Despite the weather, I was completely alone on the mountain. In fact, I did not see a single person for the first three hours of my hike. It was only until I began descending towards Easedale Tarn that I began to see a hiker or two on the hillside or ascending my trail. Instead of heading straight for the popular lake, I decided to go off route to a smaller, more secluded tarn just off the trail. My intuition paid off and I was totally alone for the next hour. As with all mountain lakes, swimming suits are optional and the water is freezing.
After drying off in the sun, I finally headed down to the main lake, which is understandably popular. The dark waters of Easedale Tarn reflect the rocky crags that surround it before tumbling down into the valley below. I was not alone at this lake, so I didn’t feel the need to spend as much time there. Happily, my path followed the river down into the valley below. As I walked down, I was confronted by the ridge that we had descended yesterday and that I had ascended today. It seemed far more rugged and imposing than it did as you were on it, especially its terminus at Helm Crag.
At this point, I had been in the sun for the whole day and I knew it was time to find some shade. I made a beeline for the base of the valley and found some shade as I wandered towards our B&B. Surprisingly, my Dad was still out gallivanting around Wordsworthian sites (so much for a rest day)! We went in to Greens Cafe for another stunning meal, walking back slowly to enjoy the last warm rays of the setting sun.
Note: Since my Dad and I explored different areas around Grasmere, our photos are quite different. Mine are alpine and mountainous, his are more wooded and historical. I’ve put a mixture below so you can get a good idea of what we both saw!