Hiking to the top of Samos

Another incredibly October day, we packed our backpacks to finally try to reach Viglia, the highest peak on Mount Kerkis, 1,434 m above sea level.
Just before dawn we took our 4-wheeled car and drove around the mountain massif via the villages of Nikoloudes and Kosmadei and then took the valley up to the Civil War Memorial which is located on a ridge with a view of “Ormos” and the islands out in the sea to the south and the valley with the sea and Turkey in the background to the north, just under 800 m above sea level.

We hung on to our rucksacks with extra water in them in view of the slightly tougher hike and, as it seemed, warned the weather. The first bit upwards offered a relatively gentle slope and a fairly comfortable path. The further up we got, the steeper it got and the access more difficult with alternating large and smaller stones and boulders, but still some kind of path to follow. After just over an hour of hiking, we arrived at a small depression or valley, almost like a little “oasis” in the middle of the mountain massif, with birds chirping and the sound of bells on the goats. We took a short break here for some of our food.
Another hour later, we arrived at the Prophet Elias Chapel at just over 1,100 m above sea level.

Tired but satisfied, we went on after another break, knowing that it wasn’t that far, as the crow flies…
The last bit up to the top was a real test of strength with a fairly steep incline, larger and smaller boulders to pass but with an absolutely fantastic view to look out over. After another hour or so we piled up towards the top and arrived with high pulse, tired, sweaty but incredibly happy and looking out over Samos and its windless surroundings in 23 degree heat at the end of October.

The way down back to the car was physically much easier, although it took about as long down as up. Even though we thought we had brought a lot more water than we thought we would need, we should have brought more. It would also of course have been wise if we had brought and left some water bottles in the car that we could drink when we arrived… After about 6 hours of hiking, we then came back to the Civil War Memorial to get in the car and drive back down to “Ormos”.
We chose to drive down the south side of the Kerkis massif along the very difficult road. It was an exciting drive that ended our hike – driving this route requires a good and solid 4-wheel drive car.
We ended our excursion with a long and well needed swim at Ormos Marathokampou Beach.