Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tahtalı Dağı / Mount Olympos

The Lycian Way day 27.
Distance: 6.0km (423.3km), time spent: 5:10 (164:21).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 1815m / 1815m / 2365m.
Weather: A clear blue sky.

Complaining that the trail is going too low is tempting, as good as I have slept during this night. Ironically enough, I cannot enjoy it to a full extent. My eyelids are reasonably heavy when I force myself out of the sleep. A swiss roll that I have carried with me becomes a sort of breakfast. I hear Melike leave her tent and set off in the darkness. She is more disciplined than I am when it comes to getting up in the morning, something she enjoys well. All the same, she knows that I will catch up with her at a point.

In the morning on the climb to the summit of Tahtalı Dağı, the sun colours the peaks in the background.

Darkness lies satisfied over the mountain when I start walking a while later, with the path barely visible in the light from my headlamp. The tent is left standing. Higher up there is a small light moving upwards. As expected, I quickly catch up with Melike. On the other side of the mountain, the sun has now woken and gradually it becomes brighter around us. To get to view the sunrise from the top would have been marvellous, but for that, we would had to start a lot earlier than we did. It would have been hard.

The path up to the summit of Mount Olympos.

The sun colours the peaks behind us red, where Kızlar Sivrisi (the Girls' Needle) is the tallest. In the returning sunlight, the barren landscape is revealed. The path now a clear line, which we can follow with our eyes up what is in short a huge pile of rocks. Next to the path, there are small red flags, remnants after a mountain bike race down from the mountain. The sun has risen on the wrong side of the peak for us; it is chilly in the air. Anyway, there are two large smiles that are steadily climbing upwards.

View towards Cape Gelidonya. Below, the houses of Beycik are also visible.

At the top of the pile of rocks, at 2365m, there is an ugly square grey building. The building houses the terminal of a cable car coming up from Akboyun and a café, in addition to an adventure bureau. The view from the summit is superb and would had been even better if the building was removed. I am mostly interested to see where the trail is going, where it continues in the direction of Antalya, as I can see appear out of the remote haze.

At the summit of Tahtalı Dağı, there is a large and ugly building, which houses the terminal of a cable car up to the top, in addition to a café.

From here, I can also look back towards Cape Gelidonya. Tahtalı Dağı is also bringing back memories of a thirty kilometres long walk on a beach. Below the sea is glimmering outside Tekirova, Kemer and other towns along the Mediterranean. Perhaps there are some hikers on the Lycian Way down there, which now are standing and looking up at the mountain. Maybe from the ruins of Phaselis.

View from the summit of Tahtalı Dağı in the direction of where Likya Yolu is going, the houses of Antalya barely discernible.

We arrive so early at the summit that the café is not open yet, but a guy working there is letting us in and is offering tea to the first visitors on the top on this day. Later we hear the machinery begin working and the first travellers on the cable car appears. Where it before was calm and quiet at the summit in the sunlight, it is now far noisier. We find ourselves some seats outside and order a proper breakfast (omelette). And a cold beer each (the most expensive on the walk so far). At the highest point I would get to on my journey, that is absolutely fine. Beneath us, the sun is reflected in the Mediterranean.

Sun reflecting in the Mediterranean.

Paragliding is popular from the summit and among the usual tourists, airy adventurers appears with heavy bags and backpacks. From the steep slopes of the mountain, they throw themselves out from the mountain and glides down on the airways. On the top, there is also a bungee-catapult, so that you can be slung even farther up into the air, in case the view is not good enough to keep the interest up.

Melike at the summit of Olympos. Below you can see the path that is winding its way towards the top.

Then we look at the watch and decide is it time to begin the descent. We follow the path down where it winds its way down between the rocks. Blue sky above us and when we later look back up at the summit a small cloud has begun to take shape out of nothing. Fascinating. The grey mass of stone a clear contrast to the blue background.

Paragliders on their way down from the summit.

Far below, we can see our tents. Around them there are now a large heard of goats. A shepherd herds them onwards with the aid of some dogs. When we get closer, they catch our scents and starts to howl. However, we get to walk back to our tents in peace.

At the summit of Tahtalı Dağı, 2365m.

My tent was wet from condensation in the morning, but it is dry now. We pack together and prepare to leave Olympos. Melike, who at first had not believed she would climb to the top, is really satisfied with the climb up. And I shall not disguise that I am really satisfied as well.

Descent from the mountain, our tents barely visible among a herd of goats farther down.

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