Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hania-Agriolefkes-Schidzouravli

On the way to Schidzouravli

Distance: 11,4 km
Walking time 3.50`, total time 5-5,5 h.
Altitude: from 1300 m. (refuge) to 1470 m. (Agriolefkes), 1450 m. (Schidzouravli)
Marked with: red paint and metal signs
Drinking water on walk: no

Download GPS track: from Wikiloc   from Everytrail    

        Having as a base the ski centre at Hania, this circular route will allow us to visit the nearest peaks, Agriolefkes, Golgothas and Schidzouravli, walking into dense beech forest.
        Starting from the Orivatikos Alpine Club of Volos (EOS Volos) refuge at the ski center (the upper refuge),  it is best to climb first to Agriolefkes peak. We can do so by following the pylons of the ski lift at the back of the building. Or, from the marble memorial of skier Pappas next to the refuge, we walk on the uphill dirt road heading east and, reaching the wide ski piste ''Panorama'', we follow this to the top, to the concrete pole marking the peak (1470 m.).
The pole at Agriolefkes peak (1470 m.). At the distance Pliasidi and Aidonaki peaks

     After admiring the view, we head on to the south and find a narrow path with red marks that climbs down the slope and reach a crossing, where another path joins in from the left. We will use this path to return to the refuge at the end. As for now, we continue straight  on in a southerly direction to get to the clearing of Golgothas at an altitude of 1430 m. A few years ago two F-16 combat planes crashed here, killing their four pilots. We can still find small metallic debris if we look around. In 2015 a small stone memorial was erected here by the families.
The stone memorial at Golgothas
      We continue downhill southeast. After passing a signed crossing to Agios Lavrentios to the right and yet another one to Agios Georgios, we cross a narrow dirt road. This spot is called Monastiraki. On the other side of the road there are two paths. The left one, marked with blue paint, continues slightly downhill to Lakka Morogianni and Ftiritsa.  We take the right one, which has red marks and climbs steadily east heading to Dramala peak.
Beech forest in autumn (early November)
         But after a little while we leave the path to the right, following the marks and sign, and climb sharply on a steep narrow track. This was created by hikers in order to reach Schidzouravli peak, as there was no established path going there in the past, because of its rocky nature. Remember that these paths primarily used to serve lumberjacks carrying wood and charcoal by mules.
Schidzouravli, view to the south
            Reaching the rocky top, we continue east to get to the concrete pole at the highest point (1450 m.). The view from here is magnificent. To the north, we see Pourianos Stavros peak housing army telecommunication buildings, and more westerly Pliasidi, Aidonaki and Agriolefkes peaks. Further on, if the sky is clear, we can see Kissavos, Olympus and Athos mountains. Turning south, we see Dirfis mountain of Evia and west, Othrys, Parnassus and Pindus. The Pagasiticos Gulf and the Aegean Sea with the North Sporades islands (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos) complete the picture.
Schidzouravli, view to the north

          After getting enough of this natural beauty, a hard task to achieve, we continue to the east following the red marks and find ourselves again in beech forest. Walking steadily in an easterly direction towards Dramala peak, in about 15 minutes we reach a crossing and start going downhill turning right (southwest). This path used to serve those going from Dramala to Agios Georgios. 
         Further down, we reach a forest road just next to the abandoned pen of Koutsis. A few meters on to the right, the road exits from beech forest to an open space overgrown with ferns. This is called Kathreftis. We could follow this road in order to return, but it is much better and also a shorter distance to take instead a narrow path, which goes slightly uphill between the ferns. The beginning of the path is marked with a signpost indicating to ''Chania''. Walking on, we enjoy excellent views of Pagasiticos gulf down below.
View from location Kathreftis 
        After a while, the path opens out to the road again and we soon return to the junction at Monastiraki, where we turn left, taking the path leading back to Golgothas. Struggling as we climb uphill, we get an idea why such a name was given to this spot. After Golgothas, we get to the crossing where the uphill path to Agriolefkes is on the left. Now we elect to go right, avoiding to climb to the peak, and our path opens to the wide ski piste. At the other side and a little lower, we find the dirt road that leads us back to the refuge.