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Crete's Psiloritis Mountains

Mt. Psiloritis peaksMt. Psiloritis (also known as Mount Ida) is the highest peak in Greece, at 2456 meters (8056 feet), and the range named for it a large one, with endemic flowers and much bird life. Some of the endemic and rare flowers are found in late summer near the summit, with other species near the snow line which are similar to those of Mt. Ginghilos, in the Kedros Massif (above). Birds of prey breed on the cliffs and in the gorges, and include golden eagles (though not many), and lammergeiers, larger numbers of griffon vultures, and chukars, which are most likely the main prey of the eagles. Common choughs are also found in the higher altitudes, and Ruppell's warblers in scrub areas. The lower mountain slopes to the south have two endemic orchids, which grow in the oak and pine woods; an endemic St. John's wort grows on the cliffs. An endemic Cretan butterly is abundant here, though the area is not rich in butterflies. One approach to the peak is from the village of Fourfouras, at the edge of the Amari valley, and, though the trails aren't so clearly marked, as long as there is light, one could not get lost too easily, as the peak looms high above everything else. A road also leads from the northeast, heading south from the village of Anoyia.