Thursday, May 28, 2015

Milies-Panagiotiko dam-Boufa

The kalderimi to Pavlakia
Distance: 10 km
Duration: 4,5 h
Altitude: from 380 m. (Milies) to 10 m. (Boufa)
Total ascent: 533 m.  Total descent: 193 m.
Signed with red paint marks
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track:  from Everytrail   from Wikiloc

 
       This route begins from Milies on a beautiful kalderimi and continues in the direction of Neohori until we reach the Panagiotiko dam. Then it follows the course of Platanorema stream, until the beach of Boufa (Koropi). There we can have a swim and then return to our starting point via the Boufa-Milies route (to be described) thus completing the circle, or we can take the bus to Volos (or to East and South Pelion) from the main asphalt road (timetables at www.ktelvolou.gr). Warning: a section of the route near the dam is difficult and less able hikers should take the alternate route on earth road (see further on).
        The first part of the walk is the same as the Milies-Neochori route. Setting off from the square in Milies, we follow the asphalt road downhill towards Volos. Eighty metres further down at a right hand bend in the road, just past a parking area down to our right, we branch off to the left onto a wide paved road that goes gently uphill. Reaching a crossroads, we take the paved road to the right and soon start to descend. This becomes a cement road and it comes out onto the asphalt road to Tsagarada at the last house of Milies, at a point where there is a mirror at a left hand bend in the road.
Leaving Milies
              We descend on a beautiful kalderimi, which continues opposite, towards a stream bed with lush vegetation. Further down, at a bend in the kalderimi to the left, there is a branch to our right that used to serve people using the train station. For information, this branch leads to the main road to Milies at a sharp bend, 100 metres below the road junction that leads to the train station. 
Kalderimi near Agios Nikolaos
The kalderimi we are following, which is kept clear and in good condition, crosses the stream bed (Kakorema) and climbs up the opposite side with an olive grove to its right. When we reach the top of the ridge we meet an earth road. We cross this diagonally and, descending gently, eventually find another road which leads us a hundred metres further down to the old church of Agios Nikolaos, a remnant of the monastery that used to exist here. Here is a good place to have a stop. Unfortunately, we are not able to admire the notable frescos inside the church, as its doors remain locked.
Agios Nikolaos church

Retracing our steps back, we easily find the continuity of the kalderimi on the other side of the road and follow it to the east. We cross two small stream beds, pass by an old hut and eventually the kalderimi ends, where it comes out onto an earth road, along which we walk uphill. The wider  area  is called Pavlakia
Further up, we come out onto the earth road that comes from the settlement Stavrodromi.We go left (eastwards) and after a hundred metres we take the narrow earth road to the right (southeast), which brings us out at a flat area with a threshing floor to the left and a row of cypress trees to the right.
Reaching the plateau with the threshing floor
Here two paths cross. The path to Neochori goes off to the left after the threshing floor (there is a signpost), initially going downhill in an easterly direction, passes two small stream beds and comes out onto an earth road. Walking down on that  road, we can get to the dam (at two road junctions taking the right branch). This alternative route is a little longer, but has the advantage of avoiding some difficult spots of the shorter route we followed, which is described below. If you want to avoid difficulties, take the easy route.
           The shorter but difficult path (as recorded here), after the cypress trees turns to the right descending to the south and fades out into parallel goat tracks, until it comes out on an earth track that has been opened as a fire break. We go down this for thirty metres and then bear left onto a path that is initially unclear (there are some red marks) but afterwards is well defined and zigzags downhill in a south-southeast direction until we come out at the slope opposite the Panagiotiko dam. 
Approaching to ''Panagiotiko'' dam
Here the ground has been changed completely by the construction of the dam, on the one hand providing water to South Pelion from the small artificial lake that was formed, but at the cost of destroying the old stone arched bridge that existed here (the bridge of Malamaki), of which only photographs are left now. You can see them in the photo book ''ΠΕΤΡΙΝΑ ΤΟΞΩΤΑ ΓΕΦΥΡΙΑ ΣΤΟ ΠΗΛΙΟ'' (“Stone arched bridges in Pelion” by Nikos Haratsis, in Greek).
The bridge of Malamakis, now gone forever (photo by Nikos Haratsis)

We descend carefully down the steep slope (a task not up to everyone-also overgrown shrubs hamper progress) to get near the dam, where we have to cross a stream that runs next to it and to climb with a little difficulty onto the road. Walking down this road, we descend parallel to the stream, called Platanorema.
After a kilometer, we come to a right hand bend in the road and immediately after this we find a path descending to our right, which we follow. After a short distance we come to a path junction. We opt to turn right and the path immediately splits in two. One path leads shortly to an abandoned water mill (dristela). The other path descends, becomes a kalderimi for a short distance, and leads to the stream where we continue onto the other bank and after a short distance return again to the left bank, where a water pipe taking water down to another water mill below runs along the path. If we can`t cross over the stream because of flooded running water, then we have to return back to the earth road and follow it for another 300 m. Watching on the right side, we will find a downhill path  and descend to the other renovated water mill (dristela) at a beautiful area next to the stream bed.
Platanorema stream
Leaving the water mill, we walk along a path on the left bank of the stream and come out lower down onto the road. We walk for a short distance on the left bank of the stream and then cross over it, continuing on an agricultural road between olive trees and a few huts.
Olive grove near Boufa
 Further on, the road becomes  cement paved and comes out onto the main asphalt. Walking along this to the right, in five minutes we reach the church and the bus stop. Our recorded walk ends here. If we want to have a swim at the beach, we walk down the narrow asphalt road to the left, passing by the hotel ''Saily''.


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