Pachnes Forest

Sea to sky: Pachnes mountain climb, E-bike and hike

0 – 2454m above sea level and back. We climbed from sea level to the top of Pachnes, the highest peak on the White Mountains in Crete.
The summer is officially over, but the weather is still great here in Crete. The Autumn rains will start soon, and the mountains will be covered with snow. We take our chances now.
We set off from Chora Sfakion at dawn. We climb to Anopolis on a very scenic paved road, and from there we take the dirt road that goes up to 2000m. It takes about 5 hours, with short breaks. By the time we get there, we have been riding for 35Km and we have run out of battery on the bikes! There are other people walking to the top. We even meet a party of hardy mountain bikers who are carrying their bikes up the narrow path to the top!
It’s another one and a half hour to the peak. We meet a nice group of mountaineers from Rethymno. We sit together for some food, drinks and a good chat. It’s cold though, the wind is blowing and the clouds cover the sun and the view.
We are faster walking down, in just over an hour we get back to the bikes. The way down is bumpy, we don’t ride very fast, and it feels long. It’s late afternoon now, the light is gentler. We breathe in the strong resiny scent of the cypress forest again.
When we hit the tarmac again, we accelerate. From Anopolis we draw perfect u-turns zig-zagging down to Chora Sfakion. The sun is setting, we get back to sea level at twilight. Almost 12 hours on the move, about 5000m up and down! It feels great, and we’re exhausted.

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