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From Therisso to Lívada (above Kolokithas area)

Last week of May, 2012

1st day: Generally, there are roughly two ways how to get on the Lívada Valley from Therisso – a village in the northern foothill of Levka Ori. The first one is along an old (and recently almost unused already) connection via the area of Kolokithas, where there is also unused and uncompleted “mitato” (a local stone shelter of shepherds) from which a path toward next mitatoPirghos – is running. This second mitato is on the top of a lower hill and from this point the third mitato of this area – Lívada – is in sight. However, I chose another way: to go along the Therisso-road as far as the end of its left branch, continue then following the range with Mavri and Ornio summits and on the end of this range to descent to the saddle Stavros Seli and go on down on the Lívada valley.

Moreover, also setting out just from the village has two possibilities. It is possible to leave the village upward along the road toward Zourva and Meskla villages and not so far behind a road sign designating the end of the village to use a small path to the left and down. This footpath is quite steep first but for only a couple of meters it levels out. It is not a very good path, sometimes broken, but rather usable. It runs under a fence of a goat’s barn and beyond it, the footpath goes up to the road where there is an openable part of fences. Next way is along this road (toward the village of Drakona) as far as the place where the road turns left to cross a gully over a bridge. Still before this bridge, one has to turn right through another openable part of fences. Behind fences, a well visible path runs on the slope. It goes twice through fences and continues as far as the third one along which it is necessary to go up to the road again. Next openable part of the fence allows a walker to leave this enclosure but just for going through a small gate in next fences again. A good cartway goes on behind this gate to come to some pens. Now one has to leave this cartway up a small rocky hillock on the right where the up-going footpath starts. Following this path one gets to the last fences of this first part of the track which is necessary to overcome, too, to get to the spring called Alyakes.

There is also the second possibility how to get at the same place but I have never tried it. According to the book-guide of Lorain Wilson, this track starts beside the Venizelos statue on a small square in Therisso. The track goes down along the road and behind a café, it is needed to turn right on a path. This way continues through some enclosure or an open garden and joins with the Drakona-road then. Now, one must go along this road, pass first branch to the right (leading toward some barns) and turn on the second one, which continues as far as the spring of Alyakes.

So, now you are beside the spring at an altitude of about 830m. This spring is usually working year round, thus to take enough water is a rather good idea especially for the fact next water source is a quite long way away. To continue the track, return on the dirty shepherd's road is needed. This road runs in easy gradient as far as a small plateau with some fences and several cypress trees. Above this place, there is a T-junction of this road. The left branch it the right one. (Via the right branch you can get to the Pighadaki mitato - see the contribution "Therisso-Pighadaki-Poria.....). The road makes a large loop and as soon as it starts going like back again, there is next spring (called Monoskafídhi) on the left slope, higher above a huge walnut tree. This point is – according to the above-mentioned book-guide – a beginning of the old connection to the Kolokithas area, but because I didn’t go along this way, I will describe the way which I used.

The unsurfaced road is good, easy and very scenic because many views on central and western parts of Levka Ori open here. The road passes also a well-kept mitato where water could be but it is not sure. This Therisso-road ends in a gully, near a water tank for collecting rain and snow water, and a well built small stony house. The way forks here. One possibility is to go just round the stony house and continue above the gorge which is on the right side. This part of the whole track from Therisso and also continuation above the gorge approximately westward is described on this website in the first part of the contribution “From Therisso to Agia Roumeli” even with pictures. However, I chose to go different way now – I started ascent sideward just above the water tank. At first, with stony terrain underfoot only but suddenly a quite well tramped footpath appeared which turned to the left to get after about a half an hour on a very nice place. This place is really very pleasant three gullies meet here and a small flat platform covering by short grass just challenges for pitching a tent here. Because the day declined, I did do it, prepared something for eating and with coming darkness hit the rack.

2nd day: In the morning (very nice and sunny but a little bit chili), I started the ascent NW slope. There is no way but if one gets on the top can see an old mitato lower down (it isn't  drown on the ANAVASI map). Some not very distinct path is going around it heading upward the slope on skyline, on the right side of rocks visible on the ridge. Now the path weaves through barberry growth to approach the ridge-top above. How nice and wide view opens now from here!! Just lower down there is the area of Kolokithas full of hillocks and potholes with above mentioned mitato staying on the top of one among these hillocks. However, the first snow-field appeared here, too. This area is surrounded by summits of the central part of Levka Ori, with peaks of Svourichti and Agio Pneuma in background. The ridge to the right is slightly declining (in its lowest place there is a path connecting the Kolokithas mitato) whereas to the left this ridge slightly rises. This direction was “chosen of mine” but due to the bad weather conditions (quite strong and very cold wind pushing clouds over the spine), I kept lower on the lee side. I climbed even large stones without any path, through terrain underfoot only. Some saddles were on my way, too, but these were full of snow in this time (the end of May) therefore I had to do detours of these parts. In this time, parts of Lívada under the huge massif of Agio Pneuma were coming in sight step by step. The fact, I avoided the top of the ridge, was the reason why I didn’t climb the summit of Mavri which is a little bit beside this main range (In certain place, the range forks as though creating flatter part with some pot-holes and this flatter part which  is bordered by the main ridge on the one side and by the massif of Mavri on the opposite one. These two ridges join to each other not so far from the summit of Ornio.) In this way, I got in the saddle under lower of two Ornio summits. It is also a place where the declining ridge starts falling down to Lívada, to level lower down and there is in its lower part the mitato Pirghos on the top of the hill. Formerly, I intended to leave my backpack here, continue up the summits of Ornio lightly with a day-sack and my camera only, return then and continue down along this ridge and the Pirghos mitato on the Lívada. However, because the declining ridge seemed me to be “uncomfortable” for descent, I decided to climb up the summits with full baggage and to descend later. To get up the summits from here isn’t too differently difficult in comparison with hiking on the slope. So, I reached both summits without problems. The view from the main summit of Ornio is really entrancing and magnificent!! Deeply down there is spreading the Lívada valley behind which a mighty mass of Agio Pneuma is towering with the upper part of a cone of Grias Soros aback whereas for 90° to the left the next conical peak of Spathi is in view. In sight more left, it is possible to see turning range running from the Ornio summit creating a huge doline behind which the dark peak of Mavri is arising. The whole ridge on which slopes I came here is in view then and 360°view is completed by the distant range of Melindanou, the area of Kolokithas with peaks around it and the summit of Svourichti, finally. Now, I had two possibilities how to get down on Lívada: either to continue following the ridge turning slightly to the right and down to Stavros Seli (the saddle above the valley) or to fall directly down avoiding the saddle. I chose the second possibility and after not so long descent I reached Lívada where I spent next night before continuation my track now along the E4 route already (Katsiveli, Potámos, cliffs under Zaranokefala, Agios Ioannis on the Anopolis Plain, Sellouda, Agios Pavlos on the shore and Agia Roumeli as an aim of my efforts).



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