Hallo my brothers. I will talk today about posible dangers you might face as a pilgrim to Holy Mount Athos. Some unfortunate incidents happed over the years to pilgrims that got lost in the wild or had an accident. So we must keep some things in mind to avoid unplesent surprises. Hagion Oros (Mount Athos) is a fantastic place untouched by time The nature there is wild. But except the charm of such a virgin place there are some dangers there we must have in mind. Especially to the ones that don’t have much experience of such places like me, i’m a city man. But i think that if we take some precautions will be fine. Let’s start with the hiking. I belive one of the best parts of the visit besides the spiritual matters, is the hiking between the monasteries by using the local paths. It’s great walking inside this wild nature, and the forest. All the paths have signs. There are signs showing you the way from one monastery to the other, but there are many branches and so we must be carreful not to loose the main path and go to unsafe places like cliffs e.t.c. It’s very important to find out how the weather will be. Even at Summer it’s posible that a suddent thunder storm comes along. So we must then walk in heavy rain than is quite dangerous because the path can be slippery e.t.c. But even the main paths can be dangerous at some points. There could be wild vegetation on top of the road but below that there can be a void. So if we step there we could fall from a big hight. So we must never go near the edge of the paths. We try to go as close to the mountain if it’s there. So if we see wild vegetation or snow or even if we are not sure if it’s safe at some poind tryit first before you step on it. So it’s good to have with us a mountaineering cane. This one is folding and cheap . So we can have it with us and test the ground like this we hit hard and see if the ground is good to step on. I would say it’s an essential tool. It also has a flash light and a compass. I would make another video about the equipment to have there. If we leave from a monastery just to take a walk around it wound be wise to inform the monk in charge. Say where you going and what time about you will be back. In addition to that it wound be good to leave our cell phone number to at least two other pilgrims. And tell them that if we don’t come back in time to give us a call to make sure we are safe. Another thing is that we shoudn’t go for hiking along we must be two or more persons so if someone is in trouble, the other one will call for help. If along the way we feel sick or dizzy , it happens because of the bright sun or poor nutrition and many walking hours, so we must look for a place without direct sunlight and seat there, rest for at least 30 minutes drink some water, and wait for a while. If we see that we aren’t getting any better we call for help. We must have our cell phone with us all the times. Also an extra battery or a power bank to charge it. The mobile phones companies signal at Athos is not very strong, so in result the battery runs out very fast. A company may not have signal at all at an area and so on. The number we must call at an emergency is 112 the European emergency number When we call this number the phone will find any network available so we don’t have to worry if out network don’t have signal at the area. We can even call theemergency number without having a sim card on our mobile. We must call this number only in a case of an emergency so the help arrives. So in the case of an accident or we get lost in the forest and can’t find our way back and it’s getting very late, i heart many stories of this situation, after we call for help we must do some other steps too. First of all we must wear bright clothes an if this is not the case it’s good to have with us a yellow flashing vest. We usally use them at car accidents. It’s cheap and dosen’t take too much space. Here it is. You just wear it over your clothes so the rescue crews can spot you easy, even from the air. So we put one in the back pack just in case. Another useful item is this whistle. It’s also cheap and easy to fit in the backpack. In a case of emergency maybe we are in a bad shape and we can’t shout for help. So this has a stong sound and they can hear us from a distance. Another tip is to carry a light back pack, 10-13 kilos the most so we can move more easy on the trekking. We must have appropriate shoes too. I would recomment hiking boots but a pair of sport shoes will be fine too. Some other items we must have is a bottle of water the walking stick , a flash light a multi tool or knife. A usefull item for case of emergency would be a chemical light so they can spot us at night. A map would be very useful also. There are maps with the paths of Athos. they have GPS coordinates on them. We could also have a compass or even better a GPS device. The GPS on the mobile phone is fine but as i mentioned we must take care of the phone’s battery. And also have a power bank to charge it. When we call the 112 emergency number it would be very useful to give them the coordinates of our current position. We can find them on the google maps when we click on a position it show us two numbers. Thats the coordinates of that place. If we have the GPS switch ON to our mobile phone, 112 stuff will detect us automatically. Another issue, during the Winter the weather at Athos is very bad has much snow storms and the paths are covered with snow so we must check the ground for a void underneath. Also is very slippery. So we must be very careful especially at Winter. If somebody would like to climb up to the Athos mountain top i would say to avoid it on winter because there are many thunder storms there. Also very strong wind. So better leave it for other Seasons. Another danger is the wild animals. First of all at the end of Fall and on Winter wolves migrate on the peninsula of Athos. Mostly near Chilandar and Vatopedi monasteries at the “Bay”road on the mountain. But in other areas too there have been reports of wolves attacking mules, near the monasteries. So we must be very careful not to stay out on the wild late at night but be early at the monastery they always close the gates with the sundown. So adjust the route to be early at the destination. Maybe there are wild boars out there too. So we must always stay alert. Many snakes and scorpions too. I have seen baby vipers that you can step on without seen them and they can bite. So we must always have a good pair of shoes and a long pair of trousers. it’s compulsory to wear long ones anyway. I use one that has a rubber at the end so nothing can go in and bite. I remember at Stavronikita monastery they have a big arbor above there and a snake fall from up there less than half a meter away from me. So we must be careful of these wild creatures. It’s expected to have many on a virgin place like that. Another danger i like to mention is a small insect the bed bug. Many of us know about them from the army. We seen them before. It’s an invisible threat, usually you can’t see them you understaind they were there after the bites. Unfortunately they spread very easy. We usually carry them without knowing and even take them to our home. And then it’s very hard to ger rid of them. We must hire a proffesional exterminator and try hard to kill them. It’s a very small bug 1mm long the adult the little ones are almost invisible. It has a brown, red color It feeds only with blood. Animal and human blood of course. So we find it at Athos on areas that are many mules around. It feeds from them mostly. It’s usually hiden in the bed , the mattress and around it. It come out at night when we sleep it bites us leaving a row of bites on our skin It’s not easy to distinguish a bed bug bite from a mosquito bite. Some people might not give attention to it. It also has a type of anesthetic on its saliva so you don’t feel the bite at the time. So these very tiny bugs can very easy get in our bags shoes and clothes. They don’t transfer with the human, they can’t hide on the body or hair. They only transfer with the luggage and shoes. So we must be very careful in order not to spread them in other places. I will tell you what i do and haven’t had problems over this years. I always keep in my back pack a change of clothes sealed in a plastic bag. I use that when i’m getting outside of Athos. I change my clothes right away and the shoes too. And i put everything else in a plastic bag and seal it very well. When i arrive at my house we open the bag and put all the clothes in the washing machine, at at least 60 degrees. at these temperature all the bugs and their eggs die. Also the bags and shoes we had inside we put them in hot water and then we leave them to the sunlight for a few days better yet inside a plastic bag so we have a high temperature and kills a posible bed bag or egg that is there. And to be more than sure, at the end we put them under hot air using a hair dryer at full temperature. The hot air will kill everything that remains. We must be extra careful, because if we transfer them to our house, it’s very hard to ger ride of them. They must use very strong insecticides. These bugs can adapt to many insecticides, so then you need a new spaying e.t.c. Let me tell you a few things about the spiritual dangers. Beside the material ones at a place like this with great spirituality that people are so close to God there are also spiritual dangers. Because the devil is always ready to hunt us. The only way the evil one can fight us is by using “Logismous”. By the word “Logismos”, we mean the thoughts than comes to our mind. and makes us scare and showing use wierd things messages e.t.c. The first times i went to Athos i faced a curious situation there. Suddenly many strange thoughts start coming to my mind, strange images blasphemers thoughts i wonder about many things i never gave any attention before. Why am i here, what am i doing here, i must leave now. What are all those people doing here. But later on, after reading many Orthodox books i found out that this is the way of the evil one to fight you. So be prepared when you enter Athos to have this kind of spiritual war. For sure you are going to have strange thoughts doubt evil ones, e.t.c. The purpuse is to make you leave, make you not want to go to church makes you scare e.t.c. But of course this kind of fight is common on a Orthodox Christian’s lifetime. As Saint Paisios the Athonite told the best defence against these thoughts is not to pay any attention to them. Let them fly above our heads just like the airplanes that we know there are there, but don’t give any attention to them. It’s important to know that this thoughts aren’t ours but comes frome the evil one. The best thing to do to forget about these is what all the monks do also the komposkoini (prayer rope). We can get a big prayer rope with 100 knots or even a small one that we can wear at our arm like a bracelet. And we count every knot saying a prayer Lord Jesus have mercy on me. Mother Mary save our souls. And be committed to these prayers. Don’t pay any attention to any image that comes to mind or whatever thought that comes along. So let’s enjoy our pilgrimage there at these unique place. we will find many blessed elders. And many other brothers to talk to. So all this is a very unique experience that you can’t find outside Athos No matter how often we go to our local church this is something else. That’s it my brothers, i hope i didn’t scared you. I belive that if we are responible we won’t find any trouble. Always think, dont go very far and along in rought places and trails have someone by you carry your water, wear a hat don’t be to hard on your body and have a great pilgrimage.