I began looking at hiking a bit differently after making a Pilgrimage with a capital P and hiking up, down and around the Holy Mountain of Greece.
Journeying to the remarkable Mt. Athos, home to twenty Orthodox Christian monasteries, where the monks live and work today as they did in the Middle Ages was a profoundly moving experience: architectural treasures; trails that have been isolated from the world for a thousand years; the wisdom and the spirituality of monks; a place where no females are allowed, that fact alone focused my attention inward and to a contemplative place.
Here was an other-worldly place that stirred my soul. I visited several monasteries, talked at length with the fathers and hiked up to the top of Mt. Athos—as close to heaven as I’ll likely ever get, at least on earth.
I highly recommend the recent 60 Minutes Report on Mount Athos. Read the story about the challenges of filming in this remote location with the monasteries rising out of precipitous cliffs.
Agion Oron, the Holy Mountain, has several faces: an Aegean landscape of astonishing beauty; monasteries of an architectural genius that will not be seen again; two thousand monks living much the same as their brothers in Christ did, a thousand years ago.
Check out this video footage 60 Minutes shot on Mt. Athos. I promise to write more about my visit to Mt. Athos, where I took a hike like no other, one that altered the course of my life in the most profound way.