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near Ayía Roúmeli, Crete (Greece)
My third and last 2015 tour from the coast to the Lefka Ori. After Tripiti, which is the largest gorge west of Samaria, I wanted to explore Eligias, which develops right east, and parallel to it.
I must say, however, that I did not enjoy Eligias as much as Tripiti, since there the terrain is always unpleasantly rough, because of large stones and/or fallen trees.
After the fixed ropes I left the gorge well before reaching the mitato Potamos, since it was already late afternoon I saw a beautiful ridge promising a quick ascent in direction Pachnes, where I had planned to spend te night. In this way I was able to reach the main summit of the Lefka Ori before dark.
The next day I traversed to the Troharis, which I never climbed after 2008. Under the summit I found snow to melt; this summer the Lefka Ori were full of extensive snowfields, witnessing an exceptinally snowy winter season. Close to the Troharis I went to Thodori, the summit offering the most complete view on the Anopolis plateau, from where it stands out as an elegant cone.
The next step was the long traverse, with some minor hills on the way, to the Zaranokefala, where I found a view on Samaria at the same level as that from Psiristra on the other side.
At nearly 1900 metres I reached the path joining Mitato Potamos and Agios Ioannis; in this section it contours at the basis the whole wall of the Zaranokefala, in what is perhaps the most dolomitic scenery of all the Lefka Ori. This is also the place of the perennial and precious Zaranou source, in whose vicinity there is also plenty of caves offering valid shelters.
After passing some striking viewpoints on the underlying Eligias and Samaria gorges, the path begins to descend, first to a shoulder and then (accompanied by the hoses coming from the Dounavi source) to Krousia, a beautiful plain above Agios Ioannis, reached also by a dirt road that I had cycled a few days before.
This time, however, I chose to follow the old path in the little valley right above the village. It is extremely and unpleasantly stony, but at evening the location was also very suggestive. At Agios Ioannis food and accommodation are to be found at the very nice Alonia hostel.
The third day, to close the loop, I followed the path which I already knew from 2011, descending first to the once cultivated plain below the village, and then plunging down to the coast through the wonderful Selouda switchbacks. On the seaside one is greeted by the likewise wonderful church of Agios Pavlos.
From there it is sufficient to follow the beach, half sandy and half stony, back to the bridge on the Samaria brook and to Agia Roumeli.
Photos: WORK IN PROGRESS
Start of the loop. You find eveything touristic, since this is the end of the classical hike though the .Samaria gorges
Over the river of Samaria, that this summer was very rich of water.
The spot is characterized by a regular slope of wind-pushed sand. Traverse obliquely this slope, and you are in the gorge.
A big basin in the middle of the gorge. It is densely vegetated and at times you may need to walk on fallen trees.
Very big and unstable stones characterize this stretch.
Loof for them on the left, that is on the right true side of the gorge. For safety I did not rely on them at all, but they did not look that bad.
The point where I was attracted by a beautiful rocky ridge on the east side. However, here the valley was beginning to opening and the going was beginning to become easier.
This is a theoretical waypoint, since actually I was not able to single out the path from Potamos in this spot. Wonderful open terrain
I have marked the saddle, not well defined, where the large plateau south of Pachnes appears. The horizon is closed by the beautiful pyramid of Troharis.
I slept in the little shelter few steps away from the summit, as I already had done in 2011.
This had been my first summit in the Lefka Ori, and it was since 2008 that I wanted to visit it again.
Majestic and simply wonderful when seen from the final stretch of the road to Ammoutsera.
Do not miss this exquisite panoramic point from which you dominate all the region of Anopoli and Aradena.
One of the many little conic summits traversed between Thodori and Zaranokefala.
A true SW cornerstone of the Lefka Ori, dominating over Eligias and Samaria
it is reported to be perennail, altough I found a very dim flow.
Many caves, valid as shelters, in the vicinity.
One of the many viewpoints in the section where the path follows the band at the base of the Zaranokefala wall
The path traverses a little saddle between the south flank of the Lefka Ori and a very prominent shoulder. The descent to Krousia begins at this point.
Three well-preserved wells
At the end of a dirt road ascending from Agios Ioannis
Little church below the village. On the other side of the path there is another church, that of Agios Ioannis.
End of the descent from Agios Ioannis.
This is unique: a wonderful church right on the beach.