Carley Carpenter hiked her way through the Mediterranean terrain during the Spring semester and kindly shares some of her thoughts here. Carley was awarded the Co-curricular Certificate for her interesting account of her hiking experiences.
Having the opportunity to spend the semester in Greece is one I will never have again. Over these past few months, I have learned a lot of new information, saw incredible historical and tourist sights, built relationships, and made memories. For my Co-curricular Learning Certificate, I want to incorporate all of those things and write a reflection about all of the climbs/hikes I have done and what those mean to me. I have done many varying length hikes throughout the semester.
This semester, I have climbed to the top of the Acropolis, Filopappou Hill, Mount Parnitha, The Acropolis of Rhodes, the mountain at The Ranch, Mount Lycabettus, Acrocorinth, another mountain in Corinth, along the Caldera in Santorini, up to the Active Volcano of Nea Kameni, Mount Pentelikon, Parnes Mountain, and Kytheron Mountain. Each hike has been very different but very enjoyable. Many of these hikes I completed multiple time. Each time I hike with others, I try to connect with someone different about something. When I hike alone, I like to make connections with the conditions around me. I want to remember small details about each trek I make. I study Neuroscience, so connections are a huge part of what I love to study. Over the semester, I have made more connections with people and the environment through hiking/climbing.
Because I have completed many hikes, I want to focus on three specifically. The three are Mount Lycabettus, Acrocorinth, and along the Caldera in Santorini. The reason why I chose these three is because one was completed by myself, one was completed with friends, and one was completed with my family.
Mount Lycabettus was the first hike that I completed by myself. This was a special hike because at the beginning of the hike I was feeling rather homesick and at the end of the hike I was feeling excited about being in Athens. I was wondering around Plaka one Sunday morning early in the semester and I saw the tip of the church bell in the distance and I decided to make the hike up the mountain. It was a refreshing hike because I got lost at the beginning and was on little dirt roads until I found the main path. Once I got to the top, I saw a different angle of the Parthenon and the city of Athens and loved the view. I already knew I am an independent person, but this hike proved to myself that I am able to be independent in a completely foreign city.
The second hike I want to talk about is the hike to the top of the Acrocorinth. This climb was completed with my peers during the Photography Class excursion. On this hike, I had a lot of fun with my classmates and we took a lot of posed and candid photos to remember the trip by. This hike was incredible because I made stronger connections with my classmates and saw breathtaking landscapes and incredible ancient monuments. During this hike, I spent time with some people I did not know well and I made some new friends. I believe that many of the friends I have made during this hike and throughout the entire semester are friends I will have after the program as well.
The third hike that I want to focus on is the Hike along the Caldera in Santorini. This hike, by far, had the most incredible views. It was also the longest hike I completed at a little over 6 miles. This hike was one that I completed when my family was visiting Greece. This hike was so fun because of the wonderful weather and beautiful sights, but also because I spent it with the people who are closest to my heart. I have missed my family very much this semester and it was wonderful to experience a cool hike with them. I learned on this hike where I belong is not necessarily where I am but who I am with.
All of the hikes I did were different and they each taught me different things. I have had a wonderful semester in Greece and I am very happy that I chose to put an emphasis on hiking and climbing Greek terrains. After looking through all of my photos from my time in Greece, and I have realized that I tend to take pictures of green things. I adore taking pictures of nature and I have finally recognized why that is. I take photos of nature because it is what makes me feel the most at home while I am away from home. I live in a rural area that has open landscapes and pastures. Hiking in Greece in the environments that are similar to what I am used to has helped me feel more at home in Greece. Hiking and climbing in Greece has enhanced my time here because I have taken the time to reflect on my experiences that have made me the most comfortable in Greece. I have also been able to really reflect on the relationships I have formed while doing something I love. I loved experiencing these moments and writing about these moments.