Sunday, November 19, 2023

Milies-Panagiotiko dam-Neochori

The water reservoir  of Panagiotiko dam

Distance: 12 km
Time: 5 hours (with stops)
Altitude: from 173 m. (minimum) to 462 m. (maximum)
Total elevation gain: 454 m. Total elevation loss: 540 m.
Signing: red paint, small round signs
Drinking water on walk: no
Start: Milies square   Finish: Neochori square
Last checked: 27//11/ 2023
Download GPS file: from Wikiloc
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    The first half of this route is the same as the route Milies-Neochori. However, as we are getting near the Panagiotiko dam and its artificial lake, we do not take the dirt road to Panagia Tourkogianni, but, descending a little lower, we walk on the path used by the inhabitants of Neochori to get to Zervochia and Boufa. This path was surveyed and cleared by volunteers in the winter and spring of 2023.
Agios Nikolaos church

         We start from Milies village square and follow the asphalt road going downhill. A hundred meters further down, after we pass a parking lot which is down to our right,as the asphalt takes a slight turn to the right, we go diagonally left onto a wide cobblestone that goes uphill. We reach an intersection and take the wide paved track on the right, which soon begins to go downhill. It becomes a cobblestone kalderimi, then a cement road and we cross the asphalt at the exit of Milies village towards Tsagarada, next to the last house of the village, at a point where the asphalt turns left and there is a traffic control mirror.

        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.
Kalderimi at Pavlakia

        The kalderimi we are following, which is kept 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. Here is a kalderimi crossing and we can get to Agios Nikolaos by both ways. We prefer to 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 existed here. Here is a good place to have a stop. Unfortunately, we are not able to admire the notable frescos inside the church, as its doors remain locked.  
Fresco from Agios Nikolaos (photo: Teo Gavardinas)

        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 abandoned 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 out onto the earth road that comes from the settlement of Stavrodromi. We turn to the left (east) and then after a hundred metres at a fork we go to the right (southeast) onto a narrow earth road that brings us out at a flat area with a threshing floor and a row of cypress trees to the right. Just after the threshing floor, we go left and find a path that descends heading east. We cross a small stream bed, pass a derelict hut on our right and then we take the right hand path at a fork. This area was burnt in a recent fire, but is already turning green again. We cross another stream and then meet an earth road, which we follow downhill. Below us we see the Panayiotiko dam with the lake that has been formed in the valley of Platanorema river - a beautiful and peaceful picture.

        A little further down we have a crossroads with a post, where we go right. Attention, if we go left here as  indicated by the arrow on the signpost, we will get to Neochori via Panagia Tourkogianni church. We keep descending the road and approaching the dam. At the next junction we go left (Attention!) onto an abandoned road, which runs just above the water level. Paying attention to our left, we soon see the red sign that marks the entrance to the path. We are now walking on a  path, which initially goes uphill and we pass abvove a ruined hut, finding a couple of sections of kalderimi here and there.

    After a while, the kalderimi-path ends as we cross a stream, and we continue uphill on a dirt road. We avoid road intersections to the right as we are climbing. Further up, on a wide right turn that the road makes, the path goes straight ahead and after a few meters joins the Milies-Neochori route, which comes from Panagia Tourkogianni church. From this point on, we are walking on the Milies-Neochori route. The path climbs and  joins a dirt road, which joins the main asphalt, which then crosses a bridge and makes a right turn. Here we leave the asphalt at an angle to the left, walking on a paved track through the village, and keep following the red marks to the square of Neochori.
Neochori village square

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