Friday, October 16, 2015

Makrinitsa-Lagonika-Pouri

Τhe ravine of Lagonika, opening to the Aegean Sea
Distance: 19 km
Time: 8 hours (walking time 6.25')
Altitude: from 620 m. (Makrinitsa) to 1290 m. (Lagonika) to 480 m. (Pouri)
Total ascent: 951 m.  Total descent: 1076 m.
Signed with: red paint marks, some metal signs
Drinking water on walk; yes (Krio Nero)
Download GPS track (gpx):  from Everytrail   from Wikiloc

           This is the more westerly one of the three alternative routes from Makrinitsa to Pouri, the other two being Makrinitsa-West Refuge-Pouri and Makrinitsa-Pourianos Stavros-Pouri (the latter requires a permission from the Air Force authorities, because it is passing through the military installations at Pourianos Stavros).

                As we come to the parking lot at Makrinitsa, at the end of the asphalt road, we see on the right a kalderimi (cobblestone path) heading uphill. A handmade sign indicating to “Pouri”(Πουρί) is nailed to a tree. This was made, along with  many others, by a local volunteer hiker, Dimitris Kottalis. One can also start from the fountain in the parking.
Climbing from Makrinitsa

             The kalderimi winds uphill among the village houses, passing by a lone pine tree next to a bench and two fountains and eventually opens to a narrow dirt road, which leads us to the old monastery of Agia Paraskevi.
Agia Paraskevi church
           After a refreshing stop at that tranquil spot and filling our water supplies from the fountain, we continue uphill on dirt road. After a right turn we find the path on our left. It soon opens to another dirt road, which then turns right and comes to an end. We continue on path with cobblestone sections, climbing into chestnut forest.
           We cross an earth road and further up turn left on another road. Watching on our right side, after about 30 m. we find the path again, climbing between chestnut trees. Further up, we walk parallel to a water ditch, noticing another handmade sign to “Pouri”. From a certain spot, we can see lake Karla at a distance to the west.
View to lake Karla
                Passing next to a water tank, we  enter a secondary dirt road, which after a few meters joins the main dirt road coming from Makrinitsa. The location here is called Trano Isoma. We continue to the left and in twenty meters reach a junction next to a concrete ditch. The road to the right leads to Flambouro and Pourianos Stavros. We take the downhill road to the left, initially heading north, then turning west. We soon come to another junction with a shrine. 
             Here we take the road to the right on a north-northeasterly direction. This has replaced the old path (we can notice two small surviving sections of it on our left) and eventually leads to the stone bridge of Karias, built in 1934 over the stream of Kaliakouda (Xerias).  
Karias stone bridge
          After the bridge, the earth road continues uphill to the north and we pass next to a hut at location Krio Nero (means cold water). Here we can fill our bottles with drinking water, as there is no other fountain on our way. Heading on, the road  takes a northeasterly direction. On our left is the large ravine of Elatorema stream. The firs that grow there are the only evergreen trees in winter, in an otherwise gray scenery of deciduous beech forest. 
              We come to a V-junction where we take the road to the left going downhill. Watching for it on the left side of the road, we soon find the path which initially runs parallel to the road. Eventually we come down to cross the stream of Elatorema. 
Elatorema stream bed

              The path continues on the other bank, initially in a westerly direction, but then changes course to the north (attention to  the right!) and climbs on the slope. It crosses a road and continues to climb. Further up, it opens to an open area with stony ground, which is called Chamorigani and offers nice view to the west. Here is a path junction. One path continues downhill to the north heading to Sourvia monastery and Andovitos (attention!). The other path, which we follow, continues uphill northeast through a forest with low beech trees, having on the right the ravine of  Elatorema and the overgrown peak of Pourianos Stavros (1624 m.). The radars at the top are not visible from here. Wherever we turn our heads to, we see slopes overgrown with thick beech forest.
Descending from Lagonika peak

               We come to pass just under the peak of Lagonika (1295 m.), reaching the highest point of our walk. Another path comes to join from the left, coming from Andovitos (see the route Fitoko-Lagonika-Pouri). Our path now begins to descend. From a certain spot we have an excellent view of the large ravine of Lagonika opening to the Aegean sea. We come to cross the stream bed (normally dry at that level) and continue ascending gently on the other bank.
Thick beech forest on the slopes of the ravine of Lagonika

           Coming to a hut used by the hunters of Zagora, we  ignore a downhill path (also marked with red marks) and elect to continue on the same easterly direction slightly uphill, to join an earth road just above the hut.
          After about two kilometers on the road, watching for the red marks (attention) we notice the path coming from Pourianos Stavros crossing the road and we follow it downhill. Our direction is steadily northeast. We pass through a clearing with a cement pole (1103 m.), we cross two earth roads and finally the path opens out just above the chapel of Agia Marina, next to a  cistern. The church was built over a century ago, after permission to use water from Lagonika spring was allowed by its owner to the people of Pouri in 1891, a highly significant event for the village at the time. Water from the spring arrived at the cistern on the nameday of St. (Agia) Marina, on the 17th of July.
Agia Marina chapel

          We continue following the concrete ditch on the right side of the church and  reach another cistern.  We walk now on a dirt road northeast and we come to a signpost where the main path to Pouri branches off to the left. It`s a wide downhill path heading northeast. Following the red marks, we descend through beech and chestnut forest. Reaching a concrete water tank further down, we go to the right over a concrete ditch and immediately find kalderimi, leading to the upper square of Pouri and the main church of Agios Dimitrios.
Pouri




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