Since the Samaria gorge isn’t open from Omalos until May 10th, the Imbros gorge is very popular with people staying on the north coast at the moment. If you want to hike the gorge and take your time looking around in relative peace, it is best to start before 9:30am or in the afternoon.
The gorge is still very green and full of spring flowers. We were delighted to find a few bee orchids (ophrys) near the top, and a fritillaria part way down, as well as a few other less common flowers (photos in another posting). We heard baby birds chirping next to the path at one point and stopped to watch a mother Great Tit (Parus major) zoom into a small eye-level hole in the cliff where she had her nest.
The scenery in the gorge is always impressive – the narrow winding passages, black curved layers of rock in the white cliffs, soaring slopes and huge scree piles, a mixture of green trees, goats foraging for food.
After we got to the bottom of the gorge, we visited the tiny cave church of Agios Onouphrios that is tucked into a cliff just below the road to the right of the large sheep station (you can go through an opening in the fence by the road just around the corner from the first taverna). The saint was a 5th century hermit who lived in the Egyptian desert, so it’s interesting that a church in Komitades honours him.
We walked through the village, enjoying the flowers and plants along the street. Back in Sfakia late in the afternoon, the sea was very rough, and a fresh wind blew until after sunset.