Kissavos part I

Olympos and Kissavos the two mountains are fighting…. And because we have already climbed Mount Olympus, we decided to visit the other brawler, Kissavos. So we leave Thessaloniki, heading south. Our destination is at first, the village Spilia, at 850 m altitude on the west side of the mountain and from there to the refuge of EOS Larissa.

Kissavos has an altitude of 1978 m (summit Profitis Elias) and is also known as Ossa. It is located in the northeast of the prefecture of Larissa and south of Olympus Mountain. The two mountains are separated from the Tempi valley. Its large volume and its conical shape like a pyramid summit, make the mountain recognizable from far away. The view from the mountain’s high ground is, to the west the plain of Larissa, to the south the plain of Agia and to the east the Aegean Sea, where its slopes are meeting with the sea. The rugged and rocky northwest side is in contrast to its southern and eastern sides, full of gurgling cool waters and dense forests.

We are leaving the highway in the exit for Sykourio. We cross the small town and we are starting to drive uphill. The characteristic pyramid of the summit is getting closer and closer as we are driving up  the snake shaped  road. After 12 km. we reach Spilia, a classic beautiful Greek village lost in the green nature. The village took its name from the caves on the north side of it.

 

Kissavos refuge (Alt.1604m) – Telecom building (Alt.1810m)

We are crossing the village and we continue to follow the asphalt road that brings us gently, to a higher altitude. Our destination is now the refuge of EOS Larissa at the location of “Canalos” at 1,604 m altitude. The surrounding forest is our companion for a few more kilometers. The vegetation, as we go higher, is getting smaller and thinner. In about 11 km, on the edge of the forest, after a small turn, we can see the refuge and in a few meters we are at its door. That’s where the road ends. The refuge stands  on a natural plateau, in a beautiful place, fenced and tidy, with a magnificent view of Mount Olympus, the coasts  of the prefecture of Larissa and of course the mountain summit. Now we have to set up our camp and start walking for our goal, which is the peak.

 

However, the weather is cloudy and the first raindrops are starting to fall. We had to rush. We did not even get to unload our gear when it started raining, so we had to wait on the refuge veranda. Luckily, the rain lasted a little bit, but our schedule was shortened with a considerable delay. That is the reason why we have decided to start our trek first and then to set our camp. So we begin heading east, to the small stone tower on our left, where we stop for the necessary photos and continue the ascent, heading south, between hollows and low vegetation. Our orientation is easy, since we have the abandoned telecom building at the end of the slope, as a landmark.

The weather continues to be heavy and again the raindrops make their appearance, making our walk pretty hard and wet. We are now in the middle of the route and the rain is as much as to spoil our mood. Under the circumstances, we have decided to go back and try our luck the next day. Stratos and Thodoris, however, father and son, decided to continue climbing up to the small ridge   near the telecom building and from there to walk up the ridge to the top. So the team was divided into two.

 

We, the return team, took the road back to the refuge, walking on the edge of a small slope, formed by a small stream’s bed. It took us 2 hours to return from our inglorious trek and when we arrived at the refuge, the weather began to get better. We settled things up and started preparing the meal, waiting for the summit team to return .Indeed, after two hours, they returned with the joy of success painted on their faces.

The weather was getting better and better and we spent the rest of the day preparing the camp, listening to our friends and the “summit story”, having dinner and romancing late at night, because the enlightened villages on the coast of Larissa combined with the starry sky, were an amazing spectacle.