Annual Walk to Sougia

Trip Start Jul 23, 2008
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

An annual feature of the stay in Paleochora is the "walk" - to Sougia which is only about 15km along the coast but the actual walk is about 25 25 km when you include all the ups and downs and skirting headlands, etc.

I first dd this on my own the first year we came - 1995 I think - and except for last year I've repeated it with various companions. The formula is the same - up early, start from the Bakery when it opens at 7.30. This year, however, I messed up setting my alarm and was woken by phone call from Lothar saying that all the others had got to the "Bangalows" and where was I???? Speed-dressed and he picked me up and took me that first half-mile and we set off. Richard, Dan, Mark & Emily and Dorothea (Lothar's doctor friend). It was WINDY, which not only made the going a bit tough (the wind was in our faces)but conversation difficult - rather annoying since chatting helps pass the time and for me is always an important part of the hike.

We managed to stay on the route almost 100% of the way, so very few "little diversions", and reached to bottom of the Crocodile in fine form. As ever, I approached this with some foreboding as I know it's a hard climb and have had severe difficulties in the past, but this year managed to go up quite easily. Dorothea came along slowly behind, pacing herself very carefully, and I adopted her slow-style which meant that I didn't get as puffed as usual. We eventually got to the summit and took the ritual photos and sent texts to those left in Pal to let them know we'd made it, but the wind was fierce and didn't tarry too long and set off across the plateau into the face of the brewing gale.

I don't know if my memory played tricks, but the descent into Lissos seemed longer and more difficult than I remember. Also, we were a bit later due to my oversleeping, so by the time I got to the spring at Lissos I didn't have the energy to go on to the beach for a swim, and just rested in the shade and awaited the rest, who had. When they returned, Richard announced that they'd lost Dotothea - but then said she'd decided to catch a boat back!

Luckily, we found the route out of Lissos without any diversions (go to the right of the ancient temple). Over the years we've been serially lost doing this, and it was a relief to make the steep ascent up the cliff-face with only a few stops, across to the delicious pine forest and down to the gorge which always seems longer than remembered!

As ever, the sight of the sea at the bottom of the gorge was most welcome and our feet became lighter woth the thought of impending cold, cold, beers. We camped in the Kyma and drank the aforementioned beers in almost silence as we recovered and self-congratulated before ordering the ritual spaghetti carbonaras.

Discovering that the ferry was 45 minutes later than planned, we started a game of scrabble, but didn't finish it as the ferry then appeared on the horizon and we trooped down to the port, boarded, and I went up to the top deck, lay down and slept for the whole trip despite the howling winds.
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