Mount Helicon may not enjoy the honor of a good position amongst Greece’s highest mountains, coming only 59th in the row. Despite its nearly insignificant heigh (1749m) however, it may well boast of being one of the most renowned mountains in the world concerning its millennia-long, rich history and tradition. This mountain has been carrying a sacred notion since a lost-in-the-depth-of-time era for ancient Greek and Roman people. Numerous prominent incidents of their mythology took place on its slopes. And Hippocrene and Aganippe, the Muses who used to inhabit its mystical forests, have been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for many generations of poets. Mount Helicon’s vicinity to Athens makes it an ideal destination for a day trip. So, at some time before the sunrise of a winter morning, we were starting from Greece’s capital to perform a pilgrimage to this revered mountain.
We drive on the highway leading north towards Lamia, we take the exit to Thebes and Livadia, and a few km before the latter we turn left towards the village of Aghia Anna. The day had just broke in when, that day, we arrived at the village and the clear sky above us was promising a sunny day of rare beauty. We parked the car and we took the trail, which starts on the uppermost point of the village (38.314622 22.900135).
From here on we follow the well-signaled trail running along the ravine, inside a deep fir-forest of a very mystical character. Wondering at the mysteries of this ancient forest, while enjoying the constant accompaniment of the Muses and every sort of spirit inhabiting the forest, we soon leave the vegetation behind us and we follow the trail along the rather naked slope till we reach a plateau with a small shack made of cement-bricks standing on it. Here we see the summit towering right in front of us. We can choose either to follow the road we’ll find zigzaging up the slope, from where sparse marks will lead the easy way up the top, or just take a rather faster line straight up.
No matter how, we’ll soon find ourselves standing on the peak gazing at the amazing view around it. The land of Boeotia and Euboea with its white mountains to the east. Parnassus, Giona and the rest of the South Pindus bulky mountains to the west. The shimmering Gulf of Corinth and Peloponnese to the south. Generally a creation which resulted after mother nature’s inspiration of the sublimest kind. After having marveled all this for some time (and having got frozen enough), it was time to start descending. The abundant, fresh, meek snow covering the slope, made the descent easy, rapid and very funny, as the only thing needed to be done was to let yourself at the mercy of gravitation. The only little problem was that for some time I had to regret bitterly my decision to leave my wellington-boots back in the car. As the snow, penetrating into my shoes, gave birth to a slight suspicion that some of my toes shall get amputated in the near future. Nothing like that happened of course, and a few hours after we were back down, getting ready to return to civilization while recollecting the solemn experiences of the day.