Monday, December 10, 2012


Beech forest near Mega Isoma
Distance: 14,5 km
Duration: 7 hours with stops (walking time: 5.10')
Altitude: from 1300 m. (start) to 1470 m. (Agriolefkes) to 490 m. (end)
Total ascent: 556 m.  Total descent: 1337 m.
Signed with: red marks, metal signs
Drinking water on walk: No

Download GPS track:    from Wikiloc     from Everytrail
       This is a classic trek in Central Pelion, passing by the peaks Agriolefkes, Golgothas, Schidzouravli and Dramala, heading east to end up at Taxiarchon Square in Tsagarada. It can be undertaken pleasantly during summer, because most of it takes place at high altitude into cool and shady beech forest. It also features some spots offering magnificent views. Having arrived at Tsagarada, we can walk for another two hours on kalderimi, to reach the tourist beach of Ai Giannis (Agios Ioannis) and Damouchari (see the walks Tsagarada (Taxiarches square-Agia Paraskevi square) and Tsagarada-Damouchari-Ai Giannis (Agios Ioannis)). 

       Start is at EOS Volos Alpine Club refuge in Hania ski center. Left to the refuge we start walking on an uphill dirt road that ends at the wide ski track “Panorama”. Following the track uphill, we reach the concrete pole marking Agriolefkes peak (1470 m). If we don’t want to climb to the peak, there is a signed detour path on the opposite side of the track, skipping the peak by the east side.
Agriolefkes peak (1470 m.)
       Having  admired the panoramic view, we continue in the same direction on a downhill path with red marks, which is joined from the left by the detour path mentioned earlier and then climb again to the clearing of Golgothas peak at 1430 m. of altitude. Here in 2004 two F16 fighter jets crashed, killing their four pilots. Searching around, one can still find some debris from the planes.
The beech forest in early November
      Leaving Golgothas, our path heads downhill in a southeast direction. We pass two signed crossings on the right to Agios Lavrentios and Agios Georgios respectively, and then cross a narrow forest road. The area here is called Monastiraki. On the other side of the road, two paths continue, one on the left slightly downhill with blue marks, heading to Lakka Morogianni-Ftiritsa. We take the uphill right one with the red marks, heading east towards Dramala peak.
     After a while, we leave the main path to the right following the signs (attention!), and climb on a difficult uphill path also featuring a safety rope further up. This was created by hikers in order to reach Schidzouravli peak, as there was no established mainstream path going there in the past, because of its rocky nature. Remember that these paths mainly used to serve lumberjacks carrying wood and charcoal by mules. In case we do not want to pass from Schidzouravli,  we can continue walking straight ahead on the main path going to Dramala peak.
       Reaching the rocky top of Schidzouravli, 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 with military telecommunication buildings, and more westerly Pliasidi, Aidonaki and Agriolefkes peaks of Pelion. Further on, if the sky is clear, we can see Kissavos, Olympus and Athos mountains. Turning south, we see Dirfis mountain of Evia and to the west, Othrys, Parnassus and Pindus mountains. Pagasitic Gulf and the Aegean Sea complete the picture.
Schitzouravli, view to the south over Pagasitic gulf
Schidzouravli peak over low clouds (early November)
        After getting enough of this natural beauty, a hard task to achieve, we continue east following the red marks and find ourselves again in beech forest. Walking steadily in an easterly direction on the ridge, we pass a junction with a downhill path to the right going to Agios Georgios and soon reach a large clearing  with ferns. Walking slightly uphill, a little further on we find the concrete pole marking Dramala peak (1455 m.). Here we have no view, as we are surrounded by beech forest.
      The path continues into the forest again, and soon changes direction to the south going downhill. A path coming from Mouresi  joins in from the left. Then we walk on open ground, having a view of the peaks to the west. We soon reach a crossing with a sign, where we go left uphill towards Tsagarada, changing direction to east-northeast. The other path here on the right continues downhill to Agios Georgios village. 
Summer view to Schidzouravli from the east
      After a little while, we cross a small clearing, walking on flat terrain through dense beech forest. This area is called Mega Isoma. Heading steadily east-northeast, we start descending on the ridge and the beech trees grow taller and taller. The path is not absolutely clear, but dense red marks on the trees help us find the way. Coal pits and letters engraved on trees indicate presence of lumberjacks in the past. Enormous one-piece rocks next to really big beech trees create an impressive scenery, especially on a foggy day. One wonders, could there still be some Centaurs hiding around here? (see mythology and history)
       As we continue downhill, the marks lead us to a natural balcony (view point, vigla) at 1090 m. Here the view is so captivating, we find it difficult to leave. In front and beneath us is the deep gully of Milopotamos overgrown with chestnut and beech trees. On the left the first houses of Tsagarada and Ksourichti. At a distance on the right, we can see the village of Neochori, built on a slope facing west. Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos lie side by side into the vast Aegean Sea on the east. This magnificent spot is by itself enough reason for someone to walk on this trail.
Vigla viewpoint
      However, comes a time when we must continue. Descending steadily on the slope, guided by the red marks, we cross a narrow forest road to the right and  then reach another road and follow it downhill. The path continues on the left and  further down opens to a road, on which we walk left downhill. In a few meters we join a wider earth road and go right. (to the left it goes to Agios Athanasios en Atho chapel). This road ultimately comes from Tsagarada.
      Watching for it on our left, we immediately find the path, which further down opens to the road (go past  a chain) and again in a few meters we find it on our left, cutting corners. After reaching the road again, we continue to descend until we see on the left side a ruined hut and a small metal shrine (attention!).  At this point we turn right, next to an electricity pole on a narrow road-kalderimi (cobblestone) and in thirty meters go left at a concrete water tank, following the red arrow.
    Walking downhill on cobblestone among the first houses of Tsagarada village, we finally cross at an angle the main asphalt road and arrive at Taksiarchon square, which lies beneath the road.
Tsagarada, Taksiarchon square

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