Lykian trail hiking

5 days solo hiking in Turkey near Antalia

TURKEY 2019

September

Let me tell you about my travel to Turkey. I flew to Antalya (the city on the south of Turkey) by cheap low-cost airline at night. I took a bus from airport to bus station in the city center and then I found a smaller bus that took me in a couple of hours to the start of my route.

Antalya is a resort town surrounded by many small resort villages. Daily temperature was 30 degrees in the end of September. Water in the Mediterranean Sea is very hot too. There are many palms at sea coast, cactuses, pomegranate trees. But in the mountain valleys there are many tall pine trees, like in my home country, but with longer needles.

I had started my way in the Goynuk canyon. My whole route was a part of long marked trail named Lycian way. That's an old shepherd's trail thru the mountains, valleys and sea coast with many tiny villages, historical ruins and spectacular views.

I walked thru the canyon with tall walls of stones and pure water at the bottom. There were many tourists from resort hotels. But then I turned to small trail leading to the deep forest. I was alone on this trail. I walked higher and higher until I passed the highest place between two mountains. On my way down, I was very tired after last sleepless night. It was getting darker. No people around in many kilometers. I found a stream, filled my bottles and placed a tent. Honestly, I was so tired and I starting regretting that I went on that stupid adventure. First day is always full of stress))

I slept well (despite noisy neighbor birds) and next morning I was calm and happy. I made a breakfast on the small oven with dry fuel (gas bottles are not allowed at planes so I didn't bring gas-burner). Trail leads me to deeper part of canyon with a giant stones. It is so cool to wash your face in the pure cold water!

The trail was marked pretty well, but I lost it many times. Without good GPS map on my phone it would be very hard to find a way. Additionally, my map had all the water sources marked along the way. But there weren't any rains in that region for a long time, so many streams on my way was dry, without any water. It was a disaster. After a long walk thru the forest my bottles were almost empty and I was saving every drop of water until I had reached a small village Gedelme. There was a shop in that village and I had bought a huge bottle of ice tea and an ice cream. It was so delicious! I drinked a liter of tea instantly and another liter in next 30 minutes))

I had lost my touristic sim-card in the woods in the first night and I was very upset about it. But I saw a wifi sign on a tourist shelter in that village and asked the owner for a password. And he gave it to me for free! So, I sent a message to my wife and parents that I will not be texting to them anymore. I left the shelter and then I remembered that I had bought little souvenirs in Saint-Petersburg. I came back and gave a small matryoshka doll with a keyring to shelter's owner with many thanks))

Next night I spent on the hill above great valley. Every day in the dusk and dawn and sometimes in the middle of the day I heard a loud pray songs from Muslim temples (mosques). I heard it in Antalya in the city center and in forests as well. You can find mosques in every little villages with 15-20 houses in Turkey. And most of that temples are with speakers on its towers (minarets). Its pretty strange and even creepy when the sun is already hidden behind the mountains, you are alone in the woods and you are hearing "Allah is the great" songs in Turkish language from loudspeakers somewhere in the valley.

Many years I wanted to see the Milky way, but I had no chance. It was polar day in Sweden and in Saint-Petersburg there are too many lights. And stars are smaller in the north. I bought DSLR photo camera just before my travel and I wished to take a picture of moon and stars. I woke up at night and sat on a clear place at the extinct fireplace looking at the stars. I failed to take a picture, but I saw many stars very clear. It was nice))

On the third day I woke up early and packed my tent before sunrise. I went almost an hour till dawn in the dark with moonlight and with a lamp on my head. The trail turned into a dirt road and it was easy. I went up higher. My goal was to climb up the mountain Tahtali, 2365 meters above the sea level. Nature has changed. Woods turned into standalone huge fat trees and spiky bushes. I saw 2 small snakes and many lizards. Up in mountains I found a farm with many sheeps. They were resting right on the trail in the shadow of a big tree.

I had met nobody in the woods. But on my way to Tahtali I met one guy. He was laying right on the trail and sunbathing. We had a little conversation. He was from Belarus. He was at the top of the mountain last year and now his friends were going on the top without their backpacks and he was left on the trail with their stuff. I decided to do the same. I hid my backpack in near bushes and climbed up just with one bottle of water and my passport.

I was going up for 1.5 hours. There were no trees or any other plants, just dust and sharp stones. I used a sunscreen so I wasn't burned by the sun. Just my skin on the legs where I forgot to use sunscreen was awfully burned.

I met a couple of Turks from Istanbul on my way up. We spoke in English a little bit. They were speaking very good. Most of Turks I had met during that journey was speaking in English very bad. I was happy to speak with that couple. When they said that they are from Istanbul I said: "Great! You are living in the capital of your country!" "But the capital of Turkey is Ankara" - they replied. I was so ashamed))

Finally, I had reached the top. There is a funicular to the top from the other side of the mountain. A lot of tourists from resort hotels are coming to funicular by buses and then coming up in funicular cabins. And I was very proud that I climbed there by foot. The view was really spectacular. The mountains around and the sea coast with resorts and beaches in the fog far-far away down.

On my way down, I met a group of boys and girls. They were really surprised when I asked them: "Are you guys from the city Brest in Belarus?" They were a friends of the sunbathing guy that I met down on a trail. It was so nice to walk down with them. We were walking together until we found their friend and our backpacks.

I was very tired on my further way because of my bad shoes damaged by stones on the trail. Eventually, I found a perfect place to stay on a clear piece of ground in the woods. The altitude was around 1500 meters. When I was watching weather forecast at home I decided to go without my sleeping bag because of very hot nights. But in mountains was pretty cold. I had put all my clothes on and I still was freezing. Dog was barking at night somewhere in the woods. It was very strange.

Next day I was going down to the sea thru the little villages and gardens. Before I reached the sea, I had to climb on the Chimera mountain. I was deadly tired climbing up. But it was so nice to rest on the top with beautiful view of the sea. That mountain is famous because of fire that burn on their own. Gas is coming up from earth and igniting when it meets oxygen. It is very hot around these natural fireplaces.

Finally, I went down to the beach. It was not allowed to put a tent at the public beach so I stayed at night at camping. So I had a chance to take a shower, to charge my power bank and to write messages to my wife and colleagues.

At dusk I bought a bread and a cold tea and went swimming on the beach.

Last two days on my way I was hiking along the sea coast. The first half of the day I was walking and at dinner I was already at one of the beautiful bays. I was swimming in the warm sea. I was reading in the shadows under the trees. That were such a nice rest days. I was cooking on fire. I had met good people from Russia, Germany and Belarus. I was taking pictures of sunsets and sunrises.

On the last day I left the trail and took a bus to Antalya from small resort village. At 11 in the morning I was already in a shopping mall in Antalya. I had a lunch in Burger King and then I bought some souvenirs for my family. Then I walked a few hours in the city. I liked it so much! So many beautiful streets with small stores. One street with grocery stores, another with medical equipment and drug stores, next one with smartphones and other technics. Middle east people and architecture. The old town with trams and monuments. Full of tourists. I guess I like that city very much))

Next night I came home.

At home I found a tick that bit my back. That were bad news because these insects can spread infection. I brought that tick to clinic for analysis. In a few days I got a result - no infections. That's good, lucky me))