On the Hot Rock for just over two weeks and getting into the swing of things.
Walking in the mountains every day, increasingly long distances, increasingly strenuous, interspersing occasional easier days to allow recovery before the next big hit. My metabolism is very slow to ease out of overnight sloth, so I aim to get going about 09.30 or 10.00.
Walking conditions are extraordinarily good, mostly cloudless, temperatures now dropped to low 30s with a breeze taking the edge off even the mid-day heat. It means that sweating appears to be reduced, skin and T-shirt drying up almost instantly except under the rucksack. It means you don’t realise how much moisture you are losing, and how dehydrated you are becoming. One of the ways the body acclimatises to heat is to reduce the amount of sweating. Another is to reduce the amount of electrolytes in the sweat. But that is by no means certain and you can’t count on it, especially in the short term. So, I’m trying to make sure I drink more water than I have in the past, carrying an insulated sleeve with 1½ litres with a core of ice.
After the unusually high temperatures over several weeks on the island before I came, the vegetation is more than usually parched and crisped. But this is just a continuation of years of rising temperatures and drought. Fig trees from which we picked figs at Gria even 15 years ago are now dead and crumbling into the dust, being finished off by ants or termites. Many trees are looking stressed, leaves on the evergreen holly oaks looking distinctly jaded and off-colour. By contrast, in the old ruins in the Horio, fig trees seem to be thriving, exploring sternas and vothras with their roots, ready supply of water and nutrients.
Places visited so far include Agios Emilianos, Agios Vasilios/Lapathos, Agia Marina, Nimborio Gorge, Agios Nikolas Stenou, Sesklia, and Lapotoniou Castle. The trek up the steep ridge to Panagai Hamon was particularly pleasing, repairing the markers I put in place to indicate the tortuous route a few years ago.
Below is a random selection of images. I’ll try to get down to a more systematic approach soon.