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 Lycian Way - Turkey 
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Peak Bagger
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 Lycian Way - Turkey
It's taken me a while to process all the pics from this trip, but I finally got some up on the net.

This past May my wife and I took a 15 day trip to Turkey (with a few days in Greece and an afternoon in Rome). We backpacked (in the travel sense) the Lycian Way....a circuit developed by an English woman a decade or so ago linking old Roman roads, goat paths, and roads across the Lycian Penninsula along the southern coast of Turkey.

The entire hiking trail takes ~15-20 days. We gave ourselves 9 nine days, starting from the end (town called Antalya) and heading west towards the beginning (town called Fethiye).

My wife is not nearly the enthusiastic hiker that I am, but I convinced her to spend 5 days backpacking (in the hiking sense) along the actual trail. The trail comes in and out of towns along the coastline, sometimes heading way up into the mountains, and other times along the beaches. It goes through resort type towns and small framing/herding villages. We decided on a coastal section and hit the trails after a night in Istanbul and another in Antalya.

We hopped a bus and jumped off at an old Roman city called Phaselis where the trail runs through..it's full of aqueducts, ruins, theaters, etc.

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The trail then left civilization into a national park. We spent the day hiking through the foothills amongst pine forest.
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We eventually dropped back to the coast towards some secluded/private beaches, that we planned to camp at. Dropping down to our own little cove on the Mediterranean.
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Leaving the following day before heading back up to the mountains.
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Coastline view for much of the day..
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Occasionally the trail would descend from the rugged coast into small towns. It made for a nice place to grab lunch and beer before heading back into nature.

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The second night we camped along the beach in an idyllic little town called Cirali. If anyone wanted to sell it all, move abroad, and retire to a quiet little village this would be it. The roads were all dirt, there were a few restaurants dotting the coastline, and all the hotels were guesthouses with campsites (we ended up camping on the beach for free along the eastern side of the beach.

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It was still early season there so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. A few Turks camped nearby in caravans but it was quiet and gorgeous. There was a little "carry out" near our campsite offering cheap, cold beer and snacks. And beach umbrellas and chairs were free up and down the entire beach. We spent the morning hiking, and the afternoon relaxing

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Up in the hills from town is the Chimera...the source of the ancient myhts. The ground spews flammable gases that been burning since recorded time. It was ~1 mile hike up, which we did for sunset.
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Since we were carrying both hiking gear and all our clothes for the rest of the trip (along with a bottle or two of wine most nights), our packs were incredibly heavy. The next day was supposed to be a bear of a hike up a super steep slope and over to the next town. We decided to forgo hiking, and hired a boat to take us around the horn.
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Day 3 "hiking" was mostly spent like this:
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Days 4 and 5 were spent going up to and descending a large point with an abandoned lighthouse at the top. The trail was pretty rugged but absolutely incredible, and one of the coolest places I've probably spent the night.
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This is what much of the trail looks like, along with the small red and white blaze in the middle. Navigation was somewhat difficult, but after some searching we found the path fairly easily.
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Coming down to the lighthouse
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View from camp...
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We didn't bring our camp stove and opted to buy snacks at the towns along the way. This was our "trail" food most nights. We packed 2 bottles of wine for the lighthouse night, and the reward was worth it.
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Sunset:

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Sunrise the next day:
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We hiked down from the lighthouse the next day, and that was pretty much the end of the hiking on the trip.

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The rest of the trip involved some serendipitous island hopping on boats, a couple nights in Greece (Rhodes), a night in Pammukale (travertine baths that are often plastered on all sorts of travel sites), 3 nights in Istanbul, and an afternoon layover in Rome.

Overall it was incredible, and we both absolutely loved Turkey. I'd love to go back and do some of the more remote sections of the trail if we had more time.


Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:23 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Those mountains in the water look very cool.
Also, that picture, "The ground spews flammable gases". :shock:

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Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:50 pm
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Looks like a great trip. The water, beaches, history, lighthouses and menu all look amazing. Agree that pic of the flaming gas is really cool. Do they light it to prevent build ups and explosions?


Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:29 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Granite Guy wrote:
Looks like a great trip. The water, beaches, history, lighthouses and menu all look amazing. Agree that pic of the flaming gas is really cool. Do they light it to prevent build ups and explosions?


No, it's completely natural and auto-combusts upon exposure to air.

The overall area is about an acre sized rock slope with lots of flaming vents spread throughout. It can be seen from sea and was the source of the myth (of Illiad fame) of the fire breathing beast.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Chimaera

There were some turks grilling hot dogs and lighting cigarettes from them when we were up there.


Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:45 pm
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Leg Burner
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Wow...incredible and thanks for the memories. Back in my wandering days I did a much similar+ trip. 80's...plus 2000's

Hope you found the people as incredible as I did...more so in Turkey I found. If I had to pick a major city to live in...Istanbul would be right up there.

Hope you got to sample lots of local Raki. :)

Peace.


Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:07 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

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Location: Lakes Region, NH
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So how did you deal with the language barrier? I don't think of Turkey as a hiking destination. Sounds like an interesting place for sure. What the heck was the dark food in the plastic container? I couldn't figure it out. Beautiful scenery for sure!! You sure do have some exotic trips to far away lands.... and I'd be just happy getting to see the ADK's :?


Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:51 am
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Sovereign Woodsman

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Those looked like grape leaves to me! Now my mouth is watering!

The flames remind me of the steam vents in the Big Island, Hawaii.


Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:00 am
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Ahhhhhhmazing. Looks like a fantastic, fantastic trip.

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Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:38 am
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Peak Bagger
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hiking lady wrote:
So how did you deal with the language barrier? I don't think of Turkey as a hiking destination. Sounds like an interesting place for sure. What the heck was the dark food in the plastic container? I couldn't figure it out. Beautiful scenery for sure!! You sure do have some exotic trips to far away lands.... and I'd be just happy getting to see the ADK's :?


Ha, the language barrier is almost always the most fun part! Turks are incredibly hospitable, but almost to a fault, as they try and help without necessarily the knowledge to do so. We were steered in the wrong direction a lot trying to find our hostel the first night in Istanbul.

Many older Turks speak German (lots went over after the war to rebuild), and I speak a decent amount of German, so that actually ended up being very helpful.

Before hiking up to the lighthouse we stopped in town to get a bottle of wine (it isn't that common in Turkey). We didn't have a corkscrew so we needed it to be twist off (keep'n it classy). Trying to explain that to the shop keeper proved pretty difficult, and eventually we had people surrounding us trying to help out. Eventually a Dutch woman who speaks Turkish comes in. German is somewhat similar to Dutch, so between the two of us we got it sorted out. Everyone had a huge laugh.

Another funny story, the town we finished hiking in didn't have transportation to the next town and we were going to waste an entire day hiking the road to the next town to catch a bus. A woman on her porch asks us if we need a place to stay, which we didn't. But "Taxi" is a universal word, which we asked her about. She said no, but her husband came out, told us to come inside, and they offered us tea and water and said "10 minutes". He then pulled the car around, explained they were going to a a different town, and offered a ride, which we accepted (all pretty much with hand signals).

We assumed they would drop us off at the town we needed to get to as it was on the way, but we drove right on through. Eventually they dropped us off at a bigger bus station in a different town. We jumped off as a bus was leaving. The driver asked where we were going, we told him, and he told us jump on. 20 minutes into the ride, I realize we're going the wrong direction, and asked the woman in a full on burka next to me where it's going (repeating town names with hand signals makes for effective communication).

Realizing we were on the wrong bus, we jumped off at the side of the highway when the driver pulled over to get some coffee. Another bus comes in, also to get a cup o joe. He spoke English, saw us, and asked where we were going. We told him we eventually wanted to get to this island, but needed to get to a certain town to get there. As luck had it, he was heading up a 4 day boat cruise and passing through that island that night. For 20 bucks, we hopped his bus, boarded the boat, got dinner, and were on that island a few hours later. We stayed on the boat that night (in a private cove on the Med) and jumped ship the following day to another destination on our list.

The whole thing ended up being one of the highlights of our trip.


Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:19 am
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Peak Bagger
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KellyK wrote:
Ahhhhhhmazing. Looks like a fantastic, fantastic trip.


Forget Turkey.....how the heck is Idaho? (I can hijack my own thread right?)


Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:22 am
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mojo wrote:
Forget Turkey.....how the heck is Idaho? (I can hijack my own thread right?)


Haha - words never before spoken, I'm sure! Idaho is great actually. We're having unseasonably cool temperatures today (high of 78) and it is freaking beautiful. A nice break in the action after a few weeks of high 90's.....but those temps are returning soon. Still haven't turned the AC on though - hooray for dry heat! Granted, everyone here thinks we're crazy that we haven't yet. I just tell them that they grow em tough in the northeast.

We had the chance to do a little exploring around southern Idaho for a few weekends (and I had posted a few TRs if you were away), but now we're tethered to Boise waiting for the ball - or baby, as it were - to drop. Really wouldn't mind if she came, oh, I don't know, today. I'm waiting for Salvation Army to pick up our old couch, so I'm sure that my water will break as soon as I'm sitting on our new leather couch instead. I hit 39 weeks on Saturday, so it's really any day now.

In the meantime, we keep seeing photos of amazing looking places to go in Idaho, so we're really hoping that this baby likes her carseat and carrier so that we can get back at it this fall and see some more sights before it gets too chilly. But while we're city-bound, there's actually a surprisingly large array of things to do here to keep us occupied. I was worried leaving Somerville that we'd be leaving behind fun events, but Boise is chock full of them too.

So yeah, all is well! Missing NH every so often...but then I remember about humidity and black flies and mosquitos and I feel a little more at peace ;)

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Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:50 am
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Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought backpacking through Turkey would look so amazing. :)

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Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:05 pm
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Peak Bagger
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JustJoe wrote:
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought backpacking through Turkey would look so amazing. :)


Think of the coastline and islands as Greece for 1/4 the price.

They aren't showcased much in the pictures I attached, but the mountains along the coast were very impressive. We didn't get up too high, but I would've loved to explore them.

There's also amazing alpine hiking to be had in Turkey along the Kackar Mountains. We debated heading there instead of the coast, but the Lycian Way had a combination of things that we just hadn't experienced before, so we hit the beach.

https://www.google.com/search?q=kackar+ ... 25&dpr=0.9


Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:13 pm
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