Aesthetics in Walking

Interview with mountaineer Christos Makridis

a townsman seeking refuge

March 23rd 2019

How long have you been trekking? Who or what inspired you to start?

My very first attempt was at Ohi mountain, the southern peak of Euboea island, during the summer of 2012. It was already too many years by then, that I felt the need to come closer to the nature, via hiking, camping or any other activity. My close circle of friends had a very different view of how good vacation should be. I did follow, but did not really find what I was looking for, so that summer I dared to proceed alone for a few days camping. After that excursion, after that under 5km hike, my life took a very interesting turn.

Do you have any sense memories from your walking practice, other than ‘sight’ ones?

One thing that contact with nature, through any non-motorized activity generously offers, is the awakening of the senses. In the city, I sometimes feel numbed. But the smell of wet soil notifying you of a nearby rain, the sound of the leaves on a summer night, the touch of the grass on a spring day, even the taste of spring water… In nature, all senses are necessary, they all become active, the mind stops racing and begins to just feel.

How do you explore aspect of your personality through your exposure in nature?

It is exactly those luxurious moments, that being in nature offers; those moments that one can just be, one can just feel; those moments that all noisy thoughts that occupy our daily life are eliminated silently, simply forgotten even for a while; it is those moments that one can finally meet himself. I believe it is like meditation, only easier… maybe it is meditation… I’m not sure if it qualifies. I know thought that it is an amazing clarifying process, which seems almost automated. Get out there, relief your tension with some physical activity (hiking, cycling, climbing, running, whatever will do), relax, breath, feel… everything else comes by itself. Oh! Try also to stay disconnected! Posting in social media is something that if you really need to do, can be done when you return. While being there, just try to enjoy those precious moments.

Was there one person that you met whom you will always remember?

I don’t know if it is because I was extremely lucky, but I believe I could fill a bus with people that I’d never forget. But there is one relation that generally stands out in my opinion, one’s climbing partner. The bond created by the mutual trust, the endless hours, the ever going mental pushes from one to the other, sharing the numerous failures and occasional successes; you reach a point that you can tell what your partner needs or thinks, before he even realizes it and vice versa. In my opinion this is also the hardest part of rock climbing. Finding the right partner. Everything else is just a matter of time.

Was there one moment that really stuck out as memorable?

Well, like the first love one never forgets, I’d have to say my first peak, at mount Ohi. Standing at the top, enjoying the view at all directions, watching how small the beach I had camped seemed from the mountain’s top, having a new perception of all in an instance; a whole new way of living before my eyes.

What is your favourite photograph?

Maybe I could single out this one, since it kind of makes me “see the silence”.

Finally, what’s your next big adventure?

I would like to expand my excursions to other countries, meet different cultures, and view different forms of nature.