After spending about a week on the trail we have had a great experience although the hiking has been challenging in parts with loose rock, exposed ledges and sections of the book have small disclaimers hidden in the text “do not take this section with large backpacks” and “do not attempt in windy or wet weather”. The lack of decent maps or elevation profiles in the book is also a challenge and its clear the German version is a much better product, if only the publishers would work together to get a solid route and description together!
The next stage of the hike has you loop around a peninsula before trying to cross a rocky cliff which is not recommended with large backpacks 🙁 so we made a plan to stop at Patara and have a bit of a break and visit the beach etc before we head to catch a dolmus to Kalkan.
The morning hike was short, around 5km to our Pension where we will stay for 2 nights. While working our way through the brush we bumped into four Germans who we shared breakfast with in Bel, they already had scrapes from the gorse, after a quick chat they recommended the pension in Gelemis/Patara and we continued our bushwhacking into town. It was nice to have a room after six nights in the tent, plus we had access to the outdoor pool. The owners of the pension also offered a laundry service so we gave them all of our smelly hiking gear.
For the rest of the day we hiked down to the Patara ruins and took a quick dip in the cold mediteranean, a day of rest soon turned into 13km’s of hiking before stopped for a home made Turkish meal at our pension.
After having a chat with Jurg, who we bumped into as he was leaving our pension, we decided to hike the Patara loop for the day, we will not be carrying our big packs so 20km’s should be easy enough! We set off with a day pack and the GPS unit, first we walked up the hill out of town and then we hiked down the hill towards the ocean. The trail markers on this section seem a little confused with old signs pointing to paths that are blocked and new signs appearing randomly and pointing in strange directions. Another couple with large packs was also having issues so they followed us for a few km’s.
The trail winds around the peninsula and drops down to a nice sandy bay where we enjoyed a dip in the cool waters. In a month or two the water will be a little warmer but it was still good to splash around for five minutes. On the way out of the bay MJ had a sheep dog turn very aggressive with growling and teeth baring, circling and threatening to bite, luckily the shepherd helped out before we had throw stones, this was a sign of more dog issues to come.
The hike the turned up a service road, dusty and rough as the suns heat became a little overbearing. The km’s were mounting up and we came across our campsite at around 20km realising we still had 5km to hike. By the time we got into town we were ready for a lot of food and our day off seemed like another tough hiking day. Maybe tomorrow’s hike will be easy….haha.
Todays hike is going to be out to the main road and continue after catching a Dolmus to Kalkan. The first part of the hike was along the asphalt road, then we arrived just in time to flag the Dolmus down and hop on, before we were dropped off at the main stop in Kalkan. We went to look for a bag drop so we could leave a few things behind but in the end we left the bag at Gul Pension, great friendly owner and definitely a good place to stay if in Kalkan. After the bag drop we loaded up on food and made the decision to hike the long trail up to Berzigan.
The start of the trail is up through a new housing estate and we missed a sign before having to turn back and loose some elevation 🙁 After the initial steep ascent the hiking was reasonably good and much more pleasant than the rumours suggest. After a bite to eat and crossing over a field we noticed more uphill, avoiding the aggressive dog we headed up a tricky, loose rock, dusty ascent that went on and on with the suns heat blasting down. It was a nice relief to pass over the top into the cooler valley near Berzigan where we refilled water and discovered the shop was closed, good job we brought food with us.
Throughout the night the dogs were up and down the valley, barking. At times they would be closer to us, then they would move away before the barking would come closer with different dogs/groups in different areas. It was not conducive to good sleep.
After getting up and having coffee we headed off for Gokceoren, the book tells us there are stores in a village on the way so we aim for our first stop in the village. The trail here seems to wind through brush rather than follow the road which would be a more direct route which is a little strange. When we got to the village we searched around before we gave up and walked to Moonstone Pension, we had read about this pension and apparently it has good breakfast. The Pension had no guests but did serve us good coffee and a great Turkish breakfast, they also mentioned that the shops were around 3km away in the other part of the village! After agreeing that the German book is a lot better we left and headed toward Husseins place in Gokceoren for some dinner.
Hussein was very friendly and wanted us to stay but we had plans to camp so we ate and bought a few extra supplies before heading out into the flower and bee filled fields. Walking out of the town we soon hit the old growth forest that was being clear cut, as we wanted a nice spot to camp we hiked another couple of km’s down the road before getting water, cleaning some clothes and getting the tent ready.
Our camping site was much better than last night as we are pitched in the trees above the road, there is a good view and the town is quite a way behind us.
This was a tough day, the start was up a steep hill side, the trail was reasonable but straight up. Everything mellowed out for a while until we had to hike through some farmland that had been messed up with a bulldozer and someone had been using it as a dump, this are the points when you ask why anyone would want to ruin a nice area and why we would want to hike through a humans destruction zone!
After the dump the hike turned down the hill before heading up to Phellos ruins where we lost the trail! The bushes were growing up over the markers and there were multiple route options, in the end we just hiked in a straight line to where we thought the trail went and managed to hit the easier down hike. As we tired the trail became harder, loose rocks, scrub bushes and tight switchbacks, oh the joy! Luckily the penion at the edge of town had some food so we ate some great tasting Turkish home made treats.
After filling up we headed on through the village to find a tent site, after the dog issues the other night we wanted to hike out of town so the local dogs would not be near us. This took quite a while, until we found a site up the final ascent, the ground had a lot of small spiky leaves that we had to clear but once settled it was a good night.
Today is the end. Its easy to reconsider your choice and want to carry on, but reading ahead in the book does not fill me with any confidence that we will enjoy the hiking. Lack of water, pushing through brush, routes that are not suitable for large backpacks. Maybe at another point in time I will return and push through but for now we have some other things to enjoy!