14-Aug-2004 -- At last we succeeded to make the confluence N40 E21, after our unsuccessful first try in April 2004. Then because of under estimating the Greek mountains and our strengths, as well as the not précised maps which we found, we had to spent the night under the open sky on one rid 75 grades.
There we spend our Easter Night. (It was 12 April – Easter) . Thanks God the nature was good to us and didn’t send us freezing rain or other natural calamity in the bed of river Aos. As you can guess in the morning we were a little bit freezing and we could not even think of crossing the flowing at that time river. We gave a word that in better astronomical and financial weather we will come back to complete our deed.
August – month of holidays and vacations and the day is Friday, 13th - the time when the Olympic games for the Greeks must start. We are a group of Bulgarians –just arrived in the village Distrato and start to ask the people about the possibilities for easier overcoming the hills and approach to the confluence - N40 E21.
It appeared that these people (in Distrato) since January officially have a auto road to their village and I suppose this was the reason for them to be somewhat closed and maybe a bit unfriendly. They were not so eager to help us and their arguments were that, the road takes few days to reach the river Aos, that in this direction there are bears, wolfs, etc., for which they know from their roars during the night.
We decided to divide our route to N40E21 in two parts; First - to the ridge of the mountain and second to the Confluence. Our group was separated, because in the process of conversations with the local people most of us had taken a serious quantity of Ouzo and Rezina (favourite drinks in Greece).
The adventure of climbing up the mountain in a great heat, with big sacks for the night camp, took us 5 hours. About 19:30h we were preparing the tents for the night and the sun was going down when we heard the engine of a helicopter, later we understood that special guests had come in Distrato for the opening of the Folklore festival in the village.
About 08:00h o’clock in the morning we were ready to continue our journey to the confluence, but I found that I have lost the information on my GPS from our previous try in April and we had to continue on Azimuth but following the ridge. Many times we saw overturned stones and the soil under them was moistened. Obviously were overturned recently. I presumed that this was a brown bear living in this area.
At 10:00h we were in the runway of the river Aos and to our great disappointment we saw that the water was so diminished and the boat that we carried with us, wires and other water equipment seemed to be useless. About 11:00h the confluence was reached and after a small rest we started on the way back. The nature is beautiful but unfortunately very unfriendly, like the local people.
Bushes with one meter height, with very thick leafs and thorns sharp and rigid, unbearable heat, the temperatures was between 34 - 45 centigrade and the killing lack of water. The thirst emaciated us completely when on our way back miraculously we found a small water spring.
Just to mention – the climbing up took us 5 hours and the climbing down only 40 min.
Our appearance in the local Pub, made the people lively and curious and we met there four students of architecture, thanks god - English speaking, accidentally passing this region. From them we learned about some typical for this region good meals, also about Chalkidiki the best place for camping.
Chalkidiki – you can read how it continues in episode