Chris at the top of the ridge.

If you’ve been reading the blog, you saw that the last entry, View From the Top, was posted by my husband.  We received numerous comments about his post, giving him kudos for being so adventurous and hiking so high up into the mountains.  It is something that you don’t find many locals doing, unless of course, they have or had to do so.  I just wanted to write to you all know, that we (the kids and I) made it to the top with him this past Saturday.

The kids at the top of the ridge, a week later.

So many of you know Chris, and know him well.  For those of you who don’t, Chris is someone who sets lofty goals for himself, and for his family!  Last weekend he took us on a hike called The Round of Raches on Foot.  Raches is an area on the island that is in the mountains and is absolutely beautiful.  I mentioned the remoteness of the village of Raches in the post Olive Oil, and I shared how the villagers of Raches were fairly protected from the German/Italian occupation of the island during WWII because of its geographic location.  This “short” 18km hike (6 mile) is part of a larger trail system that covers the western part of the island.  Elias and Chris were unable to go on an overnight backpacking trip this visit, so Chris thought it would be great if, as a family, we hiked “Round Raches” the first weekend he was here.  The hike took us down into river beds, up high in the hills, past small churches and century old stone buildings, through villages, to an abandoned watermill and back to the small reservoir we had visited before school began.  We spent six hours on the trail that day, with a stop in the town of Christos Raches for a lunch of toasts and Fanta sodas.  The hike wasn’t too strenuous, but it was a bit ambitious.  I can pretty much assure you that if it weren’t for Chris to motivate us, it is something that I wouldn’t have done with the kids alone.

I suppose since the kids were such good sports hiking “Round Raches,” Chris thought it would be a great idea to hike them to the ridge of the mountain to see the view from above.   He cut us a break and allowed us to drive part way up the mountain to the town of Arethousa, which is situated above Karavostamo.   From there, we set off, again, following the “red dot” trail markers along the ground.  It took us the better part of two hours of hiking to reach the top.  We stopped twice–for a small snack and a chance to rest our legs.  I found a nice flat rock and laid down, soaking up the warmth of the sun and drifted away into my own little piece of paradise.  The kids had fun throwing rocks and having stick sword fights, and I believe Chris paced around, anxious to continue walking.  Chris did a fantastic job of describing the view, but he said our view was different.  When he reached the top, it was earlier in the morning and he was higher than the clouds, which were still low in the vallies below.   Our view consisted of nothing but clear blue skies, glorious landscapes, and the sea.  We could clearly see the neighboring islands of Samos, Fourni, and the country of Turkey.   We stayed at the top for over an hour, eating lunch and just enjoying.  Eventually we made or descent by the way of a road, instead of the trail.  Because of a wrong turn and the way that the road followed the ridges of the mountains, we didn’t get down any quicker than we went up.  It was another six-hour hiking day.

Chris leaves again on Thursday, and we’ll have to get use to the idea of being apart again.  When he is here he does so much more than take us on crazy hikes. He plays with the kids and makes their lunches.  He helps me cook and clean, and does odd jobs around the house for my father and my cousin.  He talks with us and makes us laugh.  And he makes us do things we would never have done otherwise.  His goals are lofty, and often times I think they are too ambitious, but he helps us reach them.  We saw more of the island in the past three weeks than most people who live here ever see.  That being said, I know what the kids and I will do this coming weekend, once he’s returned to America.  Nothing.

17 comments on “Chris

  1. renie beidleman says:

    Wow!! He sounds just like our dad! A great motivator. I am sure that will be our experience when we come to Greece as a family. Hiking backcountry and roaming all the islands never mind settling in one place for a bit of time! Seriously, what a huge gift you are giving your kids. So proud of you!! God will give you the strength to get thru the challenging times. You are an amazing family. So proud of you!!! Blessings from Lancaster, xoxo

    • jandcfox says:

      Thank ou Renie! I so appreciate the love, support and prayers. There are difficult times, but very few compared to the blessings we’ve had so far. It’s been almost three months and it has gone by very quickly. I am not sure I will want to return. I hope that you, too, get an opportunity to explore Greece in the way that I have. It is amazing. Love to you and all back home.

  2. Maddie Ouellette says:

    Sounds amazing Jackie! Savor it all!! It must be hard to say goodbye:( Annie and Kristy went to Samos and loved it! Will you do any island hoppong while your there? Tale care!

    • jandcfox says:

      We went to Samos in the summer and did love that as well. Getting to islands from Ikaria is difficult, but we may get to another one when my mom visits. We will have to see. Getting off of an island is quite a challenge!

  3. Susan Mikolajczyk says:

    =) ! Love you all! Tell Rea she could be a cheerleader- love the pic. of her atop the rock!

    • jandcfox says:

      🙂 I love that you smile at all my posts!!! I’ll pass the message on to Rea. Hope all is well. Miss you friend!

  4. Phil Jaquith says:

    I’m living the experience with you……I miss you in class and our talks afterwards. Be safe good friend!


    • jandcfox says:

      Thanks for chiming in. I was going to have to give you a hard time for commenting on Chris’s blog, but not my entries! 🙂 Hoping your new position is wonderful and you aren’t traveling too much. I miss you and the classes as well, however I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to return. I haven’t lifted a weight in three months! Take care!

  5. Roula cochran says:

    well done to you all! it is amazing that very very few locals have done this hike and those will be the ones that have their goats,(raska,means wild goats) left to graze on the mountain. you tasted them at the Panigiri.
    Now i want to do it, and if you feel energetic enough to do it again, i will set it as my gold for the spring/summer when i am next there.never to old to try, but i will get myself fit by then!

    • jandcfox says:

      Yes…start walking! We’ll do it together and you can tell me all about the herbs and spices we are walking past. This trip we walked past a lot of Oregano, and it smelled wonderful!

  6. Nancy says:

    Miss you! You all look so happy and relaxed. We are all envious of your awesome adventures! But please, come back to us!

  7. Jill Sherman says:

    Hi again Jackie! I enjoyed the adventure Chris took you guys on! What troopers you all are! I wish you did this when my kids were young…I feel so inspired by you to do something similar but I missed the boat already!Kudos to you!!! I have a lump in my throat for you to say goodbye to Chris…that must be so hard. I say this all of the time but I am soooo soooo proud of you!!!

  8. Joe says:

    So, should we look forward to a joint guest blog from Thelma and Louise, errrr …., Penny and Mary, when they come to visit in a couple of weeks?

  9. Demetra Mavrophilipos says:

    Hi koumbara!….. Catching up on your Blog…… So proud of you for seeing the island that no 1 else sees… exciting!!!!…..please tell zach happy birthday….and kiss everyone else for us….you are doing an amazing job….xo!

    • jandcfox says:

      Thank you love! I am thinking of you on the eve of Zacharia’s birthday and hoping he can feel my love from across the ocean. Tell Marcos my dream is for all of the cousins to move here and live forever. It’s an amazing place and we are all too spread out in America! Miss you!

  10. […] has walked a lot of the trails on the island, and this fall he even took us on a few long hikes.  The trails were marked with red dots and in some cases, the signs like you see above.  Awhile […]

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