Exploring in Troodos. Exploring in Troodos. Sharing experiences as we journey together

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1 Sharing experiences as we journey together Exploring in Troodos In my last newsletter I told you about my successful search for Ayios Georgios up in the Akamas and I eluded to another trip I was planning to create another trail up in the Troodos region. Well in October last year I, together with a couple of friends drove up to the trout farm at Psilo Dendro and set off to explore the area. The journey up there passed without incident and we arrived at the trout farm at 9.30am, the weather forecast was good, not too warm...ideal for hiking. We got all our gear on and I turned on my GPS to track our adventure, first waypoint 400m SSW. I ve hiked a lot of this area some time ago and I even managed to cycle some of it on my mountain bike, so I had a good sense of the general direction and just had to make sure we hiked at a reasonable rate to ensure we made it back to the car before it started to get dark. Every now and then we stopped for a video report, check the map and take in the views which are mostly towards the south and east, towards the salt lake near Limassol.

2 The trail we are following is wide enough for jeeps and it hugs the hillside occasionally breaking out of the trees, confronting us with this magnificent view of the neighbouring hillsides, quiet little villages and the sea beyond. As we look further southwards we can see the harbour in Limassol and a few ships out to sea. Also visible is the salt lake in Akrotiri. We continue onwards and upwards. Finally we rounded a bend and there over the ridge is the scarred landscape where the opencast asbestos mines were. The Cypriots began mining in 1904 and ran until The ore was extracted and it is estimated that 5 million tonnes of ore were excavated each year yielding about 35,000 tonnes of asbestos. Based on the amount of ore mined each year the valley we re looking at was probably a large hill / mountain. In those days there wasn t any consideration of the health risks to humans associated with asbestos or the environmental impact of that type of mining. The waste ore itself was just

3 dumped on site and over the years has built up to form this runny looking crust where the forest used to be. It looks like a lava flow made up of liquid cement. Once the mining operations stopped the Government was faced with a large environmental problem trying to stabilise the waste dumps. They began in 1995 and completed the stabilisation works by Since then work has been ongoing to preserve the biodiversity of the area by restoration and management, primarily by planting out trees and re-introducing wildlife to the area. In 2015 an artificial lake was formed, further tree planting continues and eventually there will be walkways and roads throughout the area. There is a Geopark Environmental Information Centre just outside the village of Amiantos where you can find out more about the mining operations and steps being taken to assist nature to reclaim the area. We stopped for photos and then continued along the path towards Troodos village. Along the trail we see trees with different coloured leaves on them. They are a welcome break to the normal monotone green that is prevalent in the forest. Once we get to the village square we rest at one of the restaurants for a mug of hot white chocolate. After a short stop we set off once again to hike back to the car.

4 Most of the trail we re following is the old Troodos road and eventually we reach the head of the Kaladonia Trail. Now we trek down the trail, following the bubbling river as it tumbles over and around the rocks and logs. About 1km into the trek we come across a viewing point that overlooks a waterfall. It s not impressive because it s so far away and partially hidden by the forest and rocks. Nevertheless the sound it makes is wonderful. There s a bench to sit and listen, but it s taken so we stand around admiring the view and press on down the timber log stairway. It s late afternoon and the sunlight is streaming through the tree branches giving a dappled effect. I m still wearing my sunglasses and the forest appears dark but I haven t noticed it. Somehow or other I miss time my footing stubbing a half concealed tree root and down I go...head first. I put out my hands to stop hitting the ground but I know my head is destined to hit it and somehow I m looking for the softest option. My head hits the ground, or more precisely my sunglasses hit the ground and they bite into the bridge of my nose. I stand up to examine my hands, no cuts at all. I rub my face and my hands are bloodied. My friends are momentarily oblivious to my facial injury and after looking at my hands they realise I m bleeding from the cut between my eyes. Two or three wet-wipes later I m fairly clean but I continue to bleed. It looks worse than it is and we set off back to the car, passing a lot of staring people. I m treading very carefully, without my sunglasses on and remarkably they are untouched, not a single scratch.

5 A little while later and we arrive at the Kaladonia Waterfall and there are a lot of visitors already here photographing the waterfall from every conceivable angle. There s usually a large cat scrounging food from them but I don t see him today, probably resting somewhere nearby fully contented. Soon the crowd starts to disperse and we also leave, threading our way through the trees and over the small timber bridges that frequently cross the babbling stream. About 20 minutes later we are back at the car packing our gear and congratulating ourselves on a successful recon. Overall the distance is almost 14km and I decide that in future I will hike this trail in reverse. My reasoning is that by reversing my trail all the tricky uphill sections are dealt with at the beginning leaving only a long slow descent back to the car. My ¼ inch square scab right between my eyes remains with me for a week, some people are consoling, sympathetic, and others are condescending. In future I will my sunglasses off when I m hiking in wooded areas. Amadeus Holidays Limited Website: Facebook: Mobile:

September Newsletter. Search for Ayios Georgios. Sharing experiences as we journey together

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