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05 May 2009

Hiking in the Mountains of Taygetus

A nice long weekend
Tree on the E4 trail near Taygetus

The first of May fell on a Friday this year, providing me and many other people with a three day weekend. I went together with some friends from a mountain club to hike on the Peloponnese on the Taygetus mountain range (Ταΰγετος, also transcribed as Taugetus, Taigetos or Taigetus).

We drove by car to a village near Sparta, then hiked up 4km with our packs to a hut run by the local mountain club. We set up our tents outside the hut and enjoyed the nice camp life. The evening got quite cold, so one of us decided to crash in a bunk in the hut, while I really, really was glad that I bought a very good sleeping back many years ago. This spring has been much colder than usual here and at 1550m and with a lot of humidity, some of our group had a less than pleasant night in summer sleeping bags.

The next day (Saturday) we attempted to go for the summit of mount Taygetus. We were quite ill prepared, without crampons or other "serious" mountain gear. There were some fields of harsh snow in our way, with a consistency almost like crash ice (caipirinha anyone?) which would have required harder boots than most of us had. At about 1950m height, most of our group turned around. Three of us were continuing, stubborn enough to want to get to the top.

We didn't have much more luck though, as soon after picking up the trail again, we were double hampered by more harsh snow fields with a tougher angle and by fog that was rapidly moving in. Maybe 50 meters later the fog had completely hidden the next way mark. We could still remember the direction of that mark, but what about the next one? Going on was not a safe choice. We turned around not long after the first group.

Mount Taygetus casting its shadow into the evening clouds

The evening we spent inside the hut, as guests of a group of people who stayed there and cooked a huge meal. For me personally it was a great relief, as by the evening I felt quite cooled out and I was more than grateful to warm up inside and later even eat huge quantities of food. That night two of our group chose to sleep inside the hut, the rest of us spent another night in the tents.

On Sunday we took a smaller hike to a nearby waterfall - about 1 hour to get there, 1 hour to come back on the "E4" trail. It was a really wonderful hike, with lots of huge trees, mystic rocks and ever some wide views popping open between the boughs. The waterfall was nice too, rounding out the hike with some scrambling around on the rocks just below it. We enjoyed some sunlight and a marvelous view on the now clear peak back at the hut. Right after the sun disappeared behind the mountain range, we saw the spectacle of the mountain casting its shadow into the clouds (see picture). On the other side the clouds were swirled around in the sun beams in the turbulences on the lee side of the mountain.

In the late afternoon we headed back down the mountain. Even though my pack was lighter, my feet started to get a bit tired. I was glad to sit down and later ingest a large, large quantity of food in Sparta. We were lucky to have an easy ride back to Athens, without much traffic. Probably we were late enough to avoid the usual "long weekend" traffic jams on entering the big city.

Posted by betabug at 18:44 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Re: Hiking in the Mountains of Taygetus

It was a nice try mate, and we had a really good time. Next time we 'll get higher. : )

Posted by: Panos at May 06,2009 09:59
Re: Hiking in the Mountains of Taygetus

"higher"? what was the name of that drug again? ;)

Posted by: saad at May 06,2009 16:46
Re: Hiking in the Mountains of Taygetus


Posted by: wiwi at May 06,2009 23:13
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