Fri 29 Sep 06
It's a tough hike to the top of the famed Mount Olympus, home of the Greek Gods, but worth the effort. The hike started on a grey and rainy day (Zeus must have been angry) from the town of Litohoro. We had decided to hike up the Epineas Gorge, partly because of the glorious views it offered, and partly because we were too cheap to pay the 20 Euro taxi fare to the settlement of Prionia, where the actual hike up the mountain begins. Although it took about 5 hours, it was worth it. Amazing views (but a lot was covered by cloud), a chapel in a cave type thing and a cool monastery made the hike more bearable.
After finally arriving in Prionia, we had a quick lunch (mmmmmm.... canned fish) and we were on our way. It was all uphill from this point, and the sky had gotten much worse. All the way up it was either raining, or just misting. Needless to say, after over two and a half hours, we were super excited to finally see the refuge where we would spend the night. Walking in drenched, it was nice to finally be inside. A nice hot meal added to this, even though the food itself was nothing special.
The next day we awoke bright and early (or were woken up bright and early by our roommates). Someone must have made a sacrifice to the Gods, because they were rewarding us with clear skies. A quick breakfast and we were on our way to the peak. This was much easier than the day before; no heavy packs to take with us and a nice day can make all the difference. All the way up we were blown away (not literally), by the magnificent views before our eyes. What an impressive mountain (I took over 150 pictures). We eventually got to a point where we could see across a ridge to Mytikas, the highest peak of the mountain. However, we decided not to go for the peak, partly because it looked really tough and scary, and partly because we were told the views were a lot better from the second highest peak. So we settled for Skolio, which at 2911m is only 7m less than Mytikas.
At this point some clouds were moving in, so, after saying farewell to Zeus and friends, we decided to head down. The way down was a lot easier, only hard on the knees (and toes). We decided to skip the walk across the gorge this time, and instead hitched a ride back with some friendly Russian-Americans.