Hiking on a Good Friday

28 04 2012

Most of the times, weather is gloomy on such a day. Either cloudy or rainy, the weather emits sadness. I remember my mother always said, ”it’s always raining on Good Fridays. It’s because Jesus was crucified on that day and the sky is weeping…!”
When I woke up on that Good Friday, I got out from the caravan and took a slow 360deg round turn trying to give a long and detailed inspection of the morning sky and to assess the possibilities for a rain later that day.
Rain appeared to be somewhere near, but it was definitely not its time yet. Few scattered clouds on the horizon on the south west, with a few shades of grey on them, were holding the possibility of keeping the rainy-Good-Fridays tradition rather high.

”M” was still finding it rather hard to abdicate the coziness of the morning bed and kept on lying, wandering between sleep and consciousness.

Traditionally, it is said that no works must be undertaken on Good Fridays so we had no plans made for the day, so “M” had all the time in the world to waste.

I sneaked back into the caravan and got a coffee pot out. I made myself a cup of coffee and sat under the plane trees, staring at the seaside.
A cool breeze was blowing down from the mountains and towards the deep sea. I turned and look towards the mountains….. I sensed like something beyond the nearby slopes was broadcasting some really inviting vibes towards me. Instantly, the picture of ribbon-snowy Dirfys we had seen one day before while passing by on our way towards our caravan, haunted my morning thoughts. I had to go today.

“M” popped out of the caravan. She was in a good mood. She could tell that I was a bit restless and that I had a weary mind, but she wasn’t able to say what exactly was bugging me. I decided not to waste time and revealed my thoughts.
“I am thinking about climbing Dirfys. Would you care to come along?”
We had her young niece visiting for Easter and “M” didn’t feel good about leaving her alone. “I don’t think I can, …but you go on!!! By all means, …Go!
We’ll be ok, we’ll spent some quality time together with “K””, “M” said.
“Are you sure?” I grumbled.
“Look at it this way”, “M” replied, “if you don’t go now, we will all feel bad”

These words sounded pretty enigmatic too me, but “M”’s joyful smile left no space for further hesitations or persuasive arguments. I got my backpack ready, put my boots on, kissed “M” goodbye and hit the road…..

Driving my way towards the start of the trail, I could feel a feverish impatience growing inside of me making me anxious for the moment I could throw myself back amongst the travelling clouds and away from noisy crowded places. Despite it was Good Friday and the skies were supposed to weep on such a day, that particular moment, I could say that they were smiling bright to me.

After a few minutes’ drive, there I was. I was planning to drive as close as possible to the climbing part of the trail, but at some point the snow on the road was still so thick that I eventually parked the car half kilometer before I manage to reach there.

The wind had picked up by the time I reached the start of the trail. It appeared that the sunny days and the southerly winds had melted the snow away at this place near the foothills. It also became apparent , that it wasn’t expected that I would encounter any more snowy terrains, at least not earlier than halfway before the mountain-top. I made a short stop, put my wind-proof jacket on and started my ascent.

I knew that the trail was steep and since the weather felt like raining later on, I was planning to make no rest stops. I decided to take it slow on the beginning and soonest I would find a common rhythm between my strides and my breathing, to pick up the pace.

I had already made it nearly half way and still there was no snow in sight. At least, there wasn’t any near the areas that I had passed by and neither on the area that the trail was heading further on.

The wind was blowing sideways and had grown stronger. Wasn’t sure whether having to walk on snow would be any better than this manic wind blowing, in case I could somehow trade one for another, but decided to take it as it comes and to maintain a high spirit.

So I kept on walking towards higher and higher grounds.

A while after, while I had reached at one of the steepest parts of the trail and had apparently passed the clouds altitude, a fast moving cloud rushed upon me and turned my visibility to nearly zero. At the same instance, a gasp of really strong wind started blowing furiously…..
I threw myself on the ground and decided to wait for the cloud to clear.

When I reached near the southeast ridge, short before the first twin-peak, I noticed that the clouds had now become darker and they were much closer than before. They were undoubtedly heading towards my way. I had to rush!

The moment I reached the first twin-peak of the mountain top, I realized that it would be better to content myself with what I’ve made that far and head my way downwards. The dark clouds had arrived eventually and depending on their formations, they were either covering everything away or they were allowing visibility just for  a couple of meters ahead only.
While still standing there, on the mountain top, few meters lower than the highest peak of Evia’s island (this is the second twin-peak of Mount Dirfys, 1,743mts), remembered the words that I had once read in one interview of the first Greek team leader that had ever made it to Everest.

“The truth is that when you make it to the mountain top, you can’t enjoy it that much; the whole attempt is not completed yet. Mountain top is optional, but descent is compulsory”.

Having no time to waste, I started my descent. Trying to walk as fast as I could and cautiously at the same time I was soon found at the leeward side of the mountain. It was a great relief to have my head quiet down a bit, away from the whistling winds.
I could now even smell the wet soil and the rain. It was raining somewhere close.
When I made it down on the dirt road, I turned to take a last close look of the mountain.
The mountain wasn’t there anymore. It had disappeared in clouds.

The moment I got back into the car and started the engine, the first raindrops landed on the windshield. Few moments later the rain started….

The tradition of rainy-Good-Fridays was once more kept alive. Μy mother was proved to be right after all…..!





One response

2 05 2012

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