Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hisarçandir Kale - Geyikbayırı

The Lycian Way day 31.
Distance: 16.5km (502.8km), time spent: 8:58 (199:22).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 820m / 390m / 1400m.
Weather: Nice and clear weather.

Did I start the walk too early? Tonight it was nice and chilly, which made me sleep very well. No sounds of any animals or humans, quiet, except from one shot during the night (??). I eat cake for breakfast; it is after all the last day on the walk. Outside the tent, the sky is blue and the ruins of the castle are still situated where they were yesterday.

Down from Hisarçandir Kale, through a tunnel in the vegetation.

A path through the woods carries me down to a service road, which I follow down to the valley bottom and the Çandir river. On the road, I could behold the steep cliffs by eye from below. At the river there are construction works next to a small dam, it feels quite like an open wound in the landscape. To get across the river, I use the remains of a concrete structure. Even though I walk past several good places to camp, I do believe it was a good decision staying at the small clearing I found yesterday. If I had continued walking, I would also have missed the nice evening climb to the castle.

Up towards Çitdibi it is steep and the view back provides a good overview over the promontories that Hisarçandir Kale are situated on top of. With the exception of the ruins and the area around, the section between Hisarçandir and Çitdibi are not the most exciting. It is possible that I would have reached there yesterday. Above the village, there is a popular place for climbing; from the trail, I can see a vertical shelf alongside the mountain.

Çitdibi with the 2km long shelf behind, the rocky wall is a popular climbing destination.

I arrive at Çitdibi and there are little that suggest that there is any place to stay for the night here either, it is not an option now anyway. A small break I see fit however, after filling up with water next to the mosque, the place looks sleepy. A dog that looks like it either has been in a fight or suffer from a disease comes limping past me, it is not a very pretty sight and I feel a combination of disgust and pity of the sight. The dog does not make any sign that it pays any attention to me.

View back towards Hisarçandir (visible in the left part of the picture) from above Çitdibi. The prominent cliffs that houses Hisarçandir Kale are clearly visible.

I carry on upwards from Çitdibi and the path is now becoming more interesting. On the other side of the valley, I can see the houses of Hisarçandir beneath the mountain I came down from, the steep cliffs by the old castle is in plain sight. Further behind to the right, the summit of Teke Dağı is a clear outline against the blue sky. Antalya is now even clearer to the east of me.

The ruins of Typalia lies at the first pass you arrive at after Çitdibi. Sarcophaguses and tombs are the most prominent remains of the settlement and castle. The view from the ruins are supposed to be fantastic, so I reckon that there are more of them at the top of the one cliff next to the path, but I decide anyway not to do the climb up. I was content with the view on my way up here. Besides that, most of what I see here is now overgrown and not as exciting as other ruins I have seen down here.

The ascent to the ruins of Typalia provided good views in the direction of Antalya.

Before the last ascent on the trail, which goes up to the Karabel pass, I have to go steep down again. Steep down over a section of loose shale and earth, I slide nearly more than I walk. The descent ends down by a small river, where there are some inviting small pools. That lures me into them. I strongly doubt that I will meet anybody now, I did not meet anyone yesterday, so I dress up in the emperor's new clothes and jump into the water. Afterwards, I sit on one of the boulders and warm myself on the sunrays being filtered through the leaves of the trees around me.

Sarcophaguses in the ruins of Typalia.

Karabel lies at a long and tenacious rise from the river. The area feels relatively desolate, but on the way up, I find myself in the middle of a strongly cultivated small area. There are water hoses laid out everywhere. A guy is peeking up from one of the small patches of land; the guidebook mentioned that there were a farmer with the name of Halil working the land here. We continue further, each to our own work. He by growing his beans and walnut trees, me by walking upwards to the last pass of the Lycian Way.

After Typalia, the trail descends over a section with loose earth and shale rock, with clear signs that there has been several small landslides here.

With the exception of some few excursions through forest, the path is mainly going over small mountain plains. The grass on the plains are dry and yellow-coloured. The walk is nice, but it drains my energy, at a point I shortly wonder if I will get up to the top of the pass at all. Everything has an end of course, ascents also, so I arrive at the top in the end.

This adventure goes towards its end, from now on there are no more climbs left, only a single long descent. Sitting down at the pass feels like the proper thing to do. Not only of the reason that I need it after the climb up, but also to quietly meditate over the days that has gone by since I started out from Fethiye a month ago. And while I do so, I might as well prepare me some lunch. In the vicinity of where I sit, there are some relatively new tombs and remains of older ones.

A small farm on one of the plains you pass by on the way up to the pass of Karabel, dry and barren grass.

When I go down from the Karabel pass, my mood is high in the beginning; I walk over some green meadows with sunrays shining between the trees. Everything should be good, but then it turns to worse. For after the initial pleasant walk, I start to despair and begin to understand why most people either stops in or starts from Göynük. The path down is more like a wild and goalless stray through bushes and thickets. The waymarking looks arbitrary and I have to constantly stop to relocate the trail. There is nothing to see, frustration spreads. Even on a gravel track towards the end, it seems randomly marked and I go wrong for the umpteenth time, I feel that I get lost just one kilometre away from the end.

Remains of buildings in the ruins of Trebenna, situated on the top of a cliff above Geyikbayırı, here with a view back towards the mountains and the Karabel pass.

The only highlight on the last part of my Lycian journey is Trebenna. These cool ruins are situated on the top of a cliff with views that reaches as far as Antalya and the mountains behind. Remains of an old church is the first of the ruins that I see, and then Trebenna lies on the cliff behind. I climb up to it, at the wrong place, and has to push myself through thick vegetation before I arrive at ruins of old houses and archways that looks down upon the landscape in the valley steep below. Just below, an intact gate that leads to a path going down to the church ruins again.

All the way down, climbing walls are on all sides bending over me, Geyikbayırı is also a popular place for climbing. I arrive at the official end of Likya Yolu, marked by the sign displaying that I have walked 509km between Antalya and Fethiye (the number is rather ambiguous, since there are some variants along the way and two days have been added to the trail). It really looks like the sign is indicating what is the starting point for the trail (I know that Kate Clow is working with turning the trail around in the next guidebook). For the first time when I reach the end of a walk, I am not in a good mood; it seems that the descent has sapped me mentally.

An old gate in the ruins of Trebenna.

Next to the sign is Jo-si-to, an accommodation frequently used by the climbers travelling here. I quickly get back in a better mood again, after my initial frustration. I arrange a small bungalow for myself for the night, in the true sense of the world, small (but it suits all my needs).

And when the afternoon and evening arrives, I am back in a good mood. Behind me are now the mountains I came down from and the Lycian Way, 500 kilometres since Fethiye. Jo-si-to is a very nice place. I feel that I have earned the beers I drink. In the evening, a fire is built outside. Climbers comes and goes, they speak about the various climbing routes. There is a pleasant atmosphere at the place.

An adventure is over, another begins. At the end of the Lycian Way in Geyikbayırı.

Tomorrow, I travel back to Antalya, the adventure is over for this time, another begins.

<- Hisarçandir Kale

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