It’s summer time and here in Greece weather can be quite warm. Actually hot! Very hot!. The weather forecast was for 39 C degrees. Therefore we took the decision of visiting the Skiritida forest, instead of hitting a hot (from temperature) beautiful Greek beach.
Skiritida is an ancient place. It is located in southern Arcadia. It has Mainalo to the north, to the east is Parnonas and to the south lies the passage between Parnonas and Taygetos. Picturesque villages nestle on the slopes, Vlachokerasia, Kerasia, Kaltezes, Kollines.
The area has always been inhabited and its men, the Skirites, were considered to be elite soldiers. The forest has a moving history as it followed a heroic people. Up until the revolution it remained untarnished, with centennial oak trees and deep shadowed ravines. During the revolution, inevitably, the fury of war erupted on it. Extensive fires damaged the eternal forest. However, with the extensive care and concern of the people it was resurrected.
The residents of Vlachokerasia and the other villages began to replant the wounded forest in the early 20th century with personal hard work and also with the involvement of the schools. Today it spreads over around 50,000 acres a rich and life-giving ecosystem.
In the bowels of the National Park is the spring of Eurotas which after an 82 kilometre journey, flows into the sea. The dense forest is traversed by a path of 14 km, cleverly made to highlight the nature’s beauty. Images of unimaginable beauty await the hiker: ravines and glades, old water mills, waterfalls, plane trees and pine trees. The protagonist who pegged out the trekking trail is one of the most known mountain lovers of Greece, Tasos Mitsios.
The captivating landscapes [of the trail], the multi-color flora, the ruins of mills, which in times past, were pulsating with life, and to natural springs/stations where some time ago the farmers, shepherds and their herds stopped for a rest and where the modern trekkers can stop to quench their thirst.
Skiritida perfectly reflects the beauty of Arcadia.
The first part of the trail was all about the beautiful forest of Skiritida. The second part of the trail we had to walk and cross several times small creeks of Evrotas. It was a wonderful scenery, but next to the water sometimes we had to “fight” with mosquitos and sometimes with snakes.
Having walked about 11.4 kilometres, we came across a water spring named “Melissi“. That was almost the final part of the trail within the forest and crossing the river. From the Melissi Spring, we had followed a dirt road towards the village for about 3 kilometres. The village of Vlachokerasia is a small beautiful Greek village and int he centre of the village there is the beautiful sign that indicates how fat is Vlachokerasia from various cities around the world.
From Vlachokerasia towards:
- Orange County: 12.392 km
- Quebec: 7.335 km
- Springfield: 8.610 km
- Richmond: 9.825 km
- Aurora: 8.770 km
- Toronto: 8.065 km
- Montreal: 7565 km
- Pittsburgh: 8.310 km
- Reading: 8040 km
- Atlanta: 9.080 km
- Melbourne: 15.060 km
- Adelaide: 14.410 km
- Sydney: 15.540 km