Hicking Pangeo Mt.

Every time before we start our excursions we try to prepare ourselves by researching info about our destination, even the boring numbers that usually are to be found in Wikipedia. But the boring numbers give always a good “feeling” about the dimensions of our target.

Pangeo mountain has 40Km length and 20Km width and it stands alone, between the prefectures of  Kavala and Serres.

In the ancient times, it was a place for worshiping Dionysus (the god of the grape harvest and wine) and according to Greek mythology, Orpheus each day went up in the homonym mountainous valley in order to greets the sun with his harp. The mountain was also known for its gold and silver mines, which became the reason of wealth for the ancient residents of Thasos at first and later for the Athenians and the Macedonians and gave the economic resources for the magnificent expedition of Alexander the Great. Byzantine monasteries and churches, are marking the passing of the Byzantines from the region.

Its dense and deep green forests, are starting from a low altitude and are consisting of oaks, beeches, chestnuts and spruces. At mountain’s feet, there are very beautiful small and traditional villages. Mesoropi, Moustheni, Avli at the south side, Nikisiani, Proti and Rodolibos at the north side. They are lost in the nature and their offers are the rest and the calm to every visitor.

Mountain summits are Mati [1956m], Dikorfo or Trikorfo [1940m], Voskos [1858] and Avgo [1835m]. Although, there is a narrow road that leads up to summit Mati (for servicing television and telecommunication installations) the mountain has marvelous trekking routes of  various distances.

 

We decided to get to know this mountain more and to learn its secrets. Our camping spot will be the place “Pangeo Forester facilities”  (about 10 Km from Akrovouni village, altitude 1100m ) near the refugee of  Kavala Mountaineering Club. In our research for planning our little expedition, we must give credits to the people of  Kavala Mountaineering Club for the exceptional and detailed  internet site  ,from which we took most of the information, as well as for the advices that they gave us when we talked over the  phone.

So we left Thessaloniki , heading to Kavala and up to Moustheni’s  junction .From there , in 11,4 Km we reached the village of Akrovouni. We thought, instead of continuing in the national road ( Egnatia road) up to Eleftheroupoli and from there to Akrovouni, that it would be better to drive the last kilometers  along the mountain’s feet ,  following  the old road  that linked the villages .

 

USEFUL INFORMATION

Distance from Thessaloniki: 134 km

Place of camp: Pangeo Forester facilities (Altitude.1100m)

Water: Yes

European Number of Emergency: 112

Fire Brigade Dept: 199

Medical Emergency: 166

Kavala Mountaineering Club : phone 2513007492  www.eoskavalas.gr

Avgo Summit , Pangeo Mountain

Day 1

 

Route Information

Description : trekking, light ascent that turns out to  moderate and relatively difficult at the end near the summit.

Summit Avgo (Altitude 1835m),

Length: 1 kilometer and 200 meters.

Water in route: No

Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes. (Ascent)

1 hour. (Descent)

The route took place at SEP.2014

Team members: 4 adults and 3 children 11 and 7 years

Arriving at Akrovouni, we were looking in vain for a road sign, that can  leads us “To ski resort” or “Orpheus Valley” or something. We thought, obviously wrong, that the local municipality would like to highlight the beauty of the place and help visitors in their orientation. If we had not ask for information at the village, we would  not have found  the way up to the mountain. So, for anyone  who wants to go to the same place, he must pass the village (direction to  Eleftheroupoli) and at the end of it ,he must turn left to a u-turn,  almost 180 degrees,  slightly downhill. Take that turn and the road continues going uphill to the mountain from the east side. There is no specific sign to assist you, so you should ask someone from the village for the right direction.

We began our ascent to a beautiful snake shape road, which leads slowly to higher altitude. All around, we admire the beauty of nature, the oak and beech trees, the flowers and the tall grass, fill all our senses with the palette of autumn colors. Now, we are at the heart of the mountain and the sun rays hardly reach us through the dense forest.

In about 13 km and in 1100m altitude, after a left turn, we see on our right hand, a small hill and the roof of a wooden house. We go uphill to the small road and in front of us , appears a forest  glade with 7 small wooden houses, gazebos, barbecues and water springs. The place and the surroundings are fascinating, but unfortunately it was completely neglected and filled with garbage. No maintenance on the houses woodwork and   bins filled with trash which the wind, small forest animals and the birds, have scattered around. The situation was so bad, that on our return home, we sent a protest letter to the Forest Service and the local Municipality. It took about an hour to clean up and then we set up our small camp. Because of cleanliness, there was no time for coffee, so we continued driving to the Valley of Orpheus and the summits. Our goal is Avgo summit.

We continue on the same snake shape road and after 5Km, on our right, we see the refuge “Argiris Petaloudas” which is the last point before mountain’s alpine zone. The forest has come to its end and now we drive to a rocky landscape, where the tall grass is the only vegetation. In another 5km, we reach the end of our automotive route. From this point, we need a 4×4 vehicle. We are now in Orpheus Valley (altitude 1750m), between the summits and we can see at northwest refuge “Hadzigeorgiou” and above it, Mati summit. At the southeast, we can see Avgo summit.  From this point, only on foot.

With our backpacks and our equipment, we turn right (east direction) and we walk onto the earth road that leads to the starting point of the ski lift. From there, we turn right (south direction) and we go up the slope, with good inclination, following the ski  lift up to its end. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a dozen of partridges, took off the tall grass. They were so well hidden, that we were about 5m close to them when they flew away. Unfortunately, everything happened so fast, that we could not shoot even one photo. We continue, ascending and at the end of the ski lift, we stop for a little break at the small plateau. The summit rises gorgeous straight ahead, with the clouds like a crown at the top. After a while, we cross the remaining of an earth road and we turn right (west direction) continuing the ascent .The terrain now is more flat and the inclination is better than before. The earth road ends. Now we are in the middle of the summit’s feet, just below the top. We make a stop and we inspect visually the summit’s cone for the best path for our ascent. Inclination is steep and we are looking for the mildest spots. Walking on the mountain, especially with children, the main concern must be safety. We decided to ascent freely through a rock formation, that gives us the necessary steps for our climb.

Now we are climbing carefully meter by meter and in a while we step on the summit, which is identified by a magnificent iron cross. Unfortunately the weather didn’t help us. The clouds are low and we can’t admire the view .In clear weather, heading North you can see  the plains of Serres and Drama and heading  South  , Thasos  island, the Aegean sea and Athos mountain. We are waiting for just hole in the clouds, but in vain. So, after the necessary photos, we take the road back. Meter be meter again, carefully we arrive at the base of the peak. We can see our cars waiting us in the middle of nowhere, down the Valley of Orpheus. We take a goat path which descends to the valley and we follow its turns. Behind us, the summit slip away and we descend freely, watching two Eagles flying over our heads. After a while, we arrive at our cars and we drive back to our camp. Now our goal is the steaks and sausages, wine and beer. After a good day, a good meal is what we need.

 

 

Pangeo Forester facilities, Pageo mountain

Day 2

Route Information

Description: circular hiking in the forest around “Pangeo Forester facilities” (altitude 110m) Pangeo mountain

Route Length: 3km

Water in route: No

Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes

The route took place at SEP.2014

Team members: 4 adults and 3 children 11 and 7 years

 

After a beautiful and starry night, we woke up in a sunny morning. The weather seemed to compensate us for his yesterday tricks. After having breakfast and having no mood for ascending again, we started our hike in the woods around our camp site.  We decided to go deep into the dense forest, to explore it a little bit and by making a big circle to return to our base.

So we started heading north, we left the last wooden house behind us and began to walk on a rock line formation, which on the left-hand side had a big cliff, ending at a narrow gorge at the bottom. The scenery is magnificent. The trees were standing tall on the edges of the rocks and the few flowers grew up through the stones. We decided to move up to the end of this rock line. After about 200m, the bare rocks came to an end and the ridge on which we walked was starting to fade in the first trees of the forest. We turn in east direction and now we were hiking in a forest of beech trees. We admired the palette of nature and the colors of autumn. The light was going through the dense leafage, creating small beams that illuminate like small spotlights the morning dew on the flowers. We continued walking for 1km on easy terrain, where the only obstacles were some huge tree logs fallen on the ground. The sounds of the birds, the buzz of the insects and dry leaves cracking noise under our feet, was our companion, all the way.  After a while, we crossed with the public road and by taking it, we returned back. Relaxed and in a good mood, we more strolled than walked and we were loafing the timbers that were stacked up at small plateaus near the road, supplies for the upcoming winter. Loosely and without realizing how the time passed by, after 1.5 km, we arrived back to the starting point of our hike.

Now it was time to gather our tents and leave the images that we saw, to become memories.  We gave a promise to come back, with better whether next time, to admire what we were not able to see from the summit and also  to walk the path of Mesoropi, a path that starts from the homonymous village and  going up  in the heights of this lonely and beautiful this mountain.