A “Dark” lady

4 07 2012

During most of the daytime, her “face” is dark. Even the hours that the sun eventually manages to shed some light, her steep cliffy face maintains her character impervious to the eyes of the naive visitor.
It was, perhaps, the stiffness of her rocky face and not her orientation which keeps the sun beams off her facade, that made the locals name her by that strange and occult name for a mountain, Dark Lady (Skotini).

Wasn’t much in a mood for spending the day at the beach and it didn’t make much of a difference to me whether  the sun was so freaking hot or that the sea felt so inviting on that warm June morning, couple of weeks ago. We had plenty of friends visiting for the weekend and it had started feeling like too much of a crowd for me. I decided to take the fastest wayout and escape towards higher grounds. “M” decided to stay back and let me relax on my own.

Hadn’t made up my mind of a place to go, so I drove around for a while. Few days ago, had come across an article by SPELEO (Greek Speleological Exploratory Club) describing the variety of caves, sinkoholes and springs found and explored in the wider zone of Skotini (http://www.speleo.gr/gr/arxeio/arx_mavrobouni_eub.htm). Had always been fascinated by her looks and having been astonished by that article, I got the push i needed so that I eventually decide to pay her a visit. Of course, I wasn’t planning to dive into any sinkholes myself, like the guys from SPELEO did, I just intended to get a general view of the area and practically have a quiet stroll.

After wandering for a while in my car, I decided to park and start my walk. I followed a dirt road that was heading uphill and into the woods. There was a small breeze blowing and that kept the temperature within pleasant levels for hiking.
I had no maps of the area nor a GPS with me, so I had to take my best guess and hope that the route I would chose would eventually be the one that would get me closer to Skotini’s summit.

Contrary to other hiking sites, this one was completely signless, so I went on counting basically on my orientation skills.

I turned back and looked towards my starting point. I stared for a while at the beach and our crowded caravan camping site. I paused my mind for a while enjoying the silence.

I was less than than 20 minutes drive away, but it seemed like I was transferred in a completely different time and place. I wished “M” was also there with me. She would certainly enjoyed it too.

I moved on and after about an hour hike I reached underneath Skotini’s summit.

There were plenty of trails carved on the mountain, mainly by goat herds. I followed the one that was most visible on the mountain slope but soon, as expected,  it got me to a point that only goats could cross.
There appeared to be no easy access from the northern side of the mountain. In case I wished to climb to the top, I would certainly have to try it from its southwestern side. Going around was a rather long way and my stomach had already started whining.  I sat down for a while and enjoyed the view.

On the way back, I decided to take my time and wandered a bit more noticing the wide flora variety. Amongst others, there was plenty of mountain-tea, oregano and thyme plants,  St. John’s worts and wild strawberry bushes. I even came across some mushrooms colony, which was a rather unusual finding for this time of year.

Soon enough, I distinguished my car parked a bit further down the road and realized that my stroll was just about to come to its end. I was feeling full of wonderful views and admiration for the wonders that the Dark lady had revealed to me that day.
Trying to pull my mind together, I climbed in and drove off.  I just couldn’t wait to tell “M” which our next summit-hiking would be…..





2 responses

12 02 2013

You describe it very well and now I know what beingoutthere is all about. I do like the ‘M’ reference, sounds very James Bond-like. I wonder if ‘M’ spins around in a chair whenever she is spoken to? : )
Your passion clearly shines through your words. I also love the pictures. I am a city person myself (born, bred, bollocked) but love exploring the outdoors to get entranced by its natural magical show. It is something that I got to appreciate with getting older as I remember being much younger with a pulled up nose to all things outside. Now it’s all: ‘look at the pretty, pretty flowers, rock, deer, man on the bike’ : ) I will check out more of your work. Take care!

12 02 2013

Thanks pixiepott!
Being a city person doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate beauty and the freedom that outdoors have to offer.
Glad you liked the pics!

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