Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bezirgan - Gökçeören

The Lycian Way day 11.
Distance: 20.0km (174.4km), time spent: 7:49 (71:56).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 736m / 842m / 976m.
Weather: Rainy clouds in the horizon, nice weather rest of the day.

After shaking off the plaster from the night and eating breakfast, I am on the way again. The future is not bright for the goats in the area, today is an official holiday and it is to be celebrated with the proper dinner. The hosts at the place are already slaughtering a goat when I am leaving. It is not bright in the horizon behind me either; it seems that Kalkan can be expecting more rain. Bezirgan says farewell with a rainbow in the hills behind.

View over Bezirgan, with a rainbow above the hills to the west.

The seven kilometres to Sarıbelen is not entirely positive. I do become a little frustrated when a lot of time is lost trying to locate the route instead of being able to enjoy what it has to offer. At the pass of Yumrutepe, I go back and forth a couple of times before I finally find where the trail is going. Going steeply down, the path takes me through what looks like a garbage dump. On the way up again, the trail goes cold and it is only by a lucky guess that I find myself back on the trail and the houses of Sarıbelen.

A signpost above Sarıbelen, notice the ads for accommodation in Gökçeören, I was to pass several of these makeshift signs on the path.

The store in Bezirgan was closed when I left. A common denominator in the area seems to be that the houses of the villages are scattered around, Sarıbelen included, finding the store here takes some time. The assortment is not big, but the hospitality is, the owner of the shop offers me tea. Above me, the sky is blue with scattered clouds.

Sculptures of stone permeates the landscape above Sarıbelen, down in the valley floor (barely visible in the picture) there is a charcoal burner's ring of stone.

It is an all-new story after Sarıbelen; I quickly forget paths through garbage and disappearing waymarks. After climbing up from the village, I find myself on an outcrop with a view of a mystical landscape consisting of strange stone formations. Oval blocks of stone in different shapes permeates the vegetation. I am looking forward to walking between them, but unfortunately, the trail does not go where I want to go. It meanders around towards the coast again; the descent from Yumrutepe to Sarıbelen appears in my line of sight for a moment.

View over the coast. In the horizon, the Patara beach returns back in sight, in addition to Yalı Burun with the two isles and I can just barely see the houses of Kalkan.

And then the coast and the Mediterranean reappears below me again, Kalkan, Patara (for the last time), Yalı Burun, blue ocean. For the first time in a long time, I again feel excited by discovering what lies around the next corner, a feeling that has largely been absent in the last days (though they have been nice days). I have this feeling that it is when the trail climbs higher up that it really is coming into its own. Going further, the view changes focus to what is awaiting me later. I can see the Greek island of Castellorizon (Meis), which lies outside Kaş, which still is hidden behind the mountainsides.

A sloping plain above the coast, the trail passes over the plain past the ruins of a house.

Not far away from the remains of a house, three dogs are following me with fierce eyes. I take a small detour around them, are they still guarding their old residence, I wonder. The trail has taken a detour around the mystical stone formations; I come down to a huge ova (plain between hills) on the other side of them. There is a mountain farm in the end of the plain. If the path had gone through the stone sculptures, I would have missed the view of the coast. I spend some time trying to find a stone sarcophagus, which is supposed to lie around 200 metres from the path, without luck. At the farm, I make a heavy sneeze, which causes the goats inside a fencing to try to escape in a mad frenzy.

Goats in a fencing at a farm, faint of heart, one sneeze and there was a big tumult.

It has been some rainy days lately and out on the big plain there are some huge pools of water that still has not sunk down into the ground. Apart from that, there is little that gives away that is has rained. The landscape looks dry, arid and isolated. In the spring it is another world here, with the barren ground replaced by lush and green vegetation, now it reminds me more of Mars. I pass by several large holes in the ground, wells, with stones stacked in a circle around them. Potential pitfalls in the dark. A dead rat lies floating in one of them, the water is not tempting.

Passing above a large ova used as a pasture for the goats in the area. There are still some big water pools at the plain after the rain. The holes in the ground are wells.

There has been few ruins today, maybe this area was too isolated in the old days as well, but in the shade of some trees there are some tangible relics from ancient times suddenly appearing among the undergrowth. The nature has run its course and they are about to disappear into oblivion.

A well on one of the plains the trail passes over. You have to watch yourself so you do not fall down into one of these if you walk here in the dark.

Gökçeören is a small village where the houses, as in Bezirgan and Sarıbelen, appears to be enjoying themselves better with some distance to the next house. The owner of Yeşil Pansiyon, Hüseyin Yılmaz, is standing and waiting for me at the entrance to the village and takes hold of me just before another person calls to me from a nearby house. Another guy in a window is pointing to the nearby house, I get confused. Hüseyin wants to drive me up to the guesthouse, but I have to walk there (the purist in me denies me to take a car before after finishing my walk).

Gökçeören with its red-roofed houses.

Sasha and Alice are in the guesthouse, but they have just stopped for a break and are going further to find a place to camp. They had stayed in their tent just below Yumrutepe tonight. Basically, I am a little bit sceptical about this kind of aggressive way of acquiring guests, but the room is nice and I am here anyway now. I stay. The guesthouse is located right next to the village mosque, where a huge plane tree is at the space in front of it. Another hiker is also coming to the guesthouse, Serkan from Istanbul, who has some days off work and uses them to hike a part of the trail.

The mosque in Gökçeören with the amazing plane tree next to it.

I want to have more days like these. After I finished the boring walk between Yumrutepe and Sarıbelen, it was an altogether magnificent walk. Then again, the hostess at the Pause Pansiyon in Sarıbelen warned me that it was pretty.

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