Friday, August 1, 2008

The ascent of the Kakomouri headland

(an account of the daring and intrepid ascent of this previously unclimbed – except by other people – mountain overlooking Plakias bay)

For a week I’d reclined
With not much on my mind
In the Ostraco beachside taverna.
And my plans to go hiking,
Once much to my liking,
Had been very much on the back burner.
But my conscience was roused
By the choice thus espoused
With a strength that conspired to floor me,
So I sucked on my lime
And avowed I would climb
The bloody great headland before me.

So next morn, I awoke
With a post-Raki croak
And set out in my shorts and my sandals.
And though it was still night,
The moon’s bounteous light
Meant I’d no need for torches or candles.
Round the beach road I strolled
With my sweat running cold,
Hoping any stray dogs would ignore me,
Till I reached that great rock
When it came as a shock
The extent of the journey before me.

It was huge, it was massive,
Aloof and impassive
And I felt an illegal usurper.
As I started to sweat
I began to regret
That I’d not thought to hire a Sherpa.
Along the cliff’s base
I redoubled my pace
As a sense of adventure swam o’er me.
With my guide-book in hand, I would conquer this land,
Despite all the dangers before me.

To the cliff’s end I went
And began the ascent,
Still in the deep shade of the mountain.
A faint path up the scree
Led diagonally –
Fifty yards, eighty and countin’.
On the path a large goat
In a black woolly coat
Scampered off round a rock when he saw me,
And I envied his speed
As I viewed rock and weed
That adorned the slight pathway before me.

At the top of this climb,
I sat down for a time
And gulped some large mouthfuls of water,
Which lightened the load
And conclusively showed
I was right not to hire a porter.
Then I turned to the left
And hopped gully and cleft
As ambition continued to draw me
Ever higher and higher,
As my heart filled with fire
And the sunlight grew stronger before me.

At the end of this track,
I again doubled back
With another diagonal sortie.
And, as the sun baked,
How my knee muscles ached
And I wished I was not over forty.
Another sheer cliff,
And I wasn’t sure if
I was right ‘bout this pathway that bore me.
It was faint, indistinct
And I dubiously blinked
At the words on the page held before me.

But I went with the book
Round each cranny and nook,
To the final ascent I was seeking.
As I skirted large boulders,
The bag hurt my shoulders
And my knees kept their incessant creaking.
Then a dip hove to view
Up above and I knew
That the gods could no longer ignore me.
No way would I plummet
So near to the summit
With such world-famous glory before me.

Further upwards I rambled,
Occasionally scrambled
With the brown vegetation quite prickly.
My legs were all scraped,
Not a square inch escaped,
And the sweat down my neck became trickly.
When I got to the top
I decided to stop,
Cursing loud at the plants that did score me.
And I sat on a rock
At just seven o’clock
Gazing down at the view spread before me.

Just one final slope!
Up I climbed, full of hope.
The “pathway” was now indiscernible.
I clambered o’er rocks,
Taking plenty of knocks,
Wondering hard if this route was returnable.
I scaled one last lip
And my heart gave a skip,
As grave doubts had continued to gnaw me.
I was there! I’d o’ercome it!
I’d got to the summit!
Oh great joy unconfined!
(Though disgusted to find
That a German had got there before me.)

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