As I started this article, my intention was to present to the world the aestetic and environmental value of the limestone surfaces, crests and cliffs in a very special part of «Atheras», the ridge which makes the backbone of my island, Ikaria. This part is called «Pounta», a hellenized Italian word used by old seamen to describe a sticking out edge or protrusion of rocks like a promontory into the sea.
But after writing a few words, I changed my mind. I had to change my approach on the subject. You see, the landscape of Pounta is not at all «beautiful» in the common understanding of the word. Nor is the environmental value of this endless succession of barren, fragmented and cragged surfaces an easy thing to explain to a broad public. You see (again), along the irregular leaning pyramids of Pounta there is no water and none but very few weather beaten trees, the vegetation being restricted to thorny spurges of all kinds and sizes growing in the gaps between the limestone slabs.
It’s a nothingness, an emptiness, an inhospitable rocky wilderness.
But on the other hand, it’s one of the most impressive (read, majestic) landscapes I’ve seen in my life.
I’ve read that otherworldly landscapes like this were shaped by the movement of ancient glaciers. I can understand that for mt Olympus, but glaciers in Ikaria?! Glaciers in the Aegean Sea?! Well, if you want my opinion, I prefer this explanation than no explanation at all. After all, we had dwarf mammoths and rhinos 50.000 years ago. Why couldn’t we have had glaciers as well?
Anyway, my point here isn’t hard science. My point is the effect these landscapes can have to the soul of the traveller -in this case, the hiker.
I’ve already written about it when I blogged on a similarly dramatic landscape in another side of the island. It was one of the most destitude and wildest places I know, but – oh my God! – so spectacular! There I experienced strong feelings of anchoritism, like a voice calling me to escape from the worldly turmoil and settle for the rest of my life among dark hanging rocks on one side and the blue immensity on the other.
Now, as I crossed Pounta for the first time (that was in 2006) I experienced a similar, though somehow different feeling. It wasn’t about God; it was about me, as a human being. I felt brave and I felt strong and I felt persistent and decisive. Especially when few years after I tried the crossing again and the weather – as it usually happens up there – switched to gale and blew upon us thick blankets of vapor and dence sheets of fog.
In one word, I felt indomitable. 🐲
I love all the wild untamable landscapes of my island. By challenging my fears and reservations, they have strengthened my character through the years and helped me evolve to a more self-confident and more independent person.
However, in spite of their timeless, unshakeable appearance, limestone crests and cliffs like Pounta are very complicated and extremely fragile landscapes. Human activities of a gigantic industrial scale, such as the rumored installation of 110 mega-size wind turbines, would totally anihilate their actual high quality. An industrial eolian plant on mt Atheras would devastate Pounta. The prodigious ammount of excavations needed to install these monsters will sooner than later turn its proud crests to mere piles of gravel – piles of gravel rolling and dropping on our heads!
But enough with words. Just below you can see a choice of photos from a recent hiking day trip across the limestone crests of Pounta taken by my friends the OPS Ikarians.
I chose them from 1) Flickr, 2) Google, and 3) the photos contained in the Google map of the hike. If you like this visual evidence and therefore, you think like me that this very special landscape should stay untouched by capitalist piracy, please consider signing the petition! 📜
Afterword: This was eventually one more article about the landscapes of Ikaria with a stress on the mountainous nature of the island. I wonder when I will post another one. I do hope that I’ll do that soon, though. All I know right now is that the land is closing in for winter and everybody is picking olives …
Eleni Ik ❤
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
WTF is this word? 😵 ❓ ❓
According to YourDictionary: Oasification
«The process of restoring water, soil, and plant life to an environment that has been degraded by soil erosion.»
According to the Wikipedia: Oasification
«In hydrology, oasification is the antonym to desertification by soil erosion. This technique has limited application and is normally considered for much smaller areas than those threatened by desertification.»
«To help the oasification process, engineers aim to develop a thriving dense woody plant cover to redress the hydrological, edaphic and botanical degradation affecting a slope.»
According to writer F. R. Chateaubriand: Oasification
«Forest precedes Man and desert follows him. Thus has ocurred with many civilizations that we know, settled in arid and semiarid territories. However, desertification is not an irreversible and hopeless process. In this new millenium we must be able to find the solutions to the problems that we generate. Against desertification: Oasification!»
According to the declaration of the three Ikarian Associations mentionned
at the end of my previous article «The little house in the desert»
«Besides that, again with our voluntary work, we intend to fence an area of at least 8.000 square meters around the shelter in order to protect it from the goats. This way, we will allow at least a small part of the overgrazed, eroded and almost desertified mountain plateau to grow green again like it was in the past.»
«Among the benefits resulting from this [project will be] the awakening of the local community concerning the desertification of the mountain volume of Ikaria through creating a visitable framed green space where endemic species will grow. This way, it will be proven in practice that this phenomenon and its disastrous effects (flashfloods, landslides, impoverishment of the soil) is not a natural, inevitable process but something that started for specific reasons [only] few decades ago and therefore, there is a way to stop it.»
«But most of all, what we want to do is to show with a project of our own -no matter its smallness- the great love we feel for our mountain, its freedom and its wild beauty.»
Well, they’ve done it!!!! Against all odds (bureaucracy, indifference, fatalism, pessimism and hostile goat barons) on Sunday, September 24, more than 40 young local people gathered on the mountain and after several hours of hard work, they secured an area of 8.000 square meters around the old mountain shelter on Ammoudia plateau with a long line of welded wire mesh panels.
They ‘ve done it! Look at them at work! You can tell from the pictures which are all first quality, the feelings of joy and fulfillment shared by the participants. I am so glad I’ve helped in my own small way to this project. If things go well -and I have every reason to thnk they will- in less than 3 years, instead of that depressive, although sometimes also impressive, goat desert, we will have an oasis!
Notice: The gallery above is made up of 56 pictures I discovered in three posts at the OPS Ikarias Google+ page. They redirected me to three of their facebook posts: the first one, containing 12 pictures taken by my friend Angelos, the second and the third one containing a total of 44 pictures, taken by our friends from Italy, Paola and Ivo, founders of the association «Η ‘δική μας’ Ικαρία».
All pictures © OPSIkarias & DikimasIkaria 2017
For the title of this article I am gratedul to
who looked up the meaning of the term «oasification» for me and
suggested that it would be more appropriate to describe the project
of fencing instead of the akward «fencing against desertification»
which wouldn’t make much sense to a reader who is not familiar
with our strange island and its strange problems.
ᶱ ᶱ ᶱ ᶱ
H προηγούμενη καταχώρηση αν και αφορούσε μια στάση απολύτως προσωπική, γνώρισε ανέλπιστη διάδοση τόσο από άλλα μπλογκς, όσο και μήντια. Αφού εγώ (to agrimi) πρώτη πυροδότησα το θέμα με μια γερή φυτιλιά, σε μένα τελευταία πέφτει να εκλογικεύσω, να γενικεύσω και να συνοψίσω.
Δεν είναι “Δεν αγοράζω, δεν τρώω αυτό που σκοτώνει το νησί μου” έτσι σκέτο. Είναι “Δεν αγοράζω, δεν τρώω αυτό που σκοτώνει το νησί μου. Όμως βοηθάω το σύλλογο που οργανώνει το πανηγύρι πληρώνοντας το αντίτιμο του κρέατος που δεν πήρα, ως «εισφορά» ”.
Έχουμε ήδη μια πρώτη τέτοια παραδειγματική προσέγγιση.
Έτσι θα είναι για μένα λοιπόν στο εξής θα βλέπω το πανηγύρια σαν “συνδρομητικά” events.
Γειάάαααα σας τώρα. Έχει σηκώσει μελτέμι.
Δουλειά όλη μέρα, φεύγω, πάω για…
ᶱ ᶱ ᶱ ᶱ
.~* Το κειμενο που ακολουθει ειναι επισης δικο του .~* και βρισκεται κατω απο την φωτογραφια. .~* Εγω το μεταφρασα γιατι του αξιζει.
εφερε αυτο »
κυριως λογω αυτου »
που πουλιεται και τρωγεται στα πανηγυρια »
Α οχι δεν εφταιγε η Ε.Ε. και η Ελληνικη κυβερνηση. Αληθεια οτι η πρωτη δεν επρεπε να επιδοτει τις κατσικες κι η δευτερη επρεπε να ειχε καποιο ελεγχο της καταστασης.
Ομως πρωτα και κυρια το φταιξιμο ηταν δικο μας.
Ημασταν ρομαντικοι και δεν βλεπαμε εκεινο που ηταν μπροστα στα ματια μας. Οτι μια αρχαια παραδοση ειχε παρει μια καταστροφικη τροπη. Μια γιορτη ενος χωριου (“πανηγύρι”) οπου το μενου ηταν αποκλειστικα κατσικι και που ηταν προγραμματισμενη να ικανοποιησει 50-100 ατομα εως τη δεκατια του 1970, αναμενεται να θρεψει 4.000 τουριστες και ντοπιους στις μερες μας. Και ενω παλια γινονταν μονο 20-30 τετοιες γιορτες, τωρα εχουμε περισσοτερες απο 100 το χρονο, σχεδον ολες το καλοκαιρι.
Ημαστε Ελληνες. Ή θα ζησουμε με μετρο ή θα πεθανουμε. Επομενως οχι αλλο κατσικι για μενα παρακαλω.
Κατά χρονολογική σειρά σχετικές δημοσιεύσεις σε blogs:
Μερικοί την προτιμούν γυμνή Ο τρελός λόγος μιας τρελής κατάστασης Η καταιγίδα δεν ήταν η μόνη αιτία της καταστροφής Καταστροφές στην Ικαρία: “βιομηχανικό ατύχημα;” Σαλεμένο Πατατάτο Σώζει Δάση
Αν ξερετε Αγγλικα διαβαστε τα σχολια κατω απο την φωτογραφια στο Φλικρ
Να κανετε συνειδητοποιημενες διακοπες. .~* Γεια χαρα!
Floods and mountain slides in Ikaria. Was it «an industrial accident»? Do you know what «industry» is located on the mountains of the island? Do you know what «other industry» is located lower in the villages and the mountain industry feeds it with raw material in the summers? I doubt if you do. Due to overexploiment, unexistent maintainance and measures of safety, the «industrial site» collapsed during and as a result of a torrential rainfall that lasted for 28 hours.
(pictures fromsse See more pictures ikariamag.gr through facebook)
Take the link to the related discussion for now
Later in this photo group a friend posted two videos (Folioscopes) by Michel Derosiaux
❤ ❤ ❤
Το Δάσος του Ράντη
I don’t know who advises people (the Greeks in particular) who are coming to hike in Ikaria, not to follow the marked paths but instead, go looking for the Forest of Radi. Maybe it’s on some website (where they advertise stuff they have no idea about, just to show off). Maybe they get it from shopkeepers and hotel owners (who may drop “Radi Forest” in a trivial way to oblige a tourist). Maybe it’s on one of those new guide books that are based on hearsay and contain impractical “tips”.
‘Cause the truth is that until recently there was no Radi Forest!
Or to put it better –there is a forest and an area called “Radi”. But there was no more or less safe way for a newcomer to go there. Not only the place was far from main roads, villages and towns; not only the trails are vague and unmarked but also –very unfortunately- there are many goat trails that lead nowhere. Especially in August and September the forest is dusty and dry and there may also be some caterpillar “itching powder” left from last June.
So, in spite of how attracted you feel at the sound of a magnificent term, resist it. Don’t go unprepared or you won’t find it, so hidden and mysterious it is! Try to locate and follow the trail marked by the Hiking and Mountain Climbing Association of Ikaria, which starts from the village of Petropouli and ends in the village of Frantato. For me this forest means a lot.
I want you to discover it in the proper way. I don’t want to hear anymore people telling me “We couldn’t find the way and, anyway, it was nothing. Just trees, as good as any…”
Here is their map. If you click on the image you will be transported to the home of the map in Google maps. Try it! It’s worth it! It’s a great piece of work!
Look for the “Dasos tou Ranti” in any other time of the year except August. For example, winter is the best season. (Forests are “storehouses” of winter, like the sea and the beaches “storehouses” of summer.) You may either start from Frantato or Petropouli and the trails is marked with orange dots, colored metal plates and cairns. This is the best and safest way to see this legendary ancient forest.
Until then, take a look the pictorial archives…