I’d be lying if I said I could remember of the village without writing it down. Welsh is like that; intimidating to read, nearly impossible to speak but an important part of any visit to the countryside. That morning I wrote down Betws-y-Coed, the small village that is one of the most popular entry points into one of the great Welsh natural treasures, Snowdonia National Park.
If you love the outdoors then Snowdonia is for you, from mountaineering to hiking and trekking there’s something for just about any nature lover. On that chilly March morning though I was there for just one thing, to mountain bike through the Tolkienesque Gwydir Forest.
I like biking but I wouldn’t say I’m a biker per se and I definitely wouldn’t call myself a mountain biker. Even with this relative lack of experience though I was excited. I’d seen photos of Snowdonia for years and to finally experience its legendary beauty had planted a broad smile firmly on my face.
Leading us through our elven forest adventures was a local bike company, Biecs Bewys, as Welsh sounding as the village it calls home. I don’t mind biking but I also didn’t want an all day adventure, so the gentle, ten kilometer mountain trail was the perfect option for me.
What struck me most not just on that morning but my entire trip through Wales was just how green everything is. I don’t speak Welsh, but I have to believe there exists as many words for green as the Inuits have for snow. Every shade and hue were present, making it seem like I was biking thought a fairy tale.
The ride was a good one, if not a little challenging in parts and true to Welsh weather, we experienced everything from rain to sleet and bright sunshine. That’s the thing about weather in this part of the country, it changes frequently and without warning.
Completing the loop through the forest, past lakes and within sight of mountains I skidded to a stop back in the cobbled village of Bewys-y-Coed. I was a little warier than when I started, but no less happy for spending a morning I will always remember biking through Snowdonia.