Friday, July 31, 2009

Independence Day Ride (7-4-09)

Krani Walls

Ride: Argostoli Beach – Krani
Distance: 13 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Sights: Cute towns, Cyclopedean Walls of Krani

From Krani and Enos

As I filled my water at the bubbler in the small town, I realized I might not actually be on the Argostoli – Sami road. Fortunately, the guy who was helping his son build a new house spoke great English. It turned out that after the Earthquake of ’53, he moved to Albany, NY and had lived in Albany and Brooklyn until 5 years ago. He gave me great directions back to Razata and the Walls.

I followed his terrific directions down the dirt roads of Kefalonian back-country to find the ancient Mycenaean structures over the ridge line. The walls were made of giant slabs of the local hard rock. The Classical era City-State of Krani had built these walls. They were amazing. They definitely would have kept me out.

Into the Clouds
Mount Ainos (Enos) 1628m (5324 ft)

Trip: cycle- Krani to the Enos Turnoff; hitchhike- to the National Park; hike- up the Mountain; hitch- back to my bike; cycle- back to Argostoli
Distance: Cycling – 15 miles , hiking – 5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Sites: Not much, cloudy

From Krani and Enos

After Ariel Damien and I had failed so miserably at climbing to the top of the Mountain, it became a mission for me.

So, I left the walls at Krani and cycled my way up the Argostoli-Sami Road. A woman at the Mini-Mart told me, “you have a long way to go.” Sure enough there were two excruciatingly long hills of more than two miles to get to the turn off to the Enos national Park.

I locked my bike to the sign for Argostoli and started hitching toward the National Park. I got a ride to the turn off for Poros and then another from a Athenian family who was vacationing on the island. I started on the main park road from the ranger station (1130 meters). After an hour, I found the summit trail. The summit trail was quite quick from the road (20 minutes). But it took you through the black pines that used to cover the island.

Then I cleared the tree line. There was little view and it was hard to make out the summit as the clouds had descended upon the summit. Through the rockiness of the top I scrambled to the top of the mountain.

I let out a huge roar of “JAMMING ON THE ONE!” that echoed through the mists and clouds. Only to hear “Ya sas (hello)” returned from the peak next me. Then, the mists cleared a minute: “oh, you are higher!” the other peak said. And I watched as two young Greek kids descended their peak and climbed mine.

After some fist pumps for making the peak, we each went our separate ways. I walked back down to the Ranger station. I then got a lift almost all the way back to my bike from a Czech family that was on vacation.

Additionally, I did almost no pedaling all the way back to Argostoli as I got to go down those two long hills.

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