Peter Trescher blog about his E4 Cretan Way

In October 2015 Peter Trescher walked all the E4 Cretan Way in 22 days. Here is his interesting blog. He made a fantastic GearList, never saw something similar! And then there’s the story of his walk.

https://purcellhiker.wordpress.com/e-4-crete-log/research-and-resources/

 

A real thru-hiker!

Hiya Luca.  I’ve just got back from Crete.  I really enjoyed my thru-hike of the Cretan Way and was surprised how varied the landscape was.  It’s a tough hike and in my opinion it’s equal to the GR20 in Cosica in both toughness and beauty.  I found there were more opportunities for grabbing a bite to eat and buying food enroute on the western half of the hike… the eastern half the villages seemed to be smaller and very quiet.  It took me 11 days starting at Kato Zakros.  I camped in olive groves, on the side of hills either side of The Whites, and on the sandy beach at Paleochora.  So, I overnighted at Christopigi, Prina, Agios Geogios, Archanes, Zaros, Fourfouras, Agios Ionnis, Askfendou, 1 hour short of the Kallergi Refuge, and Paleochora.  The highlights for me were the stretch between Zakros and Ziros, the vineyards in the Archanes area, listening to a practice session from an eight-piece traditional greek band in Archanes early on a Friday evening, listening to hundreds of sheep and goat bells clanging and tinkling after sundown at Asfendou, snow in The Whites, seeing the blue blue sea appear on the horizon on the approach to Sougia, and eating like a king in a taverna in Paleochora.  All in all it is a top top hike and I will cherish the memories.

I generally hike between 11 and 13 hours a day non-stop.  I don’t sit down and admire the views but I do look around a lot and just keep moving.  30 mile day’s are fairly standard for me.  I hiked the GR20 with alpine variants in 8 days and then hiked back on the standard GR20 in 6 days. In the USA I solo thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 14 weeks, the Pacific Crest Trail in 15 weeks and the Continental Divide Trail in 15 weeks so I’m well conditioned to big hikes and long days. It’s not a race… it’s just what I like to do.  I’m usually on the trail between 6:00 and 6:30am and make the most of the early morning coolness.  The intense heat begins at around 9:00am and stays until around 7:00pm.  I like to set-up tent at least an hour before sundown so that I can kick back and read for a while… but no earlier in case I’m found hiding in the olive groves by the farmer!  I’m a light weight hiker.  I wear Salomon Spreedcross 3 trail runners, carry a one-man tent and leave the stove at home.  Only carry what you’ll be needing on a daily basis.  I no longer use hiking sticks as I keep better posture and balance without them and because they have given me over-use injuries in the past.  I train before hiking by carrying a fully loaded rucksack on day hikes (7 – 15 miles) on the weekends and running between 4 and 8 miles every other day for a month or so as warm up.  Essential items are odour proof socks and t-shirts, a light weight cap, sun glasses to protect against glare in snowy conditions, and a small tube of sunscreen, packets of kleenex and baby wipes.  Some people use vasoline to help with chaffing!  I used a Samsung Galaxy S4 for storing the Anavasi maps and the GPX/KTM files and for storing photos.  I took along 2 x Ankar Astro battery packs which store enough charge to charge the S4 4 times between them.  I also took along a 4 port USB wall charger.

Thank you so much for putting together the guide book and providing the GPX files.  I also downloaded the 3 Avanasi maps for Crete onto my smartphone.  I had to convert the GPX files to KTM so that they were compatible with the Anavasi maps.  The GPS came in very handy on some of the shortcuts, where the route was sometimes a little overgrown or not so obvious, and especially in The Whites.  It is sometimes a little difficult to differentiate a footpath from a farm accessway on the ground and the weldmesh fences make it difficult to hike cross country to regain the trail after having made a navigational error… so I was a bit twitchy at times and probably used the GPS more than was necessary at times!

May was very hot… probably up around 27°C, however the wild flowers were at their best and it was clear blue skies for most of the trip.  Crete had heavy snow back in January and so there was still a lot of snow up in the mountains.  I spent 8 hours traversing steep snowy slopes up in The Whites and there were no other footprints up there which was nice.  Water was scarce in The Whites. Towards the end of The Whites I did walk through a snowy plain (flat bottomed valley) which had a great number of pits/pools full of ice cold water/snow run off which I was grateful for. I saw a bit of wildlife… a badger and golden orioles, squacco heron, purple heron, hoopoe, chukar partridge, common cuckoo, common linnet, black cap, grey shrike, alpine chough, stonechat, white wagtail, crag martin and a raptor of sorts carrying a snake.

Anyway, thanks again Luca for your help and I wish you success with the guide book.  It may benefit some hikers to know what facilities are in the villages the trail pass through eg super markets, small village shops, tavernas etc with opening times as it would help some in planning ahead.

Ciao

Nick Burley

Nick Burley at the Golden Step

Eftichis

This man is Eftichis. He works in Samaria Gorge as a Forest Guard since the 90s. One of the most interesting people you can meet in Samaria. Always welcome and kind, speaking English, he is the responsible of Samaria village area.  He loves the gorge an he likes to take care of the village, the buildings, the field, and the kri-kri, the wild goats or Agrimi (like the one in the picture). His parents were from there, before the village was evacuated in the creation of the National Park.

This guy is the right person in the right place! Something difficult to find in Greek public service!

We tell you this story because we decided to give him the prize as “CamminaCreta special person”. And we gave him a pair of  Scarpa mountain boots. Scarpa gave us some shoes to give during the walk to special persons, we waited to give the last one to find the right person. We waited more than one year, but now we are proud of this, Eftichis is very happy of his new shoes and of this acknolegment.

So, if you walk in Samaria Gorge, and you see him in Samaria village, you can stop for a while and talk with this man, could be a very interesting meeeting.

Happy New Year from Lefka Ori!

My dear friend Stelios Georgedakis, that walked with me some days of CamminaCreta, and that in winter lives on the White Mountains of Crete (Lefka Ori) in the village of Agios Ioannis, gives to the lovers of Crete his Happy New Year sending this nice video shot by his friend Cristos,

It’s the story of two famous french ski alpinists, Stéphane Brosse and Charles Dubouloz (Millet team) that crossed in 6 hours all the Lefka Ori from Omalos to Askifou, climbing Mount Pachnes.

It’s 40 kilometers, usually you need two hard days to walk it!
But more than the exploit we are interested in the beautiful landscape of that mountains with snow, the same mountain where the E4 runs, and where usually I lead trekking groups every year!


Luca

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 40 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 105 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 15mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 12th with 102 views. The most popular post that day was The trip.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were camminacreta.wordpress.com, facebook.com, livingincrete.net, radio-kreta.de, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for walking the heart of crete, stelios georgedakis, pachnes walks, camminacreta, and walking the hart of crete.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The trip March 2010

2

The Project March 2010
1 comment

3

Travelogue October 2010
6 comments

4

Walkers September 2010
2 comments

5

Helping March 2010
1 comment

Thanks, thanks

Thanks to my feet which have carried me thus far, tired, but without a bladder; thanks to the aromatic oil which massaged them; thanks to the wool socks, so comfortable; thanks to the leather boots, natural and perspiring of Scarpa which have accompanied my walkings for so many years.
Thanks to the equipment that helped me, the window breaker that protected me, the sunglasses, the backpack, the sleeping bag, vital fellow travellers.
Thanks to the technology, to the notebook, to the photocamera, to the gps, to the audiorecorder, to the cellphone: without them all the communication would not have been so rich, and without them it would not be possible my project to write a book about this path.
Thanks to Matteo who shared with me the first 12 days of walk, and thanks to Stelios who went back and forth, working out small problems. It was really pleasant when he walked with me.
Thanks to all the people I met along this route. Those meetings were always beautiful and peaceful. I am sure that I will meet them again. Thanks to all those among them who opened their home offering me hospitality.
Thanks to those who sent me greetings, small messages from afar: their presence made me feel less alone.
Thanks to those who have collaborated to make this journey a project of special communication, made of a blog in three languages (thanks to Marina for the translation into English and to Jorg and Susanne for the translation into German on Radio Kreta), of a gps trace shared live on the portal Movimentolento (thanks to Tommaso, Federico and Alberto). Talking of technologies, thanks to Alberto who taught me to use the gps, thanks to Simone who provided me with extremely useful maps.
Thanks to those who gave money for the projects that I supported, the donkeys of Anatoli and Crete for life. Thanks to those who decide to help these projects even now that the journey is over, sending a contribution (see the Helping page) or organizing a presentation evening of the journey with takings to donate.
Thanks to those who were shocked by the “barrel dogs”, to those who have written letters of protest, to those who will do it, to those who will organize other actions for this problem. If necessary, I am ready to continue this fight!
Thanks to Scarpa and Patagonia because they proved that sometimes a firm can think of something different from profit: their contribution has been generous, they didn’t ask anything in return even in terms of image.
Thanks to mother earth of Crete that has welcomed me, has made me feel its ancient wisdom, has protected me along the route, has made me feel a son among the other sons, insomuch that now, after this journey, I feel “a son of the earth of Crete”.
Thanks to the sun and to the rain, thanks to the mountains and to the sea, thanks to the rocks, to the trees under which I slept (two plane trees, a maple, a thorny oak, two olive trees and at last a cypress), because they have procteted me from the cold, the dampness and the rain.
Thanks to the small country churches which gave me shelter and to the men and women who leave them open or hide the keys where it is possible to find them.
Thanks to the posts of the E4: it was a joy whe they came into sight. Thanks to the men who put them and to those who didn’t remove them.
Thanks to the scent of the Cretan herbs.
Thanks to Fabiana, who supported me; she is so strong in taking upon herself the duties of the house and the little Giacomo, so strong in never making me feel irresponsible, or absent or selfish.

And I am for ever grateful to the master Thich Nath Hanh.
I share with all of you the merit and the pleasure of the CamminaCreta.