Tymfrestos, also known as Velouchi, is a mountain located in central Greece, between the prefectures of Eurytania and Phthiotis. It reaches a maximum elevation of 2315 AMSL which makes it the 17th highest in the country. It is neighbored by the Agrafa mountains to the north, and the Kaliakouda and Vardousia mountains to the south. Its lower slopes are dominated by thick forests while on its higher levels it’s mostly covered by grassland. This is the mountain we were bound to conquer that day.
It was quite an early morning, though already hot as crazy, when we started driving from Chalkida city towards the mountain. We took the road leading to Lamia via Thebes and Livadeia, so to avoid paying the 10 euro tolls which would have cost getting there by the highway. We drove briefly inside the city to drop off a Ukranian hitchhiker we’d picked up a while ago, and continued on our way to the west, deep into the Greek mainland. We followed the road almost all the way to Karpenisi until, a few km after Tymfrestos village, there is a little sketchy road leaving to the right on 38.8964-21.8889.
There was a sign prohibiting access to the road. It did not give any good reason why, so we took it anyway. That was the only road leading to the point where we were intending to start the ascent from. It was fine, so we kept driving along the eastern slope of the mountain for some more time. Then, the reason of the prohibition became, finally, apparent. There had been a landslide and the reconstruction of the road was underway. Luckily, we encountered the dead-end only a short distance before our desired spot. So we just left the car there and continued on foot.
It was early afternoon by then. We were already quite high up, any traits of forest had long given out, and the inexorable heat was hammering violently the nude mountain. At 38.9399 21.8595 we left the road and started moving upwards the slope straight to the west. This first part of the hike, due to the combination of the midday summer heat and the steep inclination, was a hard one. We decided to not move much further for the day. There were still some last, few, lonely fir trees, scattered here and there throughout the slope. We definitely needed to take advantage of some one of them to spend the rest of the day under its allaying foliage. So we did. We made it to one of the firs which grew on a fairly even ground, we pitched the tent, and stayed there enjoying the glorious, silent wilderness.
That hot day did eventually give its place to a chilly, windy night. All the brightest objects of half the universe flooded the black sky for the while it took the sun to reemerge from the other side; and as it did, its warm rays shone straight through the tent’s door which was perfectly oriented towards the east. It was time to head up. We left the tent together with everything as it was, and started on our way. We went up what little was left of that steep slope and ended up on the col connecting the main peak of the mountain with its eastern extension. We had some easy walk while traversing the col, and then, approaching the main peak, the inclination turned steep once again. Fortunately, as we were gaining height, the wind kept blowing ever stronger, mitigating the bad effect of the heat which was severe since early in the morning already. Right foot ahead, left foot ahead… this repeated over and over again… we were by noon time standing on the top of Mount Tymfrestos. The views over the mountain’s green slopes through the clear blue sky were absolutely stunning. The surrounding high mountains and the narrow valleys below were seeming like belonging to some other world; causing, too, a feeling of extracorporeality and belonging to another world to every human soul observing all that. That was pretty much how yet another expedition up the marvelous Greek mountains went by.
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