Parnitha, Bafi-Mola-Skipiza all-day Sunday 1 April

Here is an exciting idea for an outing by members and supporters of the Athens Strollers.

In a nutshell

A Sunday trip, by car, to Mount Parnitha. It involves driving to the venue in our cars, walking in the forest for 4 hours, and ending where we left our cars. We will have a picnic in an open area, besides a spring, during the walk, which means we have to carry our food in our bags. The walk is difficult and contains several uphill and downhill sections. The walk is being led by Xenophon (6937055502) and will go ahead even in light rain.

When

Sunday 1 April 2012  

Walk Overview

The walk will take about 4 hours to complete (excluding picnic time). Good hiking shoes/boots (not gym shoes) are recommended. You also need to carry your water bottle and lunch. The walk is near the summit of Mount Parnitha, at a height of around 1000 meters. Much of the west side of Parnitha was burnt in the fires of 2007. The area where we are going is on the east side and is all green and magnificent. The walk starts and ends near (but not at) the Bafi refuge (katafygio), visits Mola (with the church of Agios Petros and a spring) and then visits Skipiza spring, where we shall have our picnic.

What to wear

The season is uncertain. Some days are quite hot down in Athens. But up there, we may even encounter pockets of snow. So, please come prepared for both warm and cold or windy.

Walk Description

We set off along the tarmac road for some 10 minutes. Then we take a narrow track on the left that heads steeply uphill through the forest for some 25 minutes, until we reach the new church of Agios Georgios on our right and the gate of the military radar station on our left, under the summit. After a brief rest, we will take a forest track to our left downhill, for some 15 minutes, until we meet another forest track where we turn right and head towards Mola.  This section lasts about 25 minutes and involves some steep downhill climbing. At Mola we will rest by the church of Agios Petros and drink the fresh water from the spring opposite. Then we take the same path up, to return after some 30 minutes to the junction of forest tracks we used earlier. At the junction we head straight. This is an undulating track through the forest that we will walk for about 60 minutes to get us to a view point with a fire prevention kiosk. From here, we will walk some steep downhill for about 15 minutes to get to Skipiza spring. Following our lunch at Skipiza, we take another track, which will take us back to our cars, in some 30 minutes.
Note times indicated are approximations.

What you may expect to see and hear

The area is rich in vegetation, with lots of fir trees (elata), at several sections providing good shade. Along the way, we will stop at 2 springs with fresh, drinkable water. The one in Mola and the one in Skipiza. We further expect to see flowers on the forest floor and hear birds singing. Parts of the walk offer splendid views to the gulf of Evia and the Saronic gulf.

The picnic

What goes in your basket is up to you. Dry food is preferred by most. Things such as sandwiches, meat balls, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, fruits. Do not forget to bring along a bag for your litter. In case we encounter conditions that make picnicking difficult (e.g. wet terrain), we shall move to Plan B and dine at the taverna ‘Peloponissos’, in Thrakomakedones, on our way as we drive down the mountain. We shall drive there in a convoy. 

Meeting point

We meet at the Agia Triada junction atop Mount Parnitha. At 10:30 am. Directions are given in two sets. The first set takes you to the start of the ascent of Parnitha, at the cable car/ teleferique parking area. The second set takes you from the cable car area, uphill to the Agia Triada junction. 
To get to the cable car (teleferique) parking area

Get on the National Road (Ethniki Odos) – the main Athens-Lamia highway.

If coming from Attiki Odos or the city centre or the South:

Take the exit off the Athens-Lamia National Road, North of the Attiki Odos, that is signposted for Thrakomakedones/Olympic village/ Aharnes. This bridge is also called ‘Kaliftaki’. Get onto the bridge, facing Parnitha mountain (on your left). The distance from the point where the traffic from Attiki Odos flows into the National Road and the Kaliftaki exit is 3.7 km.

If coming from the North (e.g. Kifissia): take the exit from the Athens-Lamia National Road just after Promot Lainopoulos (the car dealership on your right selling “Smart” cars) and before you reach the Attiki Odos (it is signposted for Thrakomakedones/Olympic village). This bridge is also called ‘Kaliftaki’. Get onto the bridge, facing Parnitha mountain.

Zero your odometer at the junction at which you leave the Athens-Lamia National Road. Follow the straight road facing Mount Parnitha ahead. You come to traffic lights after 1.9 km. Continue straight. After 2.4 km you get to a 2nd set of traffic lights, with a road sign reading “Acharnes” just before. Turn left at this point.

You are now on a straight road (Odos Ibiskou), which takes you to a T-junction with a principal road in Aharnes, named Leoforos (Avenue) Karamanli, after 3.6 km. Turn right into Leoforos Karamanli. You will recognize it because it is full of stores, on either side of it. Keep going on Leoforos Karamanli, heading towards the mountain range ahead. After 5.4 km you get to traffic lights, with a road sign “Parnitha, teleferique” ahead. Go straight.

Eventually the road takes a climb and at the 6.4 km point you begin to pass many tavernas, on either side of the road.

Keep going past the tavernas for a couple of km (until the 8.3 km point) and you will see the cable car on your right after 10.5 km.

Coming by Bus:

Bus 714 gets from Plateia (square) Vathis in central Athens up to the teleferique.

To get to the top of Mount Parnitha, from the cable car (teleferique) parking area

Zero your odometer just as you drive past the teleferique. The road climbs and takes many bends, so drive especially carefully. After 11 km you reach a junction (this is the Agia Triada junction), facing a derelict 3-storey building (this used to be a chalet/ restaurant named Kyklamina, but was burnt down by the fires). (Just before this junction, on a right bend, you will drive past a multi-storey derelict building on your left, which used to be a hotel decades ago). At the Agia Triada junction one tarmac road turns left, another turns right. Turn right and stop, before the church on your left. This is our meeting point. We meet here at 10:30 am.
 
Caution The Agia Triada junction is our meeting point. It is not the walk start. Once we have all gathered at the meeting point, we will drive the few kilometers in a convoy to the walk start, with plenty of parking places. If you choose to ignore these instructions, skip the meeting point and drive directly to the walk start, you are doing so at your own risk and you should not telephone to ask for instructions and halt the group.

Overall, the time required to reach the meeting point is about 45 minutes, after leaving the Athens – Lamia National Road.

Times

It is very important that we stick to these times. Timetable as follows:

We meet at the Agia Triada junction atop Mount Parnitha 10:30 am

Allow 45 minutes, after leaving the Athens – Lamia National Road, to reach the meeting point

We drive in a convoy from Agia Triada to the walk start 10:45 (not later)

Walk starts around 11 am

We expect to have finished walking (and be back in our cars) around 4 pm

Cost

The only out of pocket cost is the expense of your picnic meal, which you will be bringing along.

Don’t have a car?

You are still welcome. Just commit early enough, and we will make arrangements to pick you up in one of the cars coming along, at some pick-up point to suit both parties.

I like it, what do I need to do now?

Please consult with your family members/ friends and reply to Xenophon. 

In replying, please indicate a)your acceptance, b)if you have a car or need a lift, c)number of people you need a lift for, d)number of vacant seats in your car.