Follow the dotted line…

So today we sat in the apartment looking at the map and wondering what we could cram in for out last few days. We still wanted to look at Kazaviti and Thassos town one day and also at properly at Giola and the monastery nearby. One thing we haven’t done yet, climb to the highest point. We bought a hiking map near the beginning as we had no real map of the island especially not one which showed footpaths and it has a habit of making contours look surprisingly spaced out. Still, we’ve got a whole day and no plans so what’s the worst that can happen.

I ate a promising breakfast…

Breakfast.

Pissed off a donkey…

Friends?

And we’re off at the bottom of what looks to be around a 6.5km walk, probably take us a few hours…

Ypsario Start

 

Mount Ypsario is our final destination at 1206m, while we start at Theologos which is estimate to be around 280m. Lee decides that this is a good time to ‘break in’ the flip flops and forgets back up shoes. Still, the incline isn’t too steep and we’ve had a week of walking about to prepare, we’re mainly walking on smooth rocks which is nice that picking your way over lumpy boulders too.

Ypsario Start

 

Route to Ypsario

 

It’s a slightly odd sensation walking through the a fairly thick forest as we have no real idea of how high we’ve come or how high we have to go. We’re completely relying on the red dotted waymarks guiding us up the side of the mountain, which fortunately are fairly numerous and reliable. After around an hour of being very hot, we come to our first viewpoint which allows us to see up to the peak ahead. While this view looks over to the right, we’re headed up and over the ridge to the left and then up again to the next top.

Route to Ypsario

 

So we continue, past various contorted trees

Route to Ypsario

 

 

And on to the next ridge where the first peak is clearly visible.

Route to Ypsario

 

We then continue upwards through the woods to climb the ridge of the peak ahead. So far the walking has been fairly steady, you can keep a pace going, but on the last part of the climb to the first peak it’s massive rocky boulders that you have to jump between. Weirdly, I expected the ones with waymarks on them not to be giant seesaws, but this apparently, is not the case.

Route to Ypsario

 

Route to Ypsario

 

So we made it to here, and initially that was all we were planning on doing. But then, how many times am I going to come up here and be able to walk to the summit again, not likely. Although someone already has blisters, but stubbornly refuses to go back down. Priorities first though, lunch. E.g, cheesy wotsits and beer…

Route to Ypsario

 

And though you might not expect it, there’s flowers up here in summer!

Route to Ypsario

 

 

View from the first peak, 1075m. The beach below is the golden beach at Skala Potamias that we drove past earlier in the week.

Route to Ypsario

 

 

And here is the route to the top along the ridge, Mt Ypsario, 1206m.Route to Ypsario

What was nearly the top, looking back out down the ridge we walked up. We then discovered that the path actually continues parallel along the ridge to the peak and climbs up the back. This would be fine if the route of a practically vertical face didn’t consist of loose rocks, dirt and pine cones, and we were both wearing flip flops. On my case not so bad, I actually think they’re quite good for clinmbing in but one of us is suffering a bit by this point.

Route to Ypsario

 

 

 

Route to Ypsario

We did however, finally make it to the top, and as ever the view was worth it, You can practically see the entire island and a large portion of the the coast of the mainland too.

 

 

Mt Ypsario

Mt Ypsario

 

 

Dortunaly at the top, we weren’t the only people. To arrive just a few minutes after us, who had hiked, I believe, from the Golden Beach region, were a lovely Bulgarian couple. They, being sensible had bandages and plasters of which they gave us a great number and were incredibly helpful. Making the route back down slightly better, my main concern from the moment we decided to climb the second peak was time. I’ve finished enough walks in the dark, to know how easy it can be to not account for time on the descent. To roughly breakdown our time so far; we left at 12.30, reached the first peak at 3, reach Ypsario by 5. We stopped for half an hour to have a breather and eat as well as small water/picture stops on the way which gave us a total time of 4.5 hours. Normally the  descent is quicker, but the light starts to go around here at around 8 o’clock, so as much as we would have liked to have spent longer at the top, we began our descent.

Bandage Feet

 

Making much better time on the way down, we made it to the first peak in an hour and the to the final downhill straight in two. On the way down here we started losing the light as the sun set behind the hills around us.

 

 

Route down from Ypsario

 

 

Nearly in the dark before we could see the car parked at Theologos village

View to Theologos

 

And after, at the bottom. Both on the verge of falling over from being so tired and very thirsty!

After Ypsario

 

The damage –

Blisters

 

Still worth it I maintain… Although probably not the best planned.

 

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