Lycian Way, Turkey. Faralya to Kabak.
One major inconvenience of having a gastrointestinal tract is that it does not cease it’s operations according to geo-spatial location.
Getting up in the middle of the night and standing under an ultra-clear black and star lit sky for a bush pee is fun. Readying yourself in the harsh light of morning for the first bush deuce in decades is another matter entirely.
I am in an Eighties Movie Soundtrack kinda mood this morning. Pam is none too impressed with my little ditty as I return from the bushes.
To the title tune of the Kevin Bacon classic movie Footloose. Now sing along everyone.
‘Bush Deuce, Bush Deuce, bury your poops and poos’
It has been a rough night, despite our lovely camping spot the Earth has been cold and hard beneath our aging bones.
Pam is rueing her miserly approach at the camping store in Chester as the rubber mat she chose to save costs of one pound and had only taken out of the plastic bag for the first time last night is thin and ineffective.
Having spent many a night on the ground in my youth I had elected to spend the extra pound and go for the military spec thicker foam mat however I have still spent the night tossing and turning.
Waiting for the tent to dry after shaking dew drops from it’s green outer skin we peel our last two oranges and eat a small handful of nuts.
Pam is keen to get going however I insist on waiting until the tent is fully dry before we pack it. Another kilo on my back because of a damp tent is more than this Koala can bear.
We leave our campsite just as we found it.
Just beyond the stream flowing from the little spring at the valley base we commence climbing once more, the goats have been released into the hills for the day. Bee hives have the mountains humming once more as we walk ‘onwards and ever upwards’.
For the briefest of sections we rejoin a gravel road. My rejoicing is short lived as the Lycian Way seems always to ask the question ‘why settle for the comfort of a smooth gravel road when a rough and rocky goat track will take four times as long and be ten times as dangerous’?
Down, we go down, heading for Faralya below.
Perhaps it is a lack of skill on my part. I can never seem to force the two dimensions offered by photography to adequately capture the sense of imminent danger presented by the rough trails.
Pam has a new mantra for the Lycian, ‘Enjoy rather than Endure’.
We rest often as a consequence of this more favorable approach than we took on the Camino and take great care whilst descending.
With the morning sun climbing towards its zenith we finally make Faralya and stop to buy a half dozen oranges from a roadside stall. Across the road from the village mosque a covered resting point grants us shades and seats to enjoy the juicy delights.
Food and produce in Turkey is sensational. I have not eaten such delicious oranges since I was a little boy. Each one is a new juice dripping from elbows slurping gob slobbing adventure.
Our little orange flavoured haven lies directly up the slope from the lovely Montenegro Motel and I do my best to steer Pam down the paved entry road however she is not having a bar of it.
Atop the crest on the right side of the road are taps for villagers and hikers to refill empty water bottles. Urrggghhhh three extra kilos to drag up the steep mountain side.
Turning left from the next corner on the bitumen road we rejoin goat tracks heading skywards.
‘What you want’? a little white goat inquires as we groan our way upwards.
Tall trees block our views upwards, Pam is really feeling the steep ascent, we pause to rest often. Baba Dagi lies massive, passive and ever serene behind us.
‘I have had enough’ Pam calls out stripping her pack from her back. ‘That will teach you for finding the toughest places to do walking tours then’ I reply with absolutely no sympathy.
Way up ahead from where we rest I think I can see the crest of our current climb and I cajole Pam back into action ‘there is only fifty metres left to climb’.
Twenty minutes later she accuses me of flat out lying rather than encouraging however by now I can actually see the top.
We spill out of the tree line into a little clearing and take a long rest to recover from the climb.
Hauling our packs back on we realise that we cannot see any of the red and white way markers and spend five minutes or so casting around for the correct track out of the multitude on offer.
Goats criss cross this country in all directions and all paths look similar to one another. It would be very, very easy to get lost. An Australian lady, Shirley, we had met during our stay at the Montenegro Motel had lost her way on the first day and ended up back at the starting point at Ovacuk after walking for seven hours.
We are determined not to have to retrace a single metre. So far so good.
Pam encounters our first tortoise as we cast about for the right trail.
For a while we follow the contour of the peak to our left, the path flat, narrow, soft dirt between thorny shrubs leads down to a dirt road. I see our next climb stretching out and around the left of the terraced hillside of farmland lying on the far side of the valley.
To our right the view stretches to the Mediterranean.
Finding shade under an overhanging rock beside the dirt road in the bottom of the valley Pam and I rest again. I sticky up my elbows with some more orange juice, Pam eats a few nuts.
Our lunch break done we forge on, ‘onwards and ever upwards’ once more.
Deep throated droning humming emanates from the flat terraced clearings at the top. Pam refuses to join my walk towards the cliffs beyond the many hives and continues up the road to wait.
Bees don’t worry me as long as I don’t worry them.
Views stretch all the way back to the beach at Olu Deniz near where our Lycian Adventure began.
As we climb the last little section of the hill beside a stone wall I feel that the turn ahead will be the last time we see Baba Dagi for a while and I turn around to say goodbye.
We are making great time as we stride down the gravel road that continues on down the other side and are a little confused when a lady tending goats shouts in Turkish for us to stop and gestures that Likya Yolu is back up and to our left.
No harder metre walked than the uphill metre retraced. By the time we rejoin the most previous way-marker we can see I am dejected with sweat running down my face.
Finding some sap free rocks to sit on and regather our composure we are passed by our first vehicles for the day, a tractor and trailer and a yellow backhoe. They beep their horns in greeting as they pass.
Reading the vague descriptions in the guide book is only two steps away from useless. Pam is still a bit more upbeat than I and sets off further uphill in search of way-markers we may have missed.
After I have cooled off a bit I drag my tired arse off the stone seat it has been moulded to and decide I will check out our options downhill.
I follow an indistinct path beside some old abandoned bee hives that takes me to a cliff face. From here I can see the village and beach of Kabak where we are headed however there is no discernible path.
Rejoining the road I notice an indistinct curved way-marker on a large rock with a small cairn of little rocks placed atop it. To the other side of the road is another little cairn and beyond that a very narrow path with a way-marker almost out of sight.
Don’t know how we missed that?
Whew, we are back on track. I groan my way back up to the discarded packs where Pam is sitting crestfallen.
‘Found it’ has her all smiles again.
Having spent at least half an hour trying to rejoin the Way has eaten into the remaining afternoon however the path we now follow is the steepest and roughest we have so far encountered.
Every footfall must be placed with care. I lead the way and have to stop often to act as a balance point to enable Pam to safely make her way down the larger rocky sections.
Our descent is slow and torturous, two months ago pain in my knees was so severe that I would have refused to walk this path. The course of Cetyl Myristoleate I have taken has ejected the lightning bolts of pain but I am still finding the going tough with the heavy pack.
Sudden changes in direction have to be taken with extreme care as the inertia of the heavy pack can swiftly alter your centre of gravity. Slipping here could be fatally catastrophic.
Finally we near a road below and I see the tractor and trailer that had passed us long ago leave the village via the dirt road and head off up the hill.
Another smooth road eschewed for another cliffside goat track taken.
The first pension into town has no WiFi, I want to try and get my ‘In Praise of Pacerpoles’ blog entry that I wrote most of way back in Split, Croatia out into the aether now we are finally up to date.
We stride on downhill towards the beach and the Olive Garden accommodation.
Legs trembling with exhaustion we are shown to our quarters which is a little wooden hillside box on stilts reached by impossibly rickety stairs. Pam makes me climb the stairs first before climbing up herself.
The yellow backhoe that passed us up the hill is now employed fixing up the grounds.
A quick laundry and simultaneous hot shower later and it is all good.
After hanging our washing on the wobbly railing we make our way to the main complex and dining hall and are greeted by our new Dutch friends, ‘glad to see you made it’.
As usual they look cool and serene. We met another lovely Netherlands couple on the Camino, Marte and Elma, who also somehow managed to always look fresh when we red faced and dripping.
Must be something in the Dutch water I guess.
With the setting sun suffusing the precipitous surrounds in a saffron halo we all make our way towards the dining hall. Tomorrow we shall be climbing above these glowing cliff faces.
Tonight another glorious tasty Turkish meal awaits.
Pam and Mick