The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Samaria Gorge

Signage at the top of the Mountain gorge
How quickly?

Each trip we plan at least one challenging hike and this year is no different. The Samaria gorge hike is in a National Park by the same name and is a gorge that drops some 1200M. from snow level in winter to sea level in about 16 kms. Probably the most technical hike we have ever done since for easily ¾ of it you have to position each step since you are walking down rocks that have become polished over time, or rough skree.
Rough trail but the there is a handrail in places

In addition, the logistics of getting to, and returning from the hike are a challenge, a special bus has to be caught from downtown Chania (only 2 per day) which takes you slightly over an hour to climb into the mountains. Then you hike down to a remote beach community that is serviced by a once daily ferry/barge that arrives at 17:30 hrs. But it may not arrive at that time, that’s just approximate. Once it arrives, as with ours it still had 2 more pickups to make along other remote beach communities before arriving in Hokra Stadion, that has a newer road into it. There you catch the last bus back to Chania. It waits until the ferry gets in and delivers its passengers. Our ferry was supposed to arrive in Hokra approximately 18:10 but didn’t arrive till 19:
Creek Crossings
30. Then you hike up a hill to the bus get on and wind another 1 ¼ hrs. back into Chania. We arrived back in Chania at 21:30 hrs. and were quite tired. Sandra and I both discussed the fact we couldn't do bus trips or transfers etc. Too much queuing, waiting, and then the rides put me to sleep. I'd never see anything, but I'd be well rested.

But the hike was worth it. Scenery that compares to Kootenay National Park around Radium Hot Springs, pure spring water that just emanates from the rock and is so cold, compared to the 30+ C temperatures you are hiking in. We packed in 2 ½ litres of water and splashed and drank easily another 3 litres while on the hike.
Gorge Walls
The level of expertise hiking was surprising, from some people who it seemed it was their first hike, and had some real struggles, to some who walked down like they were strolling in town. We’d recommend that people do some preparation before a hike like this and get some 7-10 km walks in, like we do around Ladysmith, a perfect training ground for this. There are many nationalities represented in the hiking entourage as well.
All Nationalities here

Samaria has been lived in since pre-historic times and there is a settlement
Settlement remains from 1200 BC
about 6 kms up the gorge from the beach that can be seen. Wild goats called Agrimli’s can be found wandering the cliffs and settlement areas today. They are the largest wild mammal on Crete.

Old Church

Once you get to the remote community there is evidence of an old castle, a bridge that is constructed very much like the Stari Most at Mostar, and an old Greek Orthodox church. High on the hill protecting the gorge are the remnants of an old castle as well.
As we leave by Ferry

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