Sfakia report, Oct 17 (Asfendou gorge) Everything you want to ask, read or write about Sfakia, southwest Crete, or Crete island in general.

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Sfakia report, Oct 17 (Asfendou gorge)

by Jean » 18 Oct 2017, 07:54

Four of us walked from Askifou/Goni up the old path to Asfendou, then down the gorge to the coast. When we started in the morning, the sky was clear over the Lefka Ori but it was cloudy and windy where we were, not ideal conditions, and there wasn’t much of a view, although we could just see the far end of Askifou and the north coast from the top of the pass. Patches of lovely yellow endemic flower Crepis sibthorpiana brightened the way.

view to north from pass.jpg
Crepis sibthorpiana .jpg

We did get some sun on the path down from the pass to Asfendou, but the wind persisted. At one point we met a large flock up sheep coming up the path we wanted to go down, but they reluctantly gave way to us.

kaldirimi up to pass.jpg
sheep on path to Asfendou.jpg
grey ram.jpg

After stopping at the Asfendou taverna for a hot drink, we continued down the gorge – the gully at the top seems to have been cleared somewhat. The sun and wind persisted, and the few stretches with no wind were very hot. There is quite a bit of loose rock on some parts of the path now, so walking poles are recommended.

Asfendou gorge descent.jpg
in gorge.jpg

I spotted a small rock patch of Cretan distant (Origanum dictamnus) on the gorge wall, and small white flowers on a shrub which I can't identify (anybody know?).

rock wall plant.jpg
white flower.jpg

In the lower third of the gorge, the sea glistened in the distance and the lovely smell of sage filled the air.

sea and sage.jpg

We hitch-hiked back to Sfakia, where it was warm, sunny, and there had been no wind all day, with another stunning sunset.

kokkinos vrachos
Posts: 32
Joined: 01 Nov 2020, 20:35
Location: Hamburg

From Mesa Gonia to Asfendou (October 2020)

by kokkinos vrachos » 07 Nov 2020, 12:34

Kalimera, a few days ago I went from Mesa Goni on the old connecting route to Asfendou.

The hike from Mesa Goni to Asfendou is an easy and quiet hike.

It can be said that the hike consists of 3 parts:

1.) Road to Mesa Goni and the gravel road from Mesa Goni (monotonous section)

2.) the most beautiful piece, the monopathi and kalderimi

3.) the descent, the gravel road to Asfendou

1.) The first destination is the village of Mesa Goni on the Askifou plateau. From the villages of the Askifou plateau (Kares, Ammoudari and Petres) it takes 30 minutes to reach the village of Mesa Goni.

The remote village of Mesa Goni could also be in Bulgaria or Albania. But even in this godforsaken village there are two noble villas with swimming pools to rent ...

In the village of Mesa Goni there is a large sign with a section from the Anavasi map. The hike from Mesa Goni to Asfendou and from Asfendou through the Asfendou gorge to the village of Agios Nektaros is given as 5 hours. The entire route from Mesa Goni to Asfendou is marked with a green symbol. I only went the first stage from Mesa Goni to Asfendou. I have already walked the Asfendou Gorge twice - but the gorge is worth it.

From the sign in the village of Mesa Goni it is 30 minutes on the farm road (this piece is quite monotonous, since you had already walked 30 minutes on the road to Mesa Goni. The farm road first remains at the same height, then turns But uphill. After 30 minutes there is a large stable on the left, shortly afterwards the beautiful stretch on the Monopathi and Kalderimi begins and you leave the gravel road to the left. The place is clearly marked. 1 hour has already passed.

2.) Now the beautiful section of the hike begins. It then continues for 5 minutes in a narrow stream bed. After 5 minutes the path swerves to the left. Always slightly uphill. If you look back here, you can briefly see the village of Kares on the Askifou plateau.

After another 10 minutes there is a green valley. Total peace, solitude and seclusion here. Take a short break. On the right the huge Chonistra. A three-digit number of sheep hang on his.

You walk through the valley to the end of the valley where the old masonry kalderimi begins. The Kalderimi continues for 20 minutes, with the imposing Chonistra on the right. In the end, the kalderimi goes downhill again. You come to a small green area / valley.

Here you can take a longer break to enjoy the peace, solitude and seclusion. There are a few trees for shade and a cistern / well.

3.) Then the gravel road to Asfendou begins. Here you can shorten a short section (10 minutes) on the Moopathi - then continue downhill on the gravel road to Asfendou. There is another green area / valley with the red car. There are 2 cisterns / wells here.

Then the last short stretch on the gravel road past the double church Arkalokefali to Asfendou.

In Asfendou you can stop at the only tavern. I had an omelette and tzatziki - both were good.

From Ammoudari via Kares to Asfendou, I was on the way for 3:30 a.m., with a 30-minute break. I took it easy.

If you still have energy, you can walk from Asfendou through the impressive Asfendou Gorge to Agios Nektaros.

Ta Leme, kv
"I hope nothing, I fear nothing, I am free."
Nikos Kazantzakis

kokkinos vrachos
Posts: 32
Joined: 01 Nov 2020, 20:35
Location: Hamburg

Asfendou Gorge: all good things come in threes (March 2015)

by kokkinos vrachos » 07 Nov 2020, 12:43

Kalimera, i n March I planned to hike down the Asfendou Gorge from Goni via Asfendou, the venture had to be canceled due to thick fog.

Then a new attempt via Kalikratis on the road to Asfendou, this attempt had to be broken off, it poured in torrents and lightning.

Then a new attempt today. All good things come in threes. The conditions were bad, everyone said that it should pour properly today, there was even a storm warning on the Internet.

In Komitades it didn't look like rain in the morning or afternoon, it was warm and very, very humid.
So it started, this time via Imbros to Asfendou. The drive from Imbros to Asfendou was very impressive, but foggy again and again.

Asfendou looked deserted, like a village where the population had fled. The tavern in Asfendou with the same name was open.

Then started in Asfendou, ran in fog for the first 50 minutes. Unfortunately, you couldn't take anything from the environment, just guessed how wild the landscape looks around you. It was all a thick soup of fog.
The bumpy Monopati was easy to see, and so were the signs.

After 40 minutes the descent begins in a zigzag. After a few minutes, on the way down, there is a small brick building where you can take shelter in the rain.

After 50 minutes the fog subsided and you could see the wild landscape for the first time.
After 1.10 from Asfendou, you can see the sea.

15 minutes later there is a fence, at which point you have already walked in the river bed, there you go straight ahead. The junction to the right ends after a few minutes and everything is fenced off.

After a short time there is another fence at a large concrete building, from there it goes right through an olive grove onto the street. Straight ahead you come out in the village of Agios Nektarios.

In the olive grove the nets were already laid out under the trees. You just wait for the olives to fall off. This is the gentlest way of harvesting.

After exactly 2 hours I arrived on the street.

I will hike through the gorge again because this time I had the fog and the trendy rain on my neck. Fortunately it stayed dry.

Conclusion: of the three gorges I hiked via Frangokastello (I don't count the tourist gorge Imbros), Kalikratis gorge, Manikas gorge and Asfendou gorge, I found the Asfendou gorge to be the most impressive in terms of landscape.

I have great admiration for the people who created the old paths, Monopati / Kalderimi on the island hundreds of years ago, and we still hike these paths today. It is imperative to preserve these unique cultural assets.

Map: Frangokastello / Plakias, 11.17.1, 1: 25.000 from Anavasi

Ta Leme, kv
"I hope nothing, I fear nothing, I am free."
Nikos Kazantzakis

jean h
Posts: 11
Joined: 15 Sep 2020, 21:28

Re: Sfakia report, Oct 17 (Asfendou gorge)

by jean h » 07 Nov 2020, 16:43

Thank you very much for the detailed reports of your hikes - we can relive our hikes from previous years through you and enjoy the experience once again at a distance..

How long are you planning to stay in the area? Hope the weather improves for you.

kokkinos vrachos
Posts: 32
Joined: 01 Nov 2020, 20:35
Location: Hamburg

Re: Sfakia report, Oct 17 (Asfendou gorge)

by kokkinos vrachos » 07 Nov 2020, 17:10

Kalispera Jean,

"Thank you very much for the detailed reports of your hikes - we can relive our hikes from previous years through you and enjoy the experience once again at a distance.."

That pleases me.

I've been back in Hamburg for 1 week. I was a little annoyed after my return that I didn't stay in Paleochora for 1 month, now with the lockdown - it was probably the better decision.

have a nice evening, kv
"I hope nothing, I fear nothing, I am free."
Nikos Kazantzakis

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