I planned to bounce out of bed this morning, drive 45 minutes east, and climb the 3,500 feet up Mt. Si for an unprecedented third time this season. But I didn't bounce. I fixed coffee, thought of other things I might do (things that seemed of trivial importance last night), and now find myself at my accustomed spot in front of my computer monitor.
I leave Seattle on Monday for my trek on Crete. But before reaching Crete, I spend several days wandering about in Athens. My first day of actual physical activity won't be until Sunday, October 2. My last exertion of any note was my hike to Colchuck Lake, ten days ago. I need a little booster shot of exercise hormones about now to keep myself conditioned for October 2.
October 2 will be a climb of Mt. Gingilos, near the start of the walk through Samaria Gorge. After studying whatever I could find out about Gingilos on-line, I conclude that our group will be climbing approximately 2,500 feet -- similar to other hikes I've done this summer. But the climb is rocky, and the temperatures will be hotter than the near-perfect in all ways temperatures of the Northwest Corner. Part of the climb will be on scree -- loose gravelly stuff that increases the effort required significantly -- and a small part of it will be a scramble over boulders requiring use of hands.
Have they begun the trek with this obstacle course for the express purpose of weeding out old codgers like me? Unanswerable. In any event, the next day is the red letter day of the trek -- the ten-mile descent through world-famous Samaria Gorge, over a trail composed of rocks, until we finally drag our bodies into the village of Agia Roumeli on the island's south coast. The following day is a free day, with optional hikes to "ancient Turkish forts," and the day after that is a walk along the coast.
On October 6, we drive part way up the mountain called Pachmes, and then hike to the top. Again, perusing the internet, this seems to be an easier, although higher elevation, climb than was Gingilos. And again, about a 2,500 foot climb.
So, this is nowhere near as rigorous -- or long -- a trek as my high elevation walks in the Chinese Pamirs last year, or in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan in 2013. But it also means we jump right into it with no easy warm up days, as are usually planned for longer treks.
I'll be surrounded by Brits, and therefore need to uphold America's reputation, if any, for pluck and determination.
And so -- although I'm not climbing Mt. Si today, I almost certainly will be tomorrow.