Once upon a time, we decided to climb the mount Ochi (1.398 m) on the Euboia island. In summer. In one day, and to come back the same day. We were young and brave.
The way to the Ochi seemed to be short and easy when we contemplated it from below trying to guess which path and road we will follow. However, the optics of this area deteriorates the real condition of things and makes them seem closer. In fact, our ascension turned out to be higher and rather difficult. Quite difficult in the middle of our trail, and very difficult after we returned home.
No verdure covers the mountain. There are plenty of sources and small waterfalls at the bottom of the Ochi, and this is what makes the villages just above our city K. so attractive: they’re plunged into freshness and shadows. But after you leave behind you the last house of such a village, you cannot hope for a shadowy naturally green shelter anymore. Still, as we started our journey early in the morning, the sun was not burning until we reached the eastern slopes of the mountain.
At one spot, there was a bench of ancient roman columns of green marble called cipollino. There were mines in this area and for some reason the columns were left on the mountain without having been transferred down to the city of K.
The way to the summit was torny and painful. Per aspera ad astra… at some point the path met the road, oh, this could be a royal road to the sky, but the sun was already strong, and there was no shadow, and there was very little water left. I was not sure I would be able to climb the highest spot of the Ochi; if we were out of water, I would become exactly like this wild place – dried out and lifeless. We made a stop and had our lunch in a tube under the road, the only cool place, the only shadow on our way. The other end of the tube had a wonderful view to the eastern slopes of the mountain and to the sea.
There was only one hope: a bit higher, in a so called katafygio, in a hut for the rare tourists, we had to find some water. The hut was closed, we were the only two souls – and bodies suffering from thirst! – and there was water!!! Vrisi! How grateful I was…
We continued a bit later, after a good break. The top of the mount was still far, we passed by the tiny church of the Prophet Elias – the churches dedicated to Elias are mostly built in Greece high in the mountains. Later it was a legendary drakospito on our path, and that was it, that was almost the very top of the Ochi. The best location ever, the best panorama of the Cycladic and other islands, and an unexpectedly wonderful internet connection that was not working down in the city.
We had wine, we had lamb meat; the air was fresh and so cool up there. We needed nothing except return home that very day. We had so few time to enjoy the heights.
The way back and down was even more difficult. Once or twice we lost our way and gods bless me because I insisted on looking for the marked path which we lost, when A. proposed to take any of the old goat paths and go straightly down through the torny bushes which no one knows where they lead and how they end.
Those people in the villages above K. who saw us in the morning were extremely surprised to see us again and especially to hear that we climbed the Ochi, that we did it, and that now we were on our way home. In one day! It’s surely not a Greek way.
A. insisted that we go first to the sea to swim a bit because the sea it’s thalassotherapy you know and after that we will feel much better, no fatigue and no pain, relax you know, and that we go home only after this quick therapeutic bath. That was quite a crazy idea but I obeyed. I doubt we felt better afterwards. We came back on our last legs around midnight, and the next day we literally could not move our legs. Deep, huge muscle soreness did not allow us to leave our house the whole day after our adventure. The day after – same shit! We merely walked inside our apartment, and our motions looked too much like those of zombies… For around two weeks we were suffering from this terrible delayed onset muscle soreness…
– ‘Οχη? – No, thanks! ‘Οχι! Never ever again 🙂