Sunday, October 11, 2015

Yayla Kuzdere - Gölbastığı

The Lycian Way day 28.
Distance: 19.0km (451.8km), time spent: 5:52 (172:43).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 901m / 972m / 972m.
Weather: Nice, drifting clouds in the afternoon and evening.


The night was like a balm for the soul, I slept like a rock. I share the breakfast table with the large group from Hong Kong; Melike is already on her way. According to the weather forecast there is a thunderstorm approaching in the days to come. However, the guide for the group tells me that for the mountains you cannot know for sure, the weather forecasts here are only based on the coast stations. We are almost ready for departure at the same time, the youths and I. They go to Beycik over Tahtalı Dağı, I walk towards Göynük Yaylası, or do I? Maybe I will remove Yaylası and walk to Göynük instead.

Waymark for the Lycian Way and on a dry and cracked rock.

Today's walk begins just as well by me not finding the trail where it seemingly should go, according to both map and signpost. The villagers have probably been out and carried out a small change of route. After coming back on track again, the trail is generally following a forest track, but the view has retained its glory. Against a blue sky the contours of Tahtalı Dağı becomes clear.

Teke Dağı is shining in a grey white hue above me to the left; by the map, I can see that there is a path going on the top of the ridge. Not marked though, but still, if only the Lycian Way was going there. You can wish for much.

View back towards Tahtalı Dağı to the left in the picture, with Erenkolu Gediği visible just below it to the right.

From the forest track, I can see the ocean through the ravine where two ridges meet and forms the valley upon which the other trail is coming up from. Today, the two alternatives will reunite again and any hikers that meet can exchange experiences from Tekirova, Phaselis, Mount Olympos and the flames of Chimaera (if those going past Tekirova did not visit the place before they left Çıralı). The path here is pleasant, but not altogether exciting.

The ruins of the castle in Gedelme with Mount Olympos in the background.

In Gedelme, ruins of an old Genovese castle is located. It is only the torn walls that is still standing, now beleaguered by vegetation. After climbing around in the ruins for a bit, I discover that there is a small cave underneath the remains of the buildings. A worn wooden staircase leads down to it, on the ground there is a set of forgotten Uno playing cards. I crawl through the cave and emerge out through a small opening, before I force myself through some bush and ends up just below the castle.

Beneath the castle in Gedelme, there is a small cave you can crawl through. Also a nice place to play Uno it appears.

Continuing, I meet an old woman with a mule. I ask if I can take a picture and she agrees to it, on the condition that I buy two apples for two lira. Fair deal.

After Beycik, there are no stores until you arrive here at Gedelme, and afterwards you will not find any until Göynük located some kilometres away from the trail, so I fill up on my stocks for safety reasons. In the large restaurant at the centre of the village, I meet a group of Russian hikers, and get in talk with Anthony and Gekhetsik. As with their fellow countrymen, they also hike the trail in the opposite direction of what I do and has just started from Göynük; their plan is to go to Gelidonya.

Old woman and her mule in Gedelme.

Their walk would turn out to form a starting point for their own adventure bureau, TrekRussia (the web page is at the moment only in Russian), where they specialize in offering customized hikes mainly in Russia. A pleasant, though short, meeting.

Teke Dağı above a yayla outside Gedelme.

On the short part of the trail that goes on the road before Höyük Tepe, I find Melike again, and has to reconsider my statement from yesterday on not being able to fast-track. She feels a pain in one of her feet and chooses to call Gül Mountain Lodge, which is lying about two kilometres away from Göynük Yaylası. When I arrive there, I will contact her. Behind us, the clouds are beginning to come in waves over the mountains facing the Mediterranean, Tahtalı included. Yet another group of Russians appears, they really do come at regular intervals.

View towards Söğütcük and a tv antenna standing on the top of a mountain the trail later passes below.

Melike does not miss out on the most exciting part of the trail; though for the most part, this day has not offered much at all. It has been nice, but nothing out of the ordinary. From Höyük Tepe, the trail jumps down from one forest track to another on small paths. Where the trail going by Tekirova are re-entering this path, there is nothing else but a small y-shaped waymark that indicates the separation between the paths. It is almost overgrown. If you come from the other direction, you have to keep a good watch if you want to take the trail going over Mount Olympos, it is easy to walk past that path and continue further on the forest track upon which the trail towards Tekirova goes on.

A water source on the trail between Höyük Tepe and Gölbastığı.

At Gölbastığı, I send a message to Melike and sit down next to the signpost pointing towards Göynük. Shortly after, a car is coming down. A room at the Gül Mountain Lodge is already fixed, and the price is not bad. 80 Turkish Lira for accommodation, dinner and breakfast. The hotel is situated next to the road to Antalya and has a great view of the valley below. There are few guests here today, but a large group is expected tomorrow. My room can wait, it is still a good temperature outside, so we sit outside and enjoy the weather and the view. Melike has bought a farewell present to me, a keychain with an apricot in it.

Tahtalı Dağı with its block seen from the trail below Gölbastığı.

In the afternoon, the clouds drifts in over the valley and crashes unceasingly towards the mountainsides of Teke Dağı. The square bunker at the summit of Olympos is still visible. The dinner at the place is superb and almost worth the price for the stay alone. I ordered köfte as main course, which was served together with a large selection of different meze, all tasting excellent.

Teke Dağı seen from Gül Mountain Lodge.

The weather forecast is still adamant that it will be thunder tomorrow afternoon, so I have decided to go to Göynük tomorrow. My initial thought was to continue further and camp at Sarıçinar pınarı, where supposedly there is a reliable water source, pınar means spring in Turkish. Fair enough walk today, but the stay here at Gül Mountain Lodge was very good.

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