Lycian Way, Turkey. Kabak Beach to Alinca.
The little old white haired, red eyed, dog that has the run of the Olive Garden greets us like old friends as we creak stiff kneed down the concrete stairs towards the wooden balcony surrounding the dining area.
I take pictures of him in his lilac coloured studded punk collar.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we are first to make it to the breakfast tables this morning however our Netherlands friends are not far behind. Hans and Nancy are a fascinating couple who seeming spend every free moment of their lives walking long distances in mountainous terrain all over the world.
Hans entertains me with terrifying tales of his 30kg pack carried wandering through Canadian wilderness and his 50kg pack during his time in the armed forces.
Breakfast once again is a fresh produce delight. Knowing we have an 800m elevation climb ahead of us today I avoid bread and feast of fresh yogurt, fried egg, full flavoured raw tomatoes, cucumber sliced length ways, goats cheese and olives.
For once we remember to take a photo of our food prior to devouring it like ravenous beasts.
Branches bearing unripened figs climb beside us. Kabak beach awaits lustrous turquoise far below.
Taking photos of the rosy sunlit cliffs in the previous evening I noticed that the rickety staircase of our wooden unit is supported by a single angled beam. The top step rocks back and forth as I trepidatiously take my first step downwards bearing my full pack.
Pam awaits the likely collapse from above, I breathe out relieved at the bottom unscathed.
With no idea of where the Lycian picks up from the Olive Garden we seek assistance from workers repairing the grounds. We are pointed towards a steep path, Pam slips and nearly falls with her first foot placement on the path as the worker races down to help her.
She manages to regain her own footing, waves thanks to her young would be rescuer and makes the remainder of the little pathway to me unscathed.
I am rebuked for lack of chivalry as we find our way down to a flat rock offering great views of the Mediterranean below.
Our pink-eyed woofy friend has made the street signs in the area.
Red crosses painted on trees tell us that once again roads shall not suffice where rougher trails beckon.
Breaking through the tree line to Kabak beach we are passed by a neatly dressed couple who, judging by their footwear, are obviously heading no further than the beach.
Cool waters of the Mediterranean summon strong desires to commune with my salty mother once more. Thoughts of lacing boots over sandy feet and climbing a salt encrusted 800m sway me back to the dry side.
Pam has already peeled off her boots as I to and fro. She is not up for swimming however she braves the cool blue just past her ankles.
Waiting for her feet to dry a young German couple pass us by and strip off to their swimmers at the far end of the beach. Though they carry backpacks they have come prepared for public beaches.
With Pam shod once more we set off, up past thatch roofed tourist villas. A flat gravel path takes us past the hippy van we presume belongs to the dreadlocked fellow we passed roasting in the sun on the stony beach.
Our climb begins.
Immediately rough, steep and rocky. We pass over screes fallen from the slopes towering each side above the water gully that the path follows.
Enjoy rather than Endure. This is a creed I like, one I might live by. We pause to rest often for standing breathers and to take photos of the magnificent views as we climb higher and higher into the cliffs.
Little things like fallen trees blocking our cliffside path are circumnavigated with care. Periodically we pause packs off and sit on plentiful white rocks in places where we can simultaneously find shadows whilst avoiding sap dripping trees.
Returning downhill from their unladen morning climb Hans, Nancy and parents stop to chat. Hans has climbed down to the waterfall we have begun to hear on our ascent and taken photos with his massive DSLR which he eagerly shows us.
Knowing this will probably be the last time we meet them on this trip Pam and I reiterate our invitation to stay with us should they ever find themselves in our home town and they respond in kind.
Part of the real beauty of the long distance hike is implicit trust in your fellow think-a-like madmen companions.
Kabak beach dwindles below us. We draw near level with the base of the high cliff faces.
A lovely flat clearing where people have obviously camped offers a great spot for our first long rest. Above the cliff line opposite us a paraglider hangs in silent splendour.
Just like us, lizards lie flat sunning.
Soon after our rest we pass the junction for the descent down to the waterfall.
Whilst we are both eager to see and possibly swim in the clear waters the though of regaining the four hundred steps of the climb down overcomes our freshwater longings.
Fallen scree slopes have me looking up for crushing boulders sent tumbling from above as we scramble as best we can across the rolling surface.
Clear directions at last.
Pausing for rest again under the shade of an erosion sculpted cliff face I am reminded a little of the Wave Rock in Australia.
Fallen trees, rough ankle turning paths, scree and cliffs beyond, such are joys we have free willed chosen.
A large boulder blocks the scree path ahead of us, to our right the rocky slope plunges down at a steep angle that looks tame on camera.
With only one good foothold available I cross first, bum glued to the protruding boulder, then guide Pam to follow.
‘Onwards and ever upwards’ we crawl on. Cliff faces we gawked at from far below on Kabak beach draw level, then pass beneath our heels.
Trees once wheeling above our heads now show us their lofty green crowns.
Heat haze fills the valley below as the sun climbs on above us one and all.
With so much to see it is a challenge to keep our focus where it needs to be. Once again an Eighties movie soundtrack comes to my aid.
This time to the tune of the Monty Python song ‘Every Sperm is Sacred’ from the movie ‘The Meaning of Life’.
‘Every footfall’s vital’
‘Make every placement good’
‘If a foot slips awkward’
‘You could be in schtook’
Pam finds very little humour in my ditty and tells me yet again ‘honey, don’t be weird’.
She has a point, the danger is often very real and extremely nearby.
Spying some of the agricultural stone walls that so entrance me up ahead I cry out ‘civilization at last’. An olive grove with some lovely flat camping spots awaits us and we find a spot in the shade of an olive tree nearby a wooden platform to sit and eat lunch.
Having quickly devoured my orange and handful of nuts and dried fruit I leave Pam in the shade and make my way up to the very crest of the hill for photos of the surrounding cliffs and Kabak beach far below.
A busy ant trail follows dead centre along the path and I straddle it awkwardly as I climb to the best vantage point. Putting my strengthening knees to the test I descend with a little rock climbing to find Pam chatting with the two young Germans we had met on Kabak beach.
The young lady seems very organized and gets out tupperware containers of food, spreading path side herbs they have picked as they climbed onto the sandwiches she constructs.
Her male companion Toby seems a little more haphazard and we have a friendly chat before heaving our packs aloft once more and striking out for the slopes to come.
Our guide book describes this flat area we have rested as being in a small saddle with the worst of the climbing behind us. As we climb on and on our hostility levels towards our guide’s author rise accordingly.
We have drawn level with the tops of the cliffs that so daunted us from the beach below by the time we crest the final rise. The clearing ahead ends at a building and fences.
One more little ridge to go and we are walking downhill at last towards Alinca.
Staggering into the first pension that presents itself with no thoughts of bartering for accommodation prices we are pleased to find we will have a little wooden hut with our own facilities.
Inside the room is only slightly larger than our tent however the simple bed provides horizontal luxury of the highest order.
Hot showers restore our sense of humour.
Out on the balcony of the main building that offers views to more cliff faces to come we meet another friendly German couple. They are older than ourselves and look extremely fit. Both of them are retired educators. Gundi was a teacher and her husband Ulrich a geography professor.
Extremely widely travelled, they entertain us during dinner with their adventures. Pam responds in kind.
By now even I have a few tales to add to the mix.
Pam and Mick