Friday, October 9, 2015

Ulupınar - Erenkolu Gediği

The Lycian Way day 26.
Distance: 15.5km (417.3km), time spent: 5:48 (159:11).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 250m / 1815m / 1815m.
Weather: Blue sky in the morning, then overcast, changing in the afternoon and evening.

From Beycik, we look up towards the bare slopes of Tahtalı Dağı. Today the trail is climbing up to a pass below the summit, the highest point on the trail if you do not walk past Phaselis and Tekirova. By staying the night here in Beycik, we have actually skipped a section of the trail. Melike is going for the pragmatic solution and continue walking from here since the Lycian Way passes by next to the village. For myself, I have to get back to Ulupınar. The matter is solved by Galip (the owner of the hotel), who drives me down again for a small amount of money.

On the way back up again to Beycik from Ulupınar. In the background, clouds has already begun forming over the summit of Tahtalı Dağı.

I have left my backpack behind at the hotel, that and since the trail mostly goes on good forest tracks makes for a quick walk up from Ulupınar. The trail however, does in between make small detours on footpaths, a couple of them quite steep. On the way up, what fascinates me most is to see how the layers of clouds forms above Mount Olympos. It is a clear blue sky and the clouds that forms above the mountain appear to come out of nothing, it is slowly increasing in size on my way back up to Beycik. A small cloud is also about to be formed above Musa Dağı, the most prominent mountain in the background behind me.

View back, the scattered houses of Ulupınar is visible below and in the background Musa Dağı.

At a place, the villagers of Beycik has rerouted the trail so that it passes through the village and not outside of it. First, I did not thought much about it, but when I end up at the road that goes through the village; I understand that I am not longer on the proper trail. The warning lights should have gone off when I walked past a small section with an abundance of red crosses and arrows pointing further along the forest track. I reckon that is where the original trail leaves the forest track; I however chooses not to go back.

Back at Nara Resort I receive a warm welcome again, they prepare a lunch for me that I am allowed to eat outside in their private part of the hotel. While I eat, the hosts are working with weighing and distributing harvested fruits in bags. The summit of Tahtalı Dağı itself is now no longer visible behind the clouds.

Above Beycik, below Olympos. The trail goes through an area that was used for lumbering, the mountain shrouded by clouds.

The walk up to Beycik again was nice, but it is the ascent afterwards that I have the greatest expectations of. Above the village, you can clearly see where the path goes, before it disappears into the trees below the pass between Olympos and Danışman Tepe. Melike will be somewhere up there now; she has a head start on me. More and more clouds are now coming in waves over the mountains and they do not front a positive colour. Will it come rain? Thunder? I do not hope so, even though the dry landscape I walk through could need it.

Yayla at Emzik Çesme. A sign advertised for drinks for sale, but there was no one present.

There is an obvious reason why you can see the trail so clearly and that is logging. The path is following the forest tracks used to haul down the timber. One of the first things that I notice is that here everything is clear-cut, there are no ugly and half-long tree stumps left behind, as I am used to from back home. An unobstructed view backwards is the added reward of the logging. Clouds has taken their positions above me, but over the sea there is still a clear blue sky, Moses Mountain looks considerable lower from here.

Dark clouds yields a dramatic view from the slopes of Tahtalı Dağı above Emzik Çesme.

After disappearing in the woods, I encounter a huge dog. However, it does not look aggressive to me and looks more like it wants to lead me somewhere; it meanders slowly ahead of me and regularly looks back at me as if to check that I still keep up with it. I do not have much of a choice; it follows the same path upwards as I do. Until a sign with 'The Lycian Way' in red writing points in another direction. Dogs do not care much about human signs.

At Emzik Çesme, which is the last water source before the pass, there is a large yayla where the farmers also sees a possible source of income from the hikers passing by. They sell drinks and various trinkets from a small hut, but there are no one present there now. On the websites of Culture Routes in Turkey there was a warning that a person had made a stand below Olympos and sold expensive drinks, apparently he was also denying people to camp nearby. I have a small inkling that this is the said place.

Just before the highest point on the trail, the upper slopes of Mount Olympos appears, like a gigantic heap of rocks. You can discern where the path up to the summit is going.

After leaving the farm, it soon gets steeper and the view more dramatic beneath the dark clouds. The trail then ascents through a lovely cedar forest while mist slowly seeps down between the trees and engulfs me. Not far away from the pass, Erenkolu Gediği, I surprisingly catches up with Melike again. Even though I do walk faster, I had expected that she already was up at the pass or had continued further. Before the pass, both the trees and mist thins out, I can see the open mountainside that reaches up towards the summit of Tahtalı Dağı above us. It looks like a huge pile of rocks.

Erenkolu Gediği, this pass is the highest point on the Lycian Way if you do not choose to go the coastal path past Tekirova. It is only on this short section across the mountain that the path goes above the tree line. The trail descends again just before the rock with the trees in the middle of the picture.

We arrive at the pass; this is the only part of the path over the mountain that lies above the tree line. No water sources exists here, but there are several good places to pitch a tent, in grassy hollows below the slopes of Olympos. Where we pitch our tents someone has made a good fireplace, with tree trunks you can sit on next to it, it is an excellent place. There are some other people sitting in another hollow close by, but they pack together their belongings and disappears shortly afterwards. We can hear more voices from a place further away, where there is a large group of both adults and children located.

While we are staying at the pass the weather is changing all the time, when we arrived the clouds lay high above us. Afterwards it is lifting and above the sky is coloured blue, before clouds again drifts across the mountain. As the clouds, so are people drifting by, they come walking down from the summit, the large group packs together and continues on. In the end, only we stays behind. We gather firewood for the evening.

View from the cliff face at the end of the pass. In the middle of the picture, you can see the houses of the village of Yayla Kuzdere.

Farther away, the pass ends in a steep precipice, with the clouds gone the landscape below spreads out before my eyes. Far below, I can see where Likya Yolu is continuing, I can see the houses of the next village on the trail, Yayla Kuzdere. We could have gotten to the summit today, but it would have been a lottery if we would have views from the top or not.

Mysterious atmosphere in the afternoon when the clouds drifts past cedar and other trees at the pass.

Instead we enjoy the time here at Erenkolu Gediği as the pass is named, around us stands these fascinating and marvellous cedar trees. When the darkness begins to show signs of its arrival, we lit up the fire. It is quiet around us, the fire makes crackling noises. We share the food we have brought with us up here. Melike jokes about that I should have gone up to the summit to buy me a beer at the restaurant there, it has not gone unnoticed that I like to have cold efes after the end of my day.

After this great day, I can crawl into my tent well satisfied. Up here, the heat in the lowlands will not bother me either. Even the fire warming, I had to put on some more clothes in the evening. Tomorrow Olympos awaits.

Our campsite at Erenkolu Gediği.

<- UlupınarTahtalı Dağı / Mount Olympos ->

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