My Life in Words
My Life in Words
I have to admit it feels like I am being unfaithful to my 'marriage' to kalymnos, Greece.
Over the past 10 years i have 8 trips to Kalymnos, usually for 2 months each trip. There is a saying about Kalymnos, "Make sure you climb everywhere else in the world before you come to Kalymnos, because once you climb here you will not want to climb anyplace else. Kalymnos has never failed to be a solid destination for me. With over 3,000 bolted lines a climber will never run out of climbing. Everything is easy there. Cheap accomodation, lots of climbing partners, stunningly beautiful and excellent climbing. What more could you ask for in a climbing destination? it has been a solid marriage between myself and Kalymnos.
Now I spent 3 weeks flirting with leonidio,Greece and must admit I feel completely in love with this place. I hate to compare because the both are wonderful, like 2 handsome men. Leonidio is also by the sea as a new climbing destination there are already over 1,000 climbs and that is just the beginning. There is so much quality rock here and nothing hints of being polished. Kalymnos has been a destination for over 10 years and some of the classic crags are showing signs of wear, little wrinkles but still beautiful.
The lines in leonidio are magically fun. Right now i have a 7A plus project at King of Thrones. it is a King line! Some of the funnest tufa climbing i have ever done! Then there is The Brown cougar I on-sited at Scadiantico crag. A musical note line! You can make it 7A plus if you add the extension.
The town is charming and pedestrien friendly. The maze of narrow cobblestone streets feature delicious restaurants, lots of local produce such as greens, mandarins, lemons and figs, aromas of fresh baking from the numerous bakeries, and dark chocolate made in the store sweetened with stevia with dried fruits and nuts. These are to die for. i cannot seem to walk past tht store without having one. Leonidio is a temptress.
I was told before coming here not to come alone that i would have a hard time finding a climbing partner. This is not true! There is an exceptional climbing cafe/bar here called Panjika. it is a co-operative of climbers and all the profits go towards climbing development. it play great music, has excellent health food, and displays very creative local art. This is the palce to go connect with other climbers and start networkking your climbing community. It is one of the best climbing bars i have seen.
Also there is a myth that you need a car. Just not true as you can walk to so many of the areas from town. Having a car does give you more options.
There are many great places to stay. The Semeli Caming has tent sites and camper sites for 5 euros/nite and is by Plaka beach, a beautiful long, sandy beach. Also you can find apartments for 150 to 300 euros / month.
The locals here have embraced the climbers. Each day I hitch to town from Plakka beach were I stay and am picked up by a friendly local who takes great pride in making me feel welcome. At the grocery store the owner throws a dozen mandarins in my bag at no extra cost. i went to check out the menu at the Dolphin Seafood Restaurant on Plaka Beach and was taken in the kitchen and shown all the fresh fish and vegetarian foo they served and offered to sit on the terrace and have a drink on the house! you want Ozo? wine? and they brought a plate of fish and olives on the house! Hospitality at its finest.
Yes my relationship with leonidio is new and maybe it is just a fling but right now it is january and the temps are mid teens and sunny each day. i have 1,000 high quality climbs to explore. No reason to go anyplace else til my visa runs out!
.Yesterday on my way down from Marmot Basin Ski Resort I saw a 1 year old Lynx kitten.
She was just kicked out from Mom to be on her own. She was very undisturbed by our presence. It typical cat fashion she sat on a log with our back to us so ambivalently Then calmly, she turned her head and looked me in the eye.
I had not seen a lynx for 10 yeas so needless to say I was very excited.
I went home to look up the indigenous spiritual meaning. The message related to secrets and vision of the hidden or unseen resonated deeply with me.
For fun I shuffled the deck of 50 cards and without looking picked a card.
Guess which one I picked?
She was there for me!
1. Cavell Meadows
2. Sentinel Pass
3. Opal Peak
4. Cory Pass
5.. Wilcox Pass and Parker's Ridge
6. Iceline Trail
7. Snowbird Pass
8. Helen Lakes
9. Bow Falls at Bow :Lake
10. All my secret trails
Decide to go for a yoga class in Pokhara before trekking in the Annapurna range. My yoga teacher seemed surprised that it was my 7th trip to Nepal. "Wow! It's your crown chakra trip!"
I had visited the Khopra Lodge 6 years ago and was blown away by the beauty and remote feeling of this lodge. While there, I heard a guide say,"there is a village higher than Poon Hill (the famous viewpoint of sunrise over the Annapurnas in which you get up at 5 am and trek for one hour to see the view). While this village was supposed to be higher than Poon Hill and you just pulled back the curtain in your bedroom to see the stunning view! This became my objective for my trek.
I had been told that this was a very local trail and yes it was! For the first three days I did not see one westerner. The experiences were so genuine on this off the beaten path trek. One night I arrived exhausted at a village with no guesthouse that I could see.
One lady came out and kept yelling : "ikely? ikely?", as if I was crazy. Turned out this meant, alone? yes this was not something a women in Nepal would do, travel on their own in the mountains. She definitely thought I was crazy.
Soon her neighbor came out to see what was going on. She motioned to follow her. Next thing I knew she was cooking me dinner, rice, green veggies and beans. I loved sitting in the small kitchen meeting the friends and family.
The next neight, again I could not find a guesthouse. A very kind man escorted me to a nearby village where I stayed with a teacher and his family. The following day he got two of his 16 year old students to be my porters (these two girls took turns carrying my pack) and they gave me insights into the culture. They believed in arranged marriages and were not interested in having a boyfriendeven though they were stylish and sexy.
I ended up somehow not finding the village I was looking for but did make to the Khopra Lodge at 3800 meters on the full moon and spring equinox. I will never forget the stunning scenery and I will hold dearly in my heart the kindness of the Nepalese people.
I walked through an alpine meadow
Paint brush had pride
Fairies and pixies hide
Their presence cannot be denied...