Earlier this year me, my friend Stati and his son Costa, planned a week long holiday for early april. When it came to the destination, the choices were down to go skiing in the french alps, or go trekking in crete.
April seemed a bit late to go skiing in good conditions so we decided we'd go to crete instead. The white mountains, in crete, are our usual playground when it comes to trekking, and from a last trip in early may, we knew we could face difficulties along the way that would require some equipement (crampons, piolets). Occasional snowdrifts may linger at places at this time of the year.
A day walk to Kastro summit
So, on the 6th of april, we finally landed at Chania. It was late when we got there, so we could not see the mountains. Next morning: whoah, what a surprise! There was a lot of snow still!
Before going for a multi-day trip through the mountains, we took the decision to climb Kastro peak, this would take us a day and help us make a decision for a further expedition.
The hillside above Therisso is well fed with springs, which is quite unusual in the Lefka Ori range. There are three of them on the old transhumance trail to Kolokithas valley. Nowadays, sheperdhing activities still exist on this northern side of the mountains. I have met shepherds and herds on my way to Kolokithas, as far as Tria Matia pass.
Kolokithas probably was an important place long ago, there is a large mitato complex there, suggesting people did operate in the valley. From Kolokithas, it is possible to go to Livada and Pirou Mitato. These routes offer access respectively, to Livada and Potamos valley. They are disused however, and have been for quite some time. There are no real paths to be found (few segments here and there). The way to Kolokithas itself from Therisso is not well defined, and there are no waymarks. Last august, I had the opportunity to walk the trail, starting from Therisso to Agia Roumeli on the South coast.
Among the three main mountain ranges in Crete, the Lefka Ori is the only one that has a coastline. The south side of the mountains is like a balcony on the lybian sea. The coast line is rugged, with barren cliffs cut by deep gorges. Among these, Samaria is the most famous gorge, but there are half a dozen more. The nature is wild and as a consequence, the place is not well developped. There are few infrastructures and ferry boats are the only way to travel between villages on the coast. The lack of roads, however, is a blessing for trekkers. Between Anidri beach near Paleochora, and Sfakia, three villages are linked by footpaths: Sougia, Agia Roumeli and Loutro.
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