Pretty much the only thing that the husband really really wanted to do in Greece was hike Mt Olympus. I like being outdoors and everything, but doing a 12-hr hike while we were on vacation of all places, was not my idea of fun haha. I'd rather hang out at a beach! I figured that the rest of us (my mom, dad, sister, and I) would go off and do something else (umm...like hang out at a beach) while the husband did his hike. Instead, I got out-numbered, and then before I knew it we were all making plans to hike Mt Olympus. *silently waves goodbye to the beach*
Don't get me wrong--it was fantastic. The views were amazing and we got stunning pictures. It also hurt like hell and I swear, the mountain got taller while we were up there, because it seemed to take forever to get back down!
The town at the base of the mountain, Litochoro, is the where a lot of people (ourselves included) stay before they make the hike up Mt Olympus. From the town square there is a nice windy road that goes up to a parking area about 1/3 of the way up the mountain (called Prionia). On the morning that we made the hike, we made it up to the parking area by 7AM:
And then we began our climb...
...and we climbed...
About 3/4 of the way up the mountain is "Refuge A", which is kind of like a lodge where you can get food and use the facilities. There are also bunks there where you can spend the night, because a lot of people split the hike up into two days. It was a very nice place to take a break and eat something! All of the supplies are carried up by donkeys, which we saw on our way up. The refuge uses solar PV panels to generate electricity and they use snow melt for water! It was very cool.
I don't even know why I bothered to use the bathroom...because let's face it, I basically sweat out everything that I drank (and probably more). BUT, I wanted to mention that the toilets at the refuge were of the "squatting" variety, which was new for me (I was legitimately concerned that I was going to wee on myself!).
It took us about 3 - 3.5 hrs to hike up to Refuge A. We took about a 30 minute break and then the husband and I continued on up to the summit. (My parents and sister stayed behind at the refuge.)
The evergreen trees quickly thinned out until we were mostly walking on loose rock slag. I shall title this one: "don't slip"
Along the way we saw mountain goats frolicking on the snow and ice. They were pretty cute and I was jealous of 1) their fur coats (keep reading below), and 2) their ability to climb the mountain easily. No sweat stains for them!
At the top of the mountain, there were the cutest smallest delicate flowering plants that smelled like fresh laundry (for real). And now you know why companies name their laundry detergents ridiculous names like "fresh mountain breeze."
While we were prepping to climb to the summit, the husband and I had the following conversation:
Me: "Do you think that I need my sweater?"
Husband: "No, I have one for you already."
While we were scaling the side of the mountain with the wind whipping at us (umm...did I mention that there was snow up there!?) we had this conversation:
Me: "OK, I'll take that sweater now."
Husband: **reaches into his pack and pulls out a SHORT SLEEVED T-SHIRT**
Me: "You're kidding me, right? That's what you call a sweater?!"
Husband: **reaches back into his pack and then pulls out a yellow plastic RAIN PONCHO**
Me: "I just want you to know that I'm really mad right now, but I am really cold right now, so give me the damn rain poncho."
And THAT, my friends, is why we have pictures of me at the summit wearing a rain poncho. People kept asking us if it was raining...I was not amused haha
It took us another 2 - 2.5 hours to get to the summit (Skala peak). While we were sitting at the top, I reached my arm over the edge and took a picture down the other side...as you can imagine, no one approaches the summit from that side ;) It was a sweaty-hand inducing drop straight down.
We sat down and had a snack and then the husband walked over to the Skolio peak while I waited for him.
And then we hiked back down to Refuge A together. It got warmer the further down we went, and I became a happier person haha
"I'm still flippin' cold! Don't take my picture!"
"Look! We're going in the right direction..."
"Annnd we're back in tank-top territory. Hallelujah!"
We met up with my parents and sister at Refuge A again, grabbed some dinner, and then hiked back down to the car. It was a LONG day. We got back to the car about 12 hours after we started that morning, and I was super tired. So tired in fact, that I misstepped about 100m from the car and rolled my ankle. I had the most glorious black and blue cankle (calf/ankle) you've ever seen for the last two days of our trip ;)
I am SO proud of my family (and myself!) for making it up there! It's by far, one of the coolest things I've ever done, and I'm so glad that I got to share it with them.
Pssst...check back next week for some updates on our kitchen (The upper doors are going back on! eeeee!)