Friday, December 23, 2022

Short crossing of Tisseon: eastern part (Floka peak 547 m. -Evzonos peak 644 m.)


 Distance: 9,9 km.

Time: 5-6 hours

Altitude: from 31 m. (Panagia parking area) to 644 m. (Evzonos peak)

Total elevation gain: 741 m. Total elevation loss: 697 m.

Signing: red paint marks, round yellow signs, cairns

Drinking water on walk: no

Start: 1,5 km. after the road sign to ''KΟΥΚΟΥΛΕΪΚΑ''going towards Trikeri, taking the second earth road on the left

Finish: Parking area of Panagia chapel (at the road sign ''IΕΡΟΣ ΝΑΟΣ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑΣll)

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       The full crossing of Tisseon is a tempting idea for mountaineers, but it also presents significant difficulties. Starting from the quarries, having difficult access by narrow dirt roads, the hiker walks for hours on a hard, rocky landscape without water and shade, mostly on uneven ground without a proper path until he reaches Trikeri. On the contrary, the short crossing, in addition to the shorter distance, has the convenience of starting and ending on the asphalt and going up and down on a path. However, it does not fail to offer the experience of moving on the bare rocky terrain with unobstructed view of mountains and seas.


        Αttention is needed when walking on the rocky part of the route, as the rocks can be slippery when wet from the morning moisture and a fall can have unpleasant consequences...(it has happened). The walk is recommended for winter and spring, when the sun is not burning, as there is no water anywhere, nor any shade on the ridge. It is very important to have clarity in the atmosphere, so that we`re able to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view that is the great asset of this crossing.


         The direction of the walk can be either Milina to Trikeri (east to west), or vice versa. In the first case, coming from Milina, about 1.5 km after the road sign for Koukouleika settlement, and before reaching Marathias, moving on the asphalt towards Trikeri, we see a red paint blob on the left side of the road, and we start walking on a dirt road that is passable by cars with average ground clearance, entering an olive grove. In about 2 km we reach a pen. Here we go right and in about a hundred meters we leave the road to the left going up a wide path. (Parenthesis: there also is another dirt road climbing from the asphalt to this point. This is after Marathias, at a distance of 4 km from the sign to Koukouleika. The distance we walk is the same in both cases, about 2 km).


          The track on which we walk, initially rather seems to be an abandoned road. We keep following the red marks, continuously climbing towards the south, sometimes on stony ground and sometimes in a forest, while we also cross a clearing. At some point the forest ends and we come out onto the rocky ridge. We are close to the visible top of Floka (547 m.), where there is a fallen wind mast (wind turbines installation is scheduled, a terrible prospect that will destroy the unique natural beauty of Tisseon for ever.


       We continue straight on the ridge, without the red paint marks anymore as they are unnecessary, to the highest peak called Evzonos (644 m.) Here, if the atmosphere is clear, we will enjoy a magnificent view. We are located between two seas, the Pagasitic and the Aegean. We  see the North Sporades islands (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos). Evia (Dirfis peak) and Parnassos can be seen in the background and the other mountains of the mainland up to Olympus. Sometimes Athos is also visible. Opposite lies  Chlomo  mountain at the entrance of Pagasitic gulf. Trikeri, Tzasteni (perhaps the most photographed spot of Pelion), the south-facing villages and Volos can also be seen. On the side of Pagasitic, the slope is wooded and descends more smoothly, while on the Aegean side it is cut off sharply by a cliff of hundreds of meters. Only a few low trees can survive here on the rocky ridge.



           From Evzonos peak we descend the rocky slope to the west towards the clearing that appears in front of us at the base of the next hill, passing successive cairns. As we descend, the rocky terrain becomes undergrown with holly trees.


        After the first clearing, there is a regular path. Then we come out in the middle of a second clearing (Karatasou Lakka). We follow the red signs downhill on a path passing through a third smaller clearing and finally we reach the asphalt, immediately above the small church of Panagia which is near the sea and not visible from the road (next to the road there is the sign "Holy Church of Panagia'' (IEΡΟΣ ΝΑΟΣ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑΣ), as well as a marble plaque commemorating the battles that took place around there in 1823 during  the Greek war of Independence, between the rebel Greeks led by Karatassos and the Turkish army led by Kioutachi pasha).


                 We also have the option of walking in the opposite direction, if that suits us better. In this case, we start from the Panagia church and go uphill, reaching the clearing "Lakka Karatasou" where we turn left at the cairn and climb to Evzonos, the highest peak (644 m.). We continue east on the ridge and reach peak Floka (547 m.), where there is a pole and a fallen wind mast.


           Following now the red marks, we enter the forest path. Further down thee is stony ground. Eventually we come out on a dirt road and go right. At the pen in a hundred meters we go left and walk on the dirt road straight to the north. We cross an olive grove and the road opens to the main asphalt, 1.5 km before the settlement of  Koukouleika (going towards Milina).

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