After a few days of being too lazy at the beach, we decided to walk the Richtis Gorge this week. The advice we got before leaving was quite diverse. It will take you five hours. It will take you three hours. It’s only five minutes to the beach. It’s another 30 minutes to the beach. The beach isn’t worth it. The beach is amazing. It’s going to be too hot! It doesn’t matter what time you go during the day, the trees provide enough shade to keep the gorge cool. And so on. So we just decided to do it, and see for ourselves!
We walked from the main road close to Exo Mouliana, there’s a little parking area where you can leave your car, (if you do, don’t leave any valuables in it, apparently they might not be there when you get back. This is second hand information, so don’t trust me) and then walked along an asphalt road for about 20 minutes before we got to the bridge where the official walk starts from. I would recommend driving down to the bridge if possible, as the first (and then the last if you walk back up again) bit is the boring, hot and hard one (face it, we are not build to walk on an even, hard surface). The bridge is the stone-arched bridge of Lachanas, where the Christians killed the Turks who where trying to reach Sitia to get on a boat back to Turkey (I’m not a history teacher, go find out more yourself). It’s a quite beautiful bridge and I always get impressed when I see old architecture like that, always curious to how everything was planned out and built.
The walk wasn’t hard. I would say it pays off to be short when hiking in this sort of environment, where you have to climb up over a rock and duck under a tree branch at the same time. But my taller hiking partner also managed to get through just fine, so don’t worry if you are tall, dark and handsome – you can still do it! We did bump into some French people (could’ve been anyone, but these were French) that were hiking in thongs (that’s what we call Flip Flops in Australia, they weren’t half naked). I probably wouldn’t recommend that, I would feel very unsafe if I was wearing shoes that don’t even give me any sort of grip to climb with. So, wear your runners or hiking shoes! If not you might end up getting a mention on a random blog somewhere from someone observing your poor choice of foot attire for a hike through a gorge (don’t worry, you won’t get a sock tan line, there’s enough leaf cover to protect you from that happening).
From the road it took us 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to the waterfall. Yes there was actual water falling too, not just dripping. It wasn’t Niagara Falls, but then again, on an island as dry as Crete, it’s quite surprising there’s any water falling anywhere! There was a couple of kids swimming under the fall, it looked a little too refreshing for my liking (I don’t know what happened, I must have turned into a little pussycat with age, I used to swim in glacier water in Jotunheimen in Norway when I was younger!!) so we just had our little lunch pack and sat down for a little bit. Unfortunately we had left it a little late to leave for the walk, and didn’t have time to walk down to the beach for a swim (we had plans for family visits again) and since we didn’t know if it was half an hour or five minutes extra, we decided not to walk down, as we didn’t feel the need for a swim anyway!
Walking back up was slightly more challenging than walking down, mainly because we didn’t see all the markers (little orange dots on rocks and arrows on trees here and there) and we took a few wrong turns. I always trust my gut when hiking and when it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t! So a few metres into a wrong turn and I would go “This isn’t right, I don’t remember this” and we would go back and it was easy to find the right track again. Take your time to look at the old mills (quite impressive how they built those back in the days), the butterflies, the flowers, the berries and everything else around you (and listen to the Tzitzikias – you can’t avoid them). It’s cool under the shade of the trees, and a little breeze helps keep your body temperature down too. Until you get back on the asphalt road. Buhuu, that was the hot and hard part, the last 15-20 minutes! So again, drive down if you can!
It was a beautiful walk and I felt alive again after being active for 3 hours (we did have a 20 minute break at the waterfall though, so really it was just 2 hours and 40 minutes from the road to the waterfall and back). I highly recommend doing the walk through Richtis Gorge if you are in the area. Just remember to wear shoes, not thongs and to bring plenty of water! And maybe also bring someone with a good gut who can get you back on track if you get off
Time to jump into the car, we are driving today, hopefully not to far and long before we are on a new beach somewhere! Hope you are having a fantastic weekend. Are you cooking something nice, tasty and good for you for Saturday snack?? I hope so!