Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Milies-Propan

Propan
Distance: 9,5 km
Time: 3,5-4 hours
Altitude: from 390 m. (Milies square) to 340 m. (Propan square)
Total ascent: 318 m.  Total descent: 393 m.
Signed with red paint marks and metal signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Start: Milies square  End: Propan square
Download GPS track: from Wikiloc

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         Propan used to be the very last Pelion village to remain without a connection to the walking route network. This has now changed, as in spring 2019 the kalderimi to Choreftra junction and, ultimately, to Milies was traced and reopened by volunteers after many years of neglect. A connection to Lambinou is on the way. The kalderimi  from the square to Kalamaki beach also remains viable.
        A few words about the name: In 1954, state officials decided to rename the village as  "Kalamaki" (after the homonymous beach), as the old name Propan (which is of unknown origin, probably non-Greek) was considered undesirable. However, in 2014 at local people`s request, the original name was officially reinstated. At the square a cafe-restaurant is open from Easter  until the end of summer season, along with guesthouses and rooms to rent.
Οld house at Propan
             There are two ways to get from Milies to Choreftra junction and from there to Propan. The first one follows initially the kalderimi towards Tsagarada but we don`t climb to the kiosk at Kefales. Instead we walk downhill on the earth road to the main asphalt, on which we have then to walk 1,5 km to arrive at Choreftra.
              The other (southerly) way, which is described here, initially follows the route to Neochori. Setting off from the square in Milies, we follow the asphalt road downhill. A hundred metres further down, at a right hand bend in the road, we branch off to the left onto a wide paved track that goes gently uphill. Reaching a crossroads, we take the  track to the right. Further on, this becomes a kalderimi, then a downhill cement road and we cross the main asphalt next to the last house of the village.   We now walk on beautiful old kalderimi, which continues opposite, descending to a ravine 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 Milies-Volos at a sharp bend, 200 metres below the junction that leads to the train station.    
      The kalderimi we are following, which is  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 the road and, descending gently, the kalderimi opens to another road. This leads us after a hundred metres down to the old church of Agios Nikolaos, a remnant of the monastery that used to operate here. It`s a good place to have a stop. Unfortunately, we don`t have the opportunity to admire the notable frescos inside the church, as its doors remain locked. 
Agios Nikolaos chapel
 

               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 to join the wide earth road that comes from the settlement of Stavrodromi. We follow this road uphill, ignoring any junctions left and right. The road brings us to Choreftra junction after 2,5 kilometers. 
Path in arbutus forest
               From here, an easy and beautiful 1-hour downhill walk remains to Propan. So we cross the asphalt and walk initially uphill on a narrow earth road. After a few meters (attention left!) we spot the path entrance on the left, entering an arbutus forest. On our way downhill  there are sections of kalderimi. We come to cross the stream of Arkouda (''Bear") and continue on the other bank on an earth track, passing from an orchard with large chestnut trees on our right.
        After about one kilometer on the earth road, as it goes uphill to meet the asphalt road that runs above us, we leave it to the right, watching for the red marks and the signs.  We now walk on a wide earth track, which later becomes a   descending kalderimi. Further on, we walk on the upper limit of a couple of orchards. As we go past a small landslide, the earth path becomes kalderimi again. 
Propan, view to the Aegean sea

         Finally we come down to the chapel of Agios Ioannis and walk now on road. We go straight past a junction with an asphalt road to the right going down towards Kalamaki beach and at the next junction we leave the asphalt and take the stone-paved track to the right, which leads in five minutes to the square.
Propan square

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