Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Astrakiano - Kounaviano Gorges of Karteros... with your dog

7 friends and 4 dogs - gorge walk at Karteros
I'm sad I don't have more photos from this hike we did last autumn. We had 4 dogs with us that day (Sage, Mayia, Betty and Poppy) and they had such a great time chasing each other through the gorge.

We started out from a point just outside the village of Skalani where the two gorges unite and continue to the coast. From here you have two options: to walk down through the Kounaviano Gorge to Karteros Beach; or to head up through the Astrakiano Gorge to the abandoned village of Kato Astraki, near Myrtia. This was the end of summer, 2012, and it was a bit hot for the slightly uphill, difficult, shadeless path from Skalani to Myrtia that we followed. It would probably have been a better choice to walk down to the sea, and figured out in advance a way to get back to the cars.

Anyway, the path started out easy enough, except for the lack of shade. Along the way you can harvest pomegranates, figs and almonds from the trees growing in the gorge. After 1-2km, the path became more difficult; at several points it was necessary to jump over the stream, and I think we lost the path altogether by the end.

We ended up with a long, hot slog uphill on an asphalt road, to reach Myrtia. From there we recovered with cool beers, while some of our group hitch hiked back to Skalani for the cars to take us home.

These gorges are great for hiking, as long as you plan your route according to the temperature and your energy/ability/time. The total length of the gorge is approximately 21km, and there are numerous points of interest along the way, such as caves, water mills, old churches, as well as interesting wildlife. I'd love to go back and do this hike again during winter.

Here's a link to the description of the gorges from the Cretanbeaches website:

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