Monday, May 30, 2022

Makrinitsa-Pliasidi-Zagora

 

View to Horefto 

Distance: 18,5 km.

Time: 8 hours (with stops)

Altitude: from 620 m. (Makrinitsa) to 1480 m. (max) to 510 m. (Zagora)

Total elevation gain: 1075 m.

Total elevation loss: 950 m.

Signing: red paint, some metal signs

Drinking water on walk: Agia Paraskevi mon. near Makrinitsa

Start: Brani, Makrinitsa (end of asphalt road) 

End: Agios Georgios square, Zagora

Download GPS file (.gpx): from Wikiloc


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        In his book ''History of the Provinces of Volos and Agia'' (published in 1960) Yiannis Kordatos, a renowned scholar of Zagora,  mentions an alternative, higher way used by locals to go from Zagora to Makrinitsa and Volos: (sic) starting to climb from ''Kordateika'', passing by the ''middle Kotroni'', reaching ''Schizopetras'', turn west, get past ''Machera fountain''  and from the peak ''Plesidi'' go down to Makrinitsa. We tried to unearth this forgotten route, and after some research came up with this 8-hour walk.

    After having some rest and refreshments at Agios Georgios square in Zagora,  we may wish to  continue descending for an hour or so to get down to Horefto beach  for a refreshing swim to the sea.


          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 red handmade sign indicating to ''Πουρί'' (Pouri village)) is nailed to a tree. This was made, along with  many others, by the late local hiker Dimitris Kottalis. One can also start from the fountain in the parking.

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 chapel

        Having enjoyed a refreshing stop at that tranquil spot and filling our water supplies from the fountain (no other fountain on our way, 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 a path with sections of cobblestone, 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.

Agios Augustinos chapel at Trano Isoma

         On our way is also the newly built chapel of Agios Augustinos, where we can have a stop. We continue on dirt road and come to a signed road junction. We continue straight ahead on a northeasterly direction, next to a concrete irrigation ditch. The road ahead leads ultimately to Flambouro springs and Pourianos Stavros peak. After 50 meters we turn right on another dirt road that climbs steeply uphill. On a tree a small round sign indicates the direction to ''Pliasidi'' to the right.


        We pass by the Tzanopoulos estate, where there is a hut. On our left we see a square building, probably a water tank. Immediately after the estate the road makes a slight left turn downhill goeing to Flambouro. At this point we leave it and go straight ahead uphill in an easterly direction on a path, which eventually takes us to the asphalt that goes to the military radars. We are close to the peak of Pliasidi (1547 m.), which is on our right, but going there is prohibited.


        Reaching the asphalt, the red-on-white marks turn to the right (attention). We turn left and walk on the asphalt for about 2.3 km, going towards the radars. At the second junction with a dirt road on the right, we leave the asphalt and take the road, which descends northeast into the beech forest.  We pass by a large rock, which the locals call "Machera". From some points we have a very nice view to the south, seeing three large wooded ridges descending to the sea one behind the other.


 

       Further down, at an altitude of 1180 meters, as we join another dirt road (which comes from the asphalt just below Chania), we reach a small shelter for hunters and firewatchers that has the inscription "ΠΥΡΟΦΥΛΑΚΙΟ ΘΗΡΟΦΥΛΑΚΙΟ'' (in Greek). On the day we passed (7/11/21) it was being renovated by a group of hunters. 

At the hunters shelter

        We walk on the road for two hundred meters and go right at the junctions (straight ahead the road goes to Xeforti and Agia Marina). The area here is called "Schizopetra". Descending, we find successive sections of path that alternate with sections of road and we need to pay attention to the red marks.

Path in beech forest

        Further down, we cross an apple grove (as the path on the  side of the grove is very overgrown), and join a dirt road again. Going downhill, the road below is paved with cement as it passes between cherry and apple groves. From one point we have a nice view to the chapel of Agios Athonas, built on a hill above Zagora. 
Agios Athonas chapel

         A little further north we see another hill with antennas at the top, which on the map is referred to as "Lefko Kotroni" (732 m.).

        Going down the concrete road and watching out for the red signs at the intersections, we pass by the church of St. Magdalene. Furtther down we find a section of the original kalderimi as we descend next to the fence of a cottage. We continue on  kalderimi covered by cement, which below, as we get into the village, is uncovered and leads us straight to the central square of Agios Georgios.

Agios Georgios (Zagora main square)




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