Summer finally arrived after a heavy and upredictable spring season and the longest day of the year was approaching. This years bike campout was destined for the mountains of Korinth and the mystique spot of Lake Doxa. We have been talking about this trip for a long time but it was obvious that it wasnt possible to be done on a days ride so this year we decided to make the Summer Solstice campout a weekend!
We gathered at Larissis train station on Friday late afternoon and rode the train till Kiato, from then on and as the sunset was approaching we started climbing the notoriously steep peak through Pasio and Megalos Valtos to get off to the main road just after Souli. At Souli the night has fallen and we grouped up in a pack, lights on and we continued climbing in search of dinner and camping spot, both of any description.
Around Kaisario we decided that was enough and we entered the village in search of food, but this effort was totally in vain. Kaisario was ready for sleeping. All closed. A very graceful and polite farmer family offered to give us space in their garden/yard and give us some bread and eggs and as Iason and Sotos were fitting hammocks on the farmers tractor a friend of the farmer spoke out: “Kanellos tavern 3 klm down the road should be open”. That was a fairy sending this our way and we packed up again and rode another 3 klm to a splendid homemade dinner with cold beer, kokinisto beef with pasta and ice cream. The day was done and Kanellos offered his 5×5 football pitch for camping, which was affirmative for the Pink Flamingos Adventure Cycling Club given the particulars of the current situation. Next morning and after a good sleep and breakfast on the go we packed and hit the road towards Lake Stymfalia, one of the most important wildlife NATURA 2000 spots of the area. The route to there was full of vineyards getting ripe for the August crop of the famous Korinth grape and the rolling hills untangled in front of us one after the other.
After the lake and a couple of flats/mechanicals the scenery around us smoothly changed. Long gone are the rolling hills of farmland and we were hitting deep into the mountain. At Lafka we turned right inwards and a some of the most brutal climbing of the day started.
The mountain is no joke. Tall pine trees and beautiful vistas as fresh air was hitting us under a blistering sun. We rode and climbed, pushed and pulled till it was “almost not fun” as Sotos half-serious suggested while his yellow bike was screeching under the wattage towards the top.
Eagles were flying over our head and farmers were waving past us and giving us the horn signal as they were driving past. At the top, we stopped had a break of warm bidon water before hitting the spiral descents towards the lake. Hands on dropbars, head tucked in, knees out on the corners.
Lake Doxa is surely one of the best places. Serene and rich of wildlife it takes you up instantly with its vibe. So close to Athens, full alpine scenery and a peaceful vibe that makes you unwind straight away. We camped under trees next to the lake shore and we dived in the water straight away. We were so worth it. As we were starting to unwind and make camp, we had lunch from stuff we bought off the bench of the local farmers, a smoke and the ever present conversations about bike parts and cycling adventures.
As the sunset was coming and the summer was official here, we made reservations for the nearby tavern where a panygiri with an all female band that was the talk of the area was going to be on soon. We took the table with the best view and… but that is a story that you had to be there to tell it your self.
Thanks to all for joining us once again, admittedly the hardest campout we did so far.
Here is to a summer ahead full of camp vibes and good times.