Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hania-Profitis Elias chapel-Makrirachi

Distance: 8,5 km
Duration: 4 hours with stops, walking time 3,5 h
Altitude: from 1200 m. (Hania) to 320 m. (Makrirachi)
Total ascent: 40 m.  Total descent: 895 m.
Signed with red paint marks, metal signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Download GPS track:  from Everytrail   from Wikiloc

            This is the old route used by the people of Makrirachi to get to Hania and ultimately to Volos, that was blocked and forgotten for many years, until it was cleared, signed and revived in 2015 by volunteers from the local association and Volos Alpine club. Reaching the village square, we can have refreshments or lunch at the restaurant (open all seasons) and then return to Hania taking the afternoon bus (starting from Agios Ioannis) that passes from Makrirachi at 17.15' daily during winter season or 18.00 in the summer season (see There is also another walking route from Hania to Makrirachi (the path of the Waterfalls), which follows the Megalo rema stream, passing from impressive waterfalls and ponds, so we can use both to make a circular walk. Another option is to continue from Makrirachi to Anilio and then Agios Ioannis, or down the asphalt to the beaches of Agii Saranda and Horefto.
            Starting from Kokkinis hotel-restaurant (''To Hani tou Kokkini'') on the main road at Hania, we initially ascend on asphalt for a few meters to reach Pileas hotel. From the other end of Pileas` parking lot, two dirt roads continue northeast and we take the narrow one on the right, which ends in fifty meters and continues as kalderimi (stone paved path). In a short while we reach a small plateau, used for making charcoals in the past, to which a dirt road also comes from the left. At the other end we find again the kalderimi, clear and in good condition, descending nicely into the beech forest. We can see Agriolefkes peak with the ski slopes at the distance on our right. 
The kalderimi in beech forest

         On our way down we cross the asphalt ten times, finding the kalderimi directly on the opposite side or after walking a short distance to the left. On the final (tenth) time on the asphalt, we walk on to the left and notice the entrance to the peaceful chapel of Profitis Elias (ΠΡΟΦΗΤΗΣ ΗΛΙΑΣ), a suitable place for a stop.
Profitis Elias chapel

          On the right side of the chapel continues a narrow earth track, descending steadily on a northeasterly direction. After joining a wider earth road we get to the main asphalt, which takes a sharp right bend and then we take the track on the left. This opens down to the asphalt again. We cross the asphalt and find a small section of the original path that survived, cutting the corner. Crossing the asphalt again, we continue on an earth road, passing next to a concrete water tank. Further down, the road seems to come to an end and we turn right, crossing a concrete irrigation ditch.

           After a few meters, the path opens down to the main asphalt again. Here we are at the location called ''Karavoma''. In front of us is the main road junction (left to Zagora, right to Makrirachi). Just a few meters before this junction, we take the secondary road to the right, passing by several abandoned old  warehouses. used in the past for storage of goods to be transported by mules on the path to the village (the modern road to Makrirachi was constructed in the early 1950`s).
Old warehouses at Karavoma

          Further on, the road narrows and finally comes to an end at a  building. Here we branch off at an angle to the right, observing the red marks (attention) following an irrigation canal for a few meters and then climb down to a grove, through which we walk. 
      The track opens to the main asphalt, and after 100 meters we take the stone paved track up front, which leads to the chapel of Agii Anargiri. Here we can have a stop. We continue on the track which gets down to the asphalt again. After a hundred meters, we have excellent view to Zagora to the left. Here we leave the asphalt to the right (attention to the signpost) and start climbing down a track, which soon becomes a kalderimi, between chestnut trees. We can see Anilio village at the opposite slope. 
Seeing Anilio at the opposite slope

      We cross a track and climb down using steps dug on the steep slope. We join another earth track for fifty meters and, just as it starts going uphill, we find the continuity of the kalderimi down to the right (attention). Soon we walk across the first houses of Makrirachi. The kalderimi becomes cement paved and finally opens down at the village square, crossing the asphalt road.
Makrirachi village square