Parnitha – Messiano Nero all-day 23 Oct.

Join the Athens Strollers on an all-day outing to Parnitha on Sunday 23 October. This is a difficult walk, with lots of climbing on the way out. Climbing is safe everywhere, but becomes steep at a couple of points, for about 10 minutes. The walk also involves a sizeable elevation change: we start at 570 m altitude at Katsimidi, get up to 920 m at a crossing after about 110 minutes walking, and then climb further to 1060 m to reach our destination (Messiano Nero). 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.
This is not a circular walk and is a steady incline on the way out and therefore downhill on the way back. Although the track is good, it may be a bit muddy at this time of the year. The walk is being led by Xenophon (6937055502) and will go ahead even in light rain. The outing includes a picnic at Messiano Nero, in a designated picnic area on the mountain. Duration of the walk is a little over 4 hours pure walking; with stops and the picnic, expect it to take about 6 hours.

It is very important that we stick to the designated times. Please allow plenty of time to get to the walk start at Katsimidi, and respect others in case you find yourself being delayed. We will set off at 10:00 am sharp. We expect to be back in our cars around 4 pm.

Directions to get to the walk start:
Leave the Athens – Lamia national road at Varibombi bridge and head (west) towards Varibombi. While you are on the bridge crossing the Athens – Lamia national road, you are invited to zero your odometer. You will encounter several consecutive sharp bends for the first 1 ½ km. The last sharp bend is where you see the (faded) sign “Option Press”. From here on, the road straightens out for the next 2 ½ km. Midway this straight road, you go over the rail line. Bus number 503 comes along this route, departing from Zirinio school in Kifissia and terminating in Varibombi. This 2 ½ km long straight road ends at a T junction. At the T junction, turn right. Then turn left at the second turn on the left, marked for ‘Leonidas’, ‘Thea’, ‘Tzoumerka’ tavernas. This turn is 700 meters from the T junction. Set your odometer again to zero here. After 8.3 km you will see two tavernas on your right hand side. Ignore a road that leaves to the right towards “Ippokratios politeia”. Stay on the main road. Just after the tavernas, the road crosses a bridge. At 8.7 km you reach a picnic area on the left and a picnic area on the right hand side of the road. There is ample parking for cars on a space just off the road on your left hand side. This is the start of our walk.

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.

Footwear and Clothing:
Good walking shoes/boots (not gym shoes) are essential. A rainproof jacket and a cap or hood are recommended.

Food and drink:
Bring a picnic lunch as there are no tavernas in this area. We will take a picnic at Messiano Nero. You need to also carry with you plenty of water. And a bag for your litter.

Perfect outing for family members who do not like to walk:
This is a perfect opportunity for your spouse/partner and close friends, who want to enjoy their Sunday out of Athens with you, without the exercise. Anybody who does not wish to walk, may drive all the way to Parnitha, park the car (on the side of the tarmac road) just 300 m from our destination (Messiano Nero) and walk only the final 300 m downhill to reach the picnic area at Messiano Nero.

Driving instructions for those coming only for the picnic:
Head for Parnitha past the Teleferique (cable car) and up the zigzag road to the top. 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 T – 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, which used to be a hotel decades ago). At the Agia Triada junction one tarmac road turns left, another turns right. Zero your odometer and turn right here. After about 0.5km there is the turning on the right to the casino. Take the left fork here and after about 2km take the right fork just after a small bridge. Continue on past the Bafi Refuge. At 4.4 km you leave the main road and take a turning downhill to the right (signposted ‘Mola’). (If you carry straight on you come to the military installation at the summit). All roads are tarmac. After about one more km you see some forestry department signs on your right and the beginning of two dirt roads. Park on the side of the road and walk downhill along the dirt road further to your right, signposted ‘Messiano Nero 0.3 km’ (blue metal sign). In case you have missed this point, at 6.6 km you reach Mola/ Aghios Petros, with the church on your right. Turn back and drive carefully. Distances: From Agia Triada junction to the junction where you turn right and down, to go to Mola the distance is 4.4 km. From Agia Triada to Mola the distance is 6.6 km.