Just after the big wooden cross on the southern ridge, a panoramic view opens. From there a long straight stretch until Stavros (cross) lays ahead. It is just nature there. No monasteries, sketes or buildings.The stretch is mostly covered and enclosed due to big trees. Here is the exception. A wide view to the top of Mount Athos, the white, marble mountain behind the lushly green hill in front.The view looking down toward the big landslide and Nilos. The bare rocks, called the Karavostasi or Megali Sara stone avalanche, are a memory of the earthquake that took place here in 1905. Even after more than 100 years the scars of that event are still clearly visible. Only some vegetation, mainly shrubberies, has returned.A rare perspective from a fishing boat from a Russian site. The devastation is still enormous. It looks as if the marble top of the Holy Mountain can glide down directly into the sea.The path keeps on climbing, though not very steep, for another 200 height meters. There are really big and old trees. It feels like an enchanted primeval forest. Here we see pilgrim Herman in the impressive tree-scape.On the way you can find plenty of wild flowers. Here are some examples. The purple flower is a Iris Germanica.And here we have pilgrim Jaap making his way. The walking sticks proved themselves well. They do give more stability and protect the knees, I have to admit, and especially in the descent they are handy as extensions to your arms. So you can spider your way down. The Nordic walking sticks proofed themselves well.A large mossy branch of a stone oak embraces the monopati. It is so tempting to just stare and look around. Every step is different. Staying the night here would be an experience!When we arrived at Stavros, the famous crossing where the monopati to the top of the mountain starts, (with the sign: 3 ½ hours to the top) we were impressed by the site. There were some noisy pilgrims, the first folks we met, so we sat quietly a bit further down. The next stretch would be steep down to Katounakia and Skiti Mikra Anna. But first we needed a rest.
Very Nice Essay as usual Bas. Thanks for Posting.