21. Kanevos to Mirthios over the col Walk and Cycle in Crete
Four kilometres. There is a good track from Kanevos up to the col but a steep path down on the south side makes it unsuitable for cyclists. This was the original route to the south coast before the road was blasted along its ledge in the gorge.
This walk starts from the crossroads at the top of the Kotsifas Gorge. Head up east through the village of Kanevos. There are some good views down into the gorge from the higher ground just to the right of the track.
10 min. This track at first follows a ridge climbing very gently before crossing a shallow valley. Do not take a right branch near the village that takes you up above the gorge itself.
20 min. Follow the track as it climbs steadily south-east with good views to the east and the screes of Kyrimianou above on your right.
35 min. The main track takes you right onto the col with the old path continuing fairly indistinctly from the centre of the col.
40 min. As you come over the crest of the hill the views open out and you can now see the path as it zigzags down below you. It is almost impossible to see the path if you try to climb the col from Mirthios.
There is a line of overhanging cliffs that start out to the sides near the top of the col and move inward towards the base of the valley just above the highest tracks on the south side. These cliffs are not visible at all from above.
55 min. The old route of the path, and the easiest, crosses these cliffs to the west side of the valley and contours round to the highest of the tracks on the west side.
1 hr 5 min. Follow the bulldozed track down to a large concrete goat house and pass it by its west end.
1 hr 25 min. You can continue to follow this track down to the surfaced road at Mariou where you turn right for Mirthios.
1 hr 35 min. You can pick up the old path by turning west from this track below the goat house where the track turns east over a slight ridge. The path runs along a terrace of young olive trees before climbing slightly passed a large carob tree onto another small ridge. The old path runs down the ridge to the left.
1 hr 45 min. Another small church hides under a rock shelter at the end of a small terrace to the west of you. Follow this old path as it makes its way down, often between stone walls.
2 hours The path brings you to a new church on the edge of Mirthios.