The best way for me to enjoy hiking is alone with only my dog for company and to walk for several hours. It takes a little time to reach the ‘hiking sensation’, where I forget time and place and feel somehow grounded – in contact with my surroundings. I feel I have ‘arrived’ when the scents of the plants and trees have reached my consciousness; the magical scents of mastic trees, strawberry trees and pines and the almost paralyzing scents of herbs such as sage and thyme. When I am no longer thinking but just walking with my attention on the landscape, immersed in its scents and colours, then I feel I’m hiking.
When I walk through dense woods surrounded by tall trees in the beautiful nature of Alonnisos island I always get the feeling of being in a cave. It’s somehow like being hidden inside the forest and it creates a thrilling sensation. If the trip continues up on a hill with a wonderful view then the experience changes and the feeling of seeing the whole world from up there fills my heart. If this nice feeling is accompanied by the sound of bells from half wild goats jumping around on the rocks then the height of sensations is reached.
There is a small archeological area on a top of a hill not so far from where I live. When I go there I start following a beautiful earth road and then I continue on the path which rises steeply up through brushwood and trees. Higher when I get out of the brushwood I walk along flat terraces full of green grass. Then opens up an astonishing view and I throw myself on the grass to chill out and enjoy the view of the steep slopes towards the sea. The exciting thing about visiting undeveloped archeological sites is that you can let your fantasy run free. The remains of fortification walls are still intact here with boulders cut at square angles and with small indentations forming a pattern that according to historical sources is characteristic of the Greek classical period 500 BC. So they were built more than 2500 years ago! It seems like nothing has happened ever since in that area, as if the people suddenly broke up and left. With a little imagination I am back in that time feeling the historical whirring of wings. I think this is possibly because I have reached this place on foot struggling up through brushwood and steep paths. The spirit is intact.
On the way down I follow a path through a narrow ravine and when the landscape opens up the path continues down bending its way through high grass. Here the smell of the sea reaches my nose and my psychological condition changes again. The sound and the smell of the sea are as welcome as all the other sounds and scents that I have enjoyed along the tour. Reaching the beach I rest on the sand and as a person who loves to use my body I enjoy how my tired muscles are slightly aching after the long trip – meanwhile the dog is taking a swim in the sea.