A chronicle of twenty years in the paths and the mountains of Ikaria. What has been done, by who, how and why.
A thrilling true story.
We are opening our hearts and sharing the secrets in the village hall of Agios Dimitrios, Rahes,
on Sunday, March 3 at 5 a. m.
Thanks George for the video.
It’s not a good day today.
This is the mail I received from a dearest friend this morning with the request to post in my blog. I couldn’t help adding some pictures as a tribute to the past and testimony of a great work that has come to an end.
Here it goes:
Hello, my name is Angelos K.
As some of you may know, I have been the designer and administrator of an expanded network of hiking trails in Ikaria for over 15 years. However, today, with mixed feelings of grief and relief I am shutting down the project. Unfortunately I can’t afford to work anymore without recognition and substantial support from the locals and the local authorities. It was my mistake to suppose that such a thing would happen in the course of time. Yet, my initiative, despite it’s success, remained unperceived even by those who drew a direct profit from it every year (hotel and restaurant owners etc.).
I just can’t do it anymore.
The project was never supported by the central government and I have come to the end of my financial means and physical strength.
I am aware the shutdown of planned hiking in Ikaria will make us a poorer island from many points of view. On the other hand, as things as with tourism in Ikaria, it’s likely that only few people will notice the fact and even fewer will know the cause.
Therefore starting from spring the main signs at the beginnings of the trails will be removed and the map will go out of sale (*). It would be the responsible thing to do as, despite the efforts of several friends, the paths haven’t been maintained and the marking hasn’t been refreshed for a long period of time, so in many cases trails have become too difficult or impassable.
The good side, however, of the shutdown is that I and my occasional helpers would be free to work without stress “behind the scenes”, like when a shop closes down but the team stays ans works inside. After all, in either case, open or closed, no-one was paid.
Ikaria is still and as always a beautiful natural island and hiking is by far the best way to know it. In my heart the shutdown will be temporary. The amount of money that is needed for a restart is small. If it is given to the project with with good faith and in some more or less permanent basis, via, for example, the Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria, the signs will be up again and a new hiking map will be published, that will cover, as it is due, the whole of Ikaria and not only a part.
We shall always walk.
Thank you very much
(*) I am not giving up the copyrights of the traced routes and the map.
I have nothing to say or add other than that someone cannot be a volunteer for 17 years!
The Ikarians must read about it so Nana put up this announcement in the original Greek in her blog very soon.
Bye for now
This looks like an enormous achievement, angeloska! It looks like there has been a lot of chopping! (At least you had elves to help you!)
@ ‘simonsterg’ : if you enlarge the image, you see on the footer it reads «Lothlorien College Graduates» !!!
@ ‘angeloska’ : x x x x x x x x
You are giving me new strength!
In return here is a small part of the story. This trail was almost an imaginary one, featuring only in an old Italian map of 1943 and in Elenis imagination and *unusual sources* (her old neigbours’ tales). The distance was about 2,5 km cutting through deep tall makia. We started cittung from both sides, one day from the east and the other from the west, with no more sense of direction but the zig-zag flow of a rivulet running next to the alleged path. The hard evidence whether the path existed, as well as my extreme worry was if the two tunnels would eventually meet someplace. They DID! I felt like opening a champaigne bottle.
Posted 6 months ago. ( permalink )
That bit about the 1943 italian map sounds sort of romantic § – a hint from an odd old source – ideally you should have lost the map – kind of like a Borges tale, you know the sort of thing…
And you have made this perhaps imaginary path into… a REAL ONE – a Second Eupalinos! ¤ Champagne corks ought to be flying!
§ not that Eleni’s imagination isn’t also, of course, romantic – and the *unusual sources* very likely accurate…
¤ if that’s hyperbole it’s just in a celebratory way – not an attempt at irony (which I dislike)
I lost the map! As soon as I found it I lost it! I had only one glimpse of it. Then a veil of secrecy came and covered …
Eupalinos? I had thought of him. He used stereometry and trigonometry. He was given an awful amount of money too. But Eleni’s way is the low-budget one: trust your senses.
(Nana says:) Maybe this is a stupid question, but why did you start cutting one day from the east, one day from the west? Why haven’t you done it one way only? And avoid the risk of the two tunnels not meeting?
(love to talk technicalities with you, *thorn-walker*)
I have many reasons to cut from both sides :
1st) I usually hit the paths from as many sides as I can. Although people know more or less about my business, they still may get suspicious if they see me driving too often and stopping long in a desert place. So I sometimes take a path from one end and sometimes from another. It looks more normal if I am seen going someplace once or twice a fortnight instead of once a week.
2nd) This particular path was looong! When we got into the thick, deep and dark, at a certain point I lost my self-confidence. (That’s about when Eleni wrote in that last message of hers in the hiking group that I should not give up the chainsaw.) So we drove a long way round and started cutting from another place: a glade with a stony ground where the path was easy to see. Conveniently, this place was not far from a road, so we didn’t have to walk long to get back from work.
3rd) Regardless of the above, it really had to be done from both sides. With the Komatsu (*good machine* -lol:) I could have butchered through the maquis on a straight line and created a way through. But I don’t make way-throughs; I make paths. And I’m always tryng to find the original ones. Because my walks are inside nature and history as well. When the two ends connected (so to say, automatically), I was sure that I hadn’t just made an opening through. That was an ancient path used by the elvish old inhabitants of Ikaria.
§ § § §
And because I have explained so thoroughly, here is question for you:
I have a permission from the Forest Service to open the paths. In fact, more than permission, it is an encouragement based on the general principle that there should be paths in the forests. They serve as fire zones, they say, and this is correct. Yet for most people this means that firemen are able to unreel their hoses and put out a fire in the heart of the forest. But there is also another reason why a path like this is a fire-zone.It prevents fires. Why, Nan? You are still a good mechanic, aren’t you?
Congratulations! It looks wonderful and I can imagine how hard it must have been. Warmest regards from Tilos island, Konstantinos
Here I go…
(We are between friends, are not we? Nobody is bothered. Hope so.)
(Γειά σου Κωνσταντίνε!)
______________________________________________________________An archaic forest as this, is an alive organic and very complicated system : : a *good machine* which (to work well) needs a temperature control system. In spring when temperatures rise considerably in Greece, there is still water, the system is watercooled. Afterwards in summer, when there is little water but there are cool winds from the sea, the system shifts to air-cooled (like some car engines fit for both normal and desert conditions).
So, your tunnel *αγγελούκο* helps in the air-cooling, lowers the temperature of the organism and therefore prevents fires. Your tunnel is an air-duct; functions like the pipe of a ventillator. Είναι ένας αεραγωγός. Brings from the sea and spreads through the cool breeze inside the forest and (w/o entering into a lot of technical details) this makes a big difference.
Because I have a feeling that you are kinda sorry for the chopping off all these tree branches, just think that what you did with the mini-Komatsu, was being done in the past by the ancient animals, like the deer (dama-dama), the wild goat (capra aegagrus) and the wild pig (sus scrofa). They made scars in the forest for the good of the forest. Now, unlike the animal’s, your scar is straight; ok, never mind; let’s put the blame on gaddem Euclides!
What’s the orientation of the tunnel? N to S? NE to SW?
Wow!! It’s so sexy when it gets technical!
How ’bout a graph to spice it up even more… (never mind that it’s from across the sea on Kerkis.) Do you see? «overheating in the cushion» – HOT STUFF! – someone should make a (straight line) path through that thing!
(incidentally, I see Tilos has it’s very own Astragalus on flickr – but I can’t locate any photo with the tags astragalus and ikaria. – it must be just that I’m not searching properly…) 😉
zzdoing!!! I am dazed -:)) Aχ Nana when you want…
(Just wait… I will edit this tomorrow morning)l
Even more dazed u should be at my friend Nana when u know that this analysis comes right out of a smoked turnery in Petrou Rali str, Athens.
I lost MY map somewhere in there last year! In fact three maps I had specially copied and enlarged in Manchester; such was my struggle to hack a way through to PIGI, they fell from my pack.
Here’s another reason for the path to be cut from both ends – so that the people living at either end both feel they have a new path that TAKES them somewhere and don’t see it as an invasion from the outside world.
For years hikers who stayed in Evdilos and Kampos on the coast (point A) and saw the mountains of Rahes (point C) on the west, were asking for a direct way to make it up there without having to walk on the coastal road as far as Armenistis (point B) and from there climb to Rahes (point C). At a certain point I realized that what they were asking to follow was a cut-trough on the ypotenuse of the right triangle (A-C). I like ypotenuses. They are good options to a square static world. And indeed these are the ways invaders follow.
(But of course to make a succesfull invasion, I needed an invitation and a promise for an orgy on plenty of fried good Ikarian potatoes from Perameria.)
Nothing to add except that «the orgy with plenty of good Ikarian potatoes from Perameria -panfried a la Belge» took place at last!
Monday September 3, 2007 – 08:34am (PDT)
Tuesday September 4, 2007 – 03:39pm (EEST)
«from an…» : «Βeautiful to the point of causing pain». That’s a perfect definition of a chimera -:)) I’m noting this down.p.s. «nude hiking trail»? whatever, but don’t shout it over the roofs. I don’t like «bears» -:lol:- and neither does Nana.
Wednesday September 5, 2007 – 10:54am (PDT)
Iit iis aan iinstalation iin naturre. Iit iis a vast iinstalationn iin nnaturre. Iiit iis a vaaast aaartiistiic installation in nature. Iiit iis the onlya vaaast aaartiistiic installation in nature in Greeece. But iif he had said soo, he woould have been mmocked. So hee zayz that iit iiz about hiking and trails and ecotourism. Itt’z hiz business and he can call iit az he like, az long he doiez not forget iit iz an iinstallation in nature – avast iintstallation in nature : the wwou-work of hiz life : :
Glad to see u r relaxi-ing, sis :-)) Greece is a biig *iinstallation in nature* -the biigest iinstalation in nature is Greeece is GREECE !!! and singned by anonymous (like folk art). We r part of all this.
p.s. Joseph Beuys was German
Friday March 30, 2007 – 10:43pm (EEST)
I know who youare ttalking about —shhhsshh…
Friday March 30, 2007 – 10:44pm (EEST)
Εντάξει άργησα. Πήρε 2 χρόνια από τότε που το πες. Τότε ντράπηκα. Τώρα το δέχομαι κι ευχαριστώ. Ας παραμείνω όμως γι ακόμα λίγο «λαϊκός καλλιτέχνης» που λέει το vixen.
Tuesday March 24, 2009 – 01:18pm (EET)
Μα δε μου λες τι εγινε πως σουρθε;
Tuesday March 24, 2009 – 11:14am (PDT)
με δάγκωσε ένας «Σκορπιός».
Tuesday March 24, 2009 – 10:38pm (EET)
μαλλον σε φιλησε ενα δελφινι.
Thursday March 26, 2009 – 10:42am (PDT)