2269 – FoMA footpath team 2022 – part 3.02: the Ridge path above Vatopedi to Chera

In the second part of our clearing day on September 28th 2022 we made a classical mistake that often happens when hiking on Athos, by paying no attention while walking on a dirt road and missing a sign in the bushes.

In the last post of this hike, I explained how we almost got back to the starting point of the monopati we walked (part of the original Ridge trail), because an avalanche and fallen trees blocked our way. But one of our team members managed to find a way through it: shortly after, we met Father Nifon, who helped us get back on track. So we continued our journey north on the dirt road (which road is now part of the Way of the Bay/the Ridge path).

A few hundred meters further on we had to look for the beginning of a monopati, to resume our clearing task. At the fork we had to turn right and came out on a newly dug dirt road. And it is here that we made our mistake by missing the turn to the left, where the path continued in the forest.

The wrong way: newly dug dirt road

Soon we realized we had missed a turn as we saw a monster bulldozer destroying Athos and we realized that this newly dug road could never be part of the old Ridge trail. Bart asked the driver if he could help us: we had to walk back to find the right turn!

The bulldozer on the new dirt road

And finally we found the right turn, at the beginning of the newly dug dirt road, even with FoMA signs. How could we missed it? We continued our way.

A good example of why it is nescessary to clean the paths on Athos: a thick fallen tree lies over the path.

This is where the Way of the Bay meets the monopati that goes down to Konstamonitou, as shown with a yellow arrow on the Howorth map below:

Detail of the Peter Howorth map, buy it here.
14.20 PM: time for a pauze

Only few hundred meters away from the famous Chera point: an old house or farm in ruins, with a wheel to be able to get the water from the (dried) well.

And then we finally reached at 15 PM the famous resting place and well, Chera, or The Hand:

Chera, seen from three angles
A haute-relief with faded inscriptions from 1851 and with a hand pointing to the south and in the direction of Karyes.
The text above the wooden cross (Slavonic text?)
The second hand pointing to the north and Sografou.
with a picknick table and signs everywhere, see pictures below

From Chera it was a relatively quick hike downhill back to Vatopedi.

An old dried well on our way down
15.45 PM: Walking through the gardens and olive orchard of Vatopedi

This ends our 9 hour working day and efforts to clear the paths near Vatopedi.

Wim Voogd, 5-6-2023

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