Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hiking and Greek Heat

Monday, June 6, 2011—Kolymbari, Crete, Greece

6:40 AM—Some symptoms of this anxiety/depression I have that I forgot to mention in the last entry. An almost insane restlessness—no matter what I’m doing I feel I should be doing something else. Plummeting self-worth and confidence. Oh, and let’s not forget the inability to deal with people on anything more than the most superficial levels.

7:40 AM—Beginning my hike out onto the Rondropou Peninsula this morning. It would have been best to have been gone with the sun but the town’s market was closed yesterday (Sunday) so I couldn’t get the supplies I will need. It opens at 8:00 AM this morning. Also my hotel room comes with breakfast, which I also don’t think I can get before about 8:00. If I can hit the trail about 9:00 I’ll be happy. With the slow pace of Greek meals 9:30 is probably more likely.

Still feeling my anxiety symptoms pretty hard this morning. Not sure what else I can do except push forward. Wish I could enjoy all the fun I’m probably having.

3:49 PM—Got schooled today. Learned some serious lessons about hiking in the Mediterranean in the summer. As I mentioned earlier, my goal was to make it out to the end of the Rodropou Peninsula to see an archaeological site. But as it turned out I was unprepared for the heat, plus I grossly underestimated the distance (I was basically looking at things as the crow flies—partially my fault, partially the fault of the map I was using, which has been revealed to be quite awful). It also turned out that I didn’t have detailed enough knowledge of the path I was to take out. This last issue turned out to be a good thing. The path I took, which looked like the right one (there was only one other candidate, which did not look promising), dead-ended into a goat enclosure. Like I said, this ended up being a good thing. If I would have found the right path I would have gone a lot further, maybe all the way to the end of the peninsula. This would have been a disaster, maybe a fatal one. I completely underestimated the amount of water I would need to make such a long trip (partially because I again didn’t realize how long the trip actually was). I would have ended up completely dehydrated, to the point where I would have been risking sunstroke.

This has caused me to completely reevaluate the hiking portion of this trip. I don’t think anything much beyond five or six kilometers at a time is viable—or at the very least anything more simply wouldn’t be much fun. Long hikes like the one I attempted today are right out. Besides the heat issue, I simply couldn’t pack in enough water to be safe. Today, for example, which turned out to be a trek of between sixteen and eighteen kilometers round-trip, I went thru over three liters of water (I only peed once on the trail, which shows how much I was sweating out). That means if I would have kept up the same consumption rate all the way to the end of the peninsula (it likely would have gone up some) I would have needed over six liters. That’s way too much water in a day pack. Plus, any hike demanding that sort of water consumption is going to be a hellish march anyway.

Once the path dead ended I luckily figured all this out and headed back the way I’d come. On the way back to Kolymbari I stopped for a swim at Afrati Beach, a tiny pebbly sand cove 700 meters down a steep grade that shoots off the town of the same name. This was a good idea in that it lowered my body temperature. It was a bad one, though, in that walking back up that grade in the condition I was in was a killer.

I’d planned on doing a lot of hiking on this trip, so this reality I’ve uncovered kind of sucks. I may not hike any more at all on Crete. Some of the smaller Greek Islands to the north are so tiny that they could be hiked in a handful of hours, which means I might make some dawn runs up there. I’m a little annoyed now that I have to lug around my boots for such minor hikes, given that my Tevas would probably work just as well on them. I wonder how much it would cost to ship my boots home.

Have been dealing with another anxiety attack since coming back from my hike; I’m feeling restless, like my insides are running around in circles. Getting very concerned about this. Feels more like a chemical problem than anything else.

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