Lightning flashed across the tent, thunder rolled around the peaks. We lay there counting. How far away was the storm? To make matters worse, I was feeling sick, with a slight headache. “Why don’t you get dressed so you can be sick outside the tent if you need to?” suggested Alan unsympathetically. I glanced at the torrential rain and reached for a plastic bag.
It was light by the time the storm had passed. Alan made mountain tea, while I dosed myself with rehydration salts and paracetamol. The problem was probably heat exhaustion again. It had been a stiff climb up the previous day, but because it was cold I hadn’t drunk as much water as usual.
The mists swirled around the peaks, with clouds racing past and blue sky finally visible overhead, clear as a Japanese painting. Next to the tent were clumps of sternbergia and cyclamen, while tiny grape hyacinths twinkled in the pasture. In the distance we could hear cowbells. We spread our things out to dry and had a leisurely breakfast. Then we followed the easy dirt track up along the ridge.
Unfortunately, the mist soon came down again, hiding the views, and by the time we reached Kerasochori, it was raining hard once more. We stopped at the first cafe we came to, with neatly pruned bay trees in pots outside. One other customer was at the bar, drinking tsipouro. We had a toasted cheese and spam sandwich. I’m not really too keen on spam but it’s surprisingly popular in village cafes.
Meanwhile, the barman phoned around to find us somewhere to stay. Despite the little bed symbol on the map, nothing was available. Accommodation was only available in summer; in winter all rooms were let to the secondary school teachers. We would have to carry on to the guest house at Krendis, three kilometres away along the main road, and off our route. The rain had now turned to hail.
The other customer came to our rescue. He treated us to a tsipouro, then gave us a lift to Krendis. We shared the guest house with a raucous party of bikers, away for the weekend. After the delight of a hot shower, we sat on the balcony and watched as the weather cleared again to rainwashed views across the valley.
The route: Easy forestry track to Kerasochori, then tarred road to Krendis. No obvious water sources until you reach Kerasochori. Kilometres: 10. Ascent: 354m Descent: 461m. Map: Anavasi 2.4. Mountains of Evritania.
Facilities: All facilities except out of season accommodation at Kerasochori, a prosperous year-round village with a secondary school: shops, cafes, tavernas, bank. The friendly Makkas guesthouse with restaurant at Krendis is run by three local brothers. You can see a photo of them as young lads, in heavy boots and workaday clothes, hung up over the fireplace.