We are very pleased to publish this recent account of a trip to the top of one of our enthusiastic readers, mister Yves Milonas from Belgium (with GPS). I hope more pictures and stories will follow ! Wim
We started our hike to the top on 4th May 2008 at 0600 Hr from Skete Agia Annis after a short night sleep and without breakfast…we were so exited and we decided to give it a go anyway.
As a good-bye sign the chime was playing, this wonderful sound gave us a lot of courage to start our journey.
At 0745 Hr we reached the 4 ways crossroad at 700 m, ate some power bars for breakfast and continued our hike up.
Just ” behind the corner” going East you can find a new fresh watertap these days.(N40 08.029 E24 18.572)
Around 1000 Hr Panagia came in sight between the fast moving clouds. Although a message at Skete Agia Annis mentioned that staying overnight at Panagia was not possible at the moment we still crossed a few parties of Russian pilgrims who spent the night there. Serious restoration works are indeed going on and in a few months the refuge and chapel will be much nicer.
We tried to fill our bottles, but the bucket these days is so dirty that it’s too unhealthy to use it.
Here at Panagia we sent SMS to the other half of our team (father and uncle) they already were going downhill from Agia Annis to take the boat to IM Pavlou.
Regarding their age this downhill trip is already quite an achievement. At IM Pavlou father would arrange a late meal and entry (if needed).
After 10 minutes we left Panagia for the final stage of the hike.
At this stage we also crossed several Russian pilgrims who came from the top.
The temperature was fine, a T-shirt and a light Fleece did the job.
At 1205 Hr we reached the top. As usual in summer clouts were scattered around the top and a nice view down was practically impossible.
What a place to be! Finally I was there and even with my brother. Last year the mountain already was calling my name, but then I was alone and wisely stayed down.
We enjoyed the scenery and the atmosphere up there and took the obligatory pictures at the cross.
Afterwards we celebrated our achievement with a quick lunch ( dry sausages – power bar- dried apricots) and a can of Belgian beer.
Filling our bottles was easier here, The water tank in front of the Metamorfosi chapel is much cleaner and the water is also easier to reach.
Also here, at the top, construction works are going on at the moment, a small building (toilets ?) is being build at the North ridge and the terrace on the West wall of the chapel is also being altered.
Yves Milonas, a magnificant view from the top : 04-05-08
We left the top at 1300Hr and started the downhill hike. We had hoped to inform our base team about our progress but we had no cell phone signal up there. At Panagia this worked out better.
Soon we found out that the first stage back to Panagia was the easy part of the downhill trip (app. 1 Hr).
The winding path makes it rather easy to go down, further on the way the path is quite narrow and steep. This requires a lot of strength in the legs! Also the loose pebbles makes it very difficult to keep the rhythm and yourself up. At app. 1600 Hr we arrived back at the 4 ways crossroad and filled our bottles again.
Now we were 1 hour behind on our expected schedule but the weather was nice and the Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) looked and smelled wonderful.
As usual is the last part of such a trip the hardiest one. Also here of course.
Somewhere at 1800 Hr we arrived were we had left this very morning 12 hours ago but had another stage to go.
Our lodging in IM Pavlou had been confirmed and our uncle was waiting for us midway Agia Annis and Nea Skiti.
Finally at 1900 Hr we got IM Pavlou in sight. As promised, father “arranged” a late meal for us, white and green beans-bread- feta cheese and ….red wine !
This feast took place in the guesthouse kitchen.
Our luck was complete when we discovered that IM Pavlou had the huge luxury of hot water showers.
After sharing our stories with the base team we went to bed early and believe me…we had no troubles catching sleep.