Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chimaera: Is This Burning and Eternal Flame?

What's part lion, part goat, part dragon, and all fire? If you answered Chimaera, you'd be right. A short walk from Olympos is the mythical mountain of eternal flames. No really. After a late night, 7 km hike that began at 9 pm along a beach, "crossing" a river, walking through a village alongside a mountain, and arriving at a makeshift ticket stand manned by one man and one rabid German Shepperd, we arrived at a small mountain with eternal flames.

Though "scientists" don't quite "know" why flames spontaneously burst out of the volcanic rock here (wha?), it might involve some methane gas, and anyway, it's truly an amazing site. As you walk up the hill, flames of all sizes seem to creep out of the crevices in the rocks, some quite large and worthy of cooking salami over, or so we're told. We had a great time climbing around the rocks with our headlamps and checking out the fires. We also heard a lot of owls (sorta creepy), so after drying Dennis' socks and shoes, we left.

Which brings up our escapade-like walk to the mountain. While mostly uneventful (some dogs barking, the strong smell of lemon trees, pitch black part of the way), we had decided to try to cross the 3 meter wide river that flows into the Mediterranean by jumping over it. What makes a man believe he can do something he wasn't capable of 20 years ago? I'm not sure, but in this case, no alcohol was involved! On the way back, we had the good sense to take off our shoes and socks, hike up our pants, and brave the cold water. We arrived back at the tree house at 1:30 am--tired, but dry.

-k & d

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