lefka ori

Today we ventured a bit westward to Crete's White Mountains (Lefka Ori) - not so white at the moment - more like a stone desert. We started in Ammoudari to make the ascent up to the plateau of Niatos on up the spine of Mount Kastro. The trail was well marked with painted lines on the rocks, as we switchbacked up a forested trail. After passing over the plateau, posts just close enough to see from one to the next, guided the way up the rocky terrain and provided points to pause and look out while working our way up the vertiginous spine.

Plateau of Niatos:

I'm usually pretty confident in the mountains, but something about the steep, rocky spine and narrow ledges took me a little while to gain comfortable footing, maybe just being early in the hiking season or the remoteness. After a few deep breaths, focussing on the trail instead of the tininess of everything below, the spine became fun as we mountain goated our way up and back down from rock to rock. Retracing the trail back to town, we hiked a strong 8 hours, finishing, as usual, just as we run out of daylight.