A Glimpse of Greece: Tymfi massif

This is the first post of the series: A Glimpse of Greece. In this series I intend to post pictures and videos from my homeland, Epirus, as well as other parts of Greece I have visited.

I had the chance to visit a lot of places and take hundreds of pictures. Most of them with a crappy 4.1 megapixel camera with no optical zoom. Some of them even with a 2 megapixel phone camera which obviously distorts colors greatly! It would be a pity if these photos stayed hidden forever on my hard disk…

Greece and especially Epirus need all the exposure they can get and even more. I consider myself lucky to come from a place of great natural beauty. Epirus itself lies in the north-west part of Greece. Being on the western, rainy side of the Pindus mountain range, Epirus receives a lot of rain. Its water reserves are vast (compared to other parts of Greece). Rivers and green forests of different kinds cover this relatively obscure and sparsely populated part of Greece.

In this first post I will start with pictures from the ascend to the peak Gamila of the Tymfi massif in Ioannina, Epirus, Greece.

Tymfi massif is a very important and impressive mountain range. Its highest peak is Gamila (2499 m elevation). Tymfi is important from a geological point of view, as well as because it is hosting rare flora and fauna. The Zagori villages around the area, Vikos-Aoos national park and the Vikos Gorge are worth seeing. The interested reader may inquire further information on the corresponding hyperlinked wikipedia pages.

The following pictures were taken several years ago in 2004. This post will be more interesting for readers who like hiking and views from the top of the mountains. Information about the hiking path can be found at:

Peakware

routes.gr

The view to the “Towers of Astraka” from the hiking path to the mountain refuge of Astraka.

 

The Towers of Atsraka do not look so intimidating as we ascend to their level of about 1700 m
The Towers of Astraka do not look so intimidating as we ascend to their level of about 1700 m

 

A look back. Facing North-West
A look back. Facing North-West

 

Reaching the col of the Astraka mountain refuge. Elevation 1950 m. Astraka massif (highest point 2436 m) in the background
Reaching the col of the Astraka mountain refuge. Elevation 1950 m. Astraka peak (highest point 2436 m) in the background

 

The view from the terrace of the refuge. Looking at the direction of Gamila peak. Our path was that way. Gamila peak is not visible in this picture.  Anyone interested to use it during Winter must make sure it is open or that they get the keys from the responsible person. Contact the mountaineering club of Ioannina for information (http://www.orivatikos.gr)

 

The same view a little to the left (West) from the previous picture. At the bottom: seasonal Lake Tsoumani (1700 m). The semicircular col near the center of the picture is where Drakolimni (dragon lake) lies. The Alpine lake of tymfi at an elevation of 2050 m. Not visited this time. The peak to the right is called Ploskos and it’s highest point is 2377 m. This is the smooth side of Tymfi. The rugged one is on the other side of the peaks we are approaching

 

A little more to the left (West) reveals Mt Trapezitsa (2024 m) in the background
A little more to the left (West) reveals Mt Trapezitsa (2024 m) in the background

 

Astraka massif from below
Astraka massif from below

 

Astraka massif from below
Astraka massif from below

 

Ascending towards Gamila. On our left we see the col of the Astraka refuge. Seems unbelievable that a little time ago we were sitting at its terrace
Ascending towards Gamila. On our left we see the col of the Astraka refuge. Seems unbelievable that a little time ago we were sitting at its terrace

 

The Astraka massif seems to be getting shorter...
The Astraka massif seems to be getting shorter…

 

Far in the background, in the middle, stands Gamila. It looks lower than the two peaks on its right and its left. It is not! We found out that it looked like that because it was far, far away!
Far in the background, in the middle, stands Gamila. It looks lower than the two peaks on its right and its left. It is not! We found out that it looked like that because it was far, far away!

 

Any geologists to tell us what this is?

 

Gamila looks close... It isn't!
Gamila looks close… It isn’t!

 

I was walking up the mountain and was tired. My head was hanging down and my eyes were looking just a few meters from my feet... when I saw this!
I was walking up the mountain and was tired. My head was hanging down and my eyes were looking just a few meters from my feet… when I saw this!

 

Smolikas and its highest peak (2631 m). The second highest mountain of Greece
Smolikas and its highest peak (2631 m). The second highest mountain of Greece

 

Reaching the highest point of Tymfi. Gamila peak!
Reaching the highest point of Tymfi. Gamila peak!

 

Reaching the highest point of Tymfi. Gamila peak!
Reaching the highest point of Tymfi. Gamila peak!

 

I am there! A fabulous view of Smolikas in all its majesty!
I am there! A fabulous view of Smolikas in all its majesty!

 

Further South-East (on the right) of Smolikas stands Mt Vasilitsa (2249 m). A good ski resort lies on its slopes
Further South-East (on the right) of Smolikas stands Mt Vasilitsa (2249 m). A good ski resort lies on its slopes

 

The rugged peaks of Tymfi looking south
The rugged peaks of Tymfi looking south

 

Taking a look around, turning West
Taking a look around, turning West

 

Taking a look around, turning West
Taking a look around, turning West

 

Astraka looks different now. The imaginary line connecting the camera lens to the highest point of Astraka is the approximate line of our path
Astraka looks different now. The imaginary line connecting the camera lens to the highest point of Astraka is the approximate line of our path

 

Looking West, North-West towards Ploskos (2377 m) and Lapatos (2251 m)
Looking West, North-West towards Ploskos (2377 m) and Lapatos (2251 m)

 

A view to the alpine lake called Drakolimni (dragon Lake) at 2050 m. In the background we see Mount Nemërçkë (or Dousko in Greek). A part of it lies in Greece. Its main bulk is in Albania as well as it highest peak (2482 m)
A view to the alpine lake called Drakolimni (dragon Lake) at 2050 m. In the background we see Mount Nemërçkë (or Dousko in Greek). A part of it lies in Greece. Its main bulk is in Albania as well as it highest peak (2482 m)

 

The Gorge of Aoos form above. Aoos exits the gorge to enter the plateau of Konitsa before traveling to the Adriatic sea through Albania
The Gorge of Aoos form above. Aoos exits the gorge to enter the plateau of Konitsa before traveling to the Adriatic sea through Albania

 

The Gorge of Aoos form above. Aoos exits the gorge to enter the plateau of Konitsa before traveling to the Adriatic sea through Albania
The Gorge of Aoos form above. Aoos exits the gorge to enter the plateau of Konitsa before traveling to the Adriatic sea through Albania

 

Opposite to Gamila (the other side of Aoos Gorge) lies Trapezitsa (2024 m). It is a forest covered rugged mountain. Smolikas stands dominant further East. Grammos mountain range in the background (highest point 2521 m)
Opposite to Gamila (the other side of Aoos Gorge) lies Trapezitsa (2024 m). It is a forest covered rugged mountain. Smolikas stands dominant further East. Grammos mountain range in the background (highest point 2521 m)

 

Smolikas and Trapezitsa
Smolikas and Trapezitsa

 

I Have reached the highest point of Gamila. I got proof (ok not such a big deal, I know)!
I Have reached the highest point of Gamila. I got proof (ok not such a big deal, I know)!

 

The view from the edge. This is the north side of Tymfi. Only cliffs!
The view from the edge. This is the north side of Tymfi. Only cliffs!

 

The shadow of Gamila over the Gorge of Aoos
The shadow of Gamila over the Gorge of Aoos

 

Aoos Gorge
Aoos Gorge

 

The shadow of Gamila over the Gorge of Aoos
The shadow of Gamila over the Gorge of Aoos

 

At the end of our excursion. The camera was put on the car hood. After five minutes of sitting, retrieving the camera seemed as a major task... The joy and fulfillment of hiking, always comes with the exhaustion of a 9-hour walk
At the end of our excursion. The camera was put on the car hood. After five minutes of sitting, retrieving the camera seemed as a major task… The joy and fulfillment of hiking, always comes with the exhaustion of a 9-hour walk

 

Panorama from the top of Gamila peak. Created with the free online application Dermandar (https://www.dermandar.com)
Panorama from the top of Gamila peak. Created with the free online application Dermandar (https://www.dermandar.com)

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