Pen Y Pass Hostel Life

Kelsey Breseman
3 min readMay 20, 2023

Tonight is the last of our six nights at the Pen Y Pass Youth Hostel. It's nice to have a long stay in the middle of a trip, enough time to settle in. We've grown so used to our little room that it's almost strange that we're leaving in the morning.

We've become the denizens of a passing-through place. We know our way around the self-catering kitchen, which knives are least dull, where the graters are kept. I talk somebody through the finicky wifi at a communal dining table.

The local fauna, too, have grown familiar. In the early morning, the knocking sound at the window is a crow that pecks the windowpanes. Eileen has developed an attachment to a particular lamb and its mother ewe that graze and nap outside our window each day.

Pen Y Pass has also been a superb base of operations. It's central, a de facto transit hub, and a high point with many trails leading out.

When Eileen takes a rest day, I tackle the Glyder Traverse: stunning, rocky, and steep. There is scree and scrambling. I help two different people who have gotten turned around find their way. I overdo it myself: my body is strong, but I allow myself to be tempted by one more thing, and one more thing, ultimately returning after seven hours, red-faced and with no food or water left over. Luckily, I did plan ahead enough to have a gentle route down.

We have seen rescue helicopters overhead every day, including one right in front of us. A woman took a tumble down a waterfall before we arrived and injured her…