Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Hike the Caledonia Trail ...with your dog

On the route up to the Caledonia Falls path
I have walked a part of this trail before, from the parking area by Psilo Dendro (just outside of the village of Platres) as far as the waterfalls themselves. This is a lovely, short walk, which I did with my two young nephews. It was a perfect length for that, taking into account time spent climbing rocks and throwing sticks and getting stuck on one side of the river or the other... I wrote about it here

This time, without young nephews, I decided to hike the whole trail, which I'd seen described in various guidebooks. We did this hike sometime in February. There were a few people around, a couple of other groups with dogs, but it definitely wasn't too busy to have Sage there with us. 
First you walk a few metres from the car park to the start of the trail, going by a paddock of horses, before continuing along the trail which runs through the woods. This first stage of the trail is only about 1.5km, but is a bit difficult - the path is a bit uneven and you have to scramble a bit. It is lovely though, following the river through the woods, seeing strawberry trees and pines.
Strawberry tree (Arbutus andrachne)
After a short while, the path opens up and you see the Falls. I've yet to see them in the summer months, but they are pretty spectacular during winter.
Caledonia Falls
The trail continues up around and above the Falls, to the left hand side as you approach them. From here the route is a incessantly uphill, and I found it a bit hard going. You are walking up the river gorge, and it takes some effort. Still, the surroundings are lovely. We hardly met anyone coming along this section of the trail and it was lovely and peaceful.
At some point after another half or so, you reach an enormous set of steps, that take you up out of the gorge and onto the mountainside. The views from the top here were lovely. 
I think quite a few people start the Falls walk from the top here, and (sensibly) walk down the the gorge (although they presumably have to walk back up afterwards...?)

From the point where we left the gorge, it wasn't very clear where we should be heading. I'd been reading about circular paths that lead you through mountain trails and back down to Psilo Dendro... and there was even a map at the entrance to the gorge, although it didn't mark the route we were looking for.

So we boldly set off along the unmade road that seemed to curve back along the top of the gorge. This road is to your right as you are leaving the gorge. Then we more or less followed our noses, as there were no markers or signs for the next few kms.

There were a few forks in the path, but we kept trying to follow the gorge as much as possible. After a while the village of Platres came into view far below us in the distance, and we headed for there. This part of the route was easier than the gorge walk; the paths are well maintained and you are mostly heading downhill.

The village of Platres
The path did eventually take us back to our starting point - I think it was about 8-10kms, but the terrain and the gradients made it feel like more. I definitely recommend this route to anyone who likes exploring the mountains, and prefers the quieter 'off the beaten track' paths of the Troodos. Sage would recommend it to any dog who enjoys splashing around in rivers, jumping over big rocks, and eating pine cones...

1 comment:

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