Hudacili Ridge to Antalya. Lycian Way, Turkey.
Is it light rain tapping on the dark green outer skin of Vincent or the general buzzing excitement of culmination that brings us bright awake as the first light of this grey morning creeps through the boughs of the mountainside forest?
In any case we are good to go early in the day.
Rain that we had intermittently heard through the night must have only been a light sea haar for Vincent’s skin is dry and lightweight as we roll ‘him’ up tight for the last time.
As predicted, the spring I had cleared last night is flowing fast and clean. Filling our water bottles and leaving the camp site just as we found it we rejoin the single file track that is still descending slightly around the upper reaches of the valley to our right.
Pam slips slightly on the slanting uneven surface which has us both nervous. We MUST endure for this final day.
After circling around the valley and the scree headwaters of a couple of little streams we begin to climb once more, passing through more of the grassy scree and single file forest path.
The early morning descent means we still have probably a couple of hundred meters vertical elevation to reach the road at 1550m above sea level however the anticipation of breasting the winners tape at the end of our long journey has our legs fresh and strong.
Neither of us are keeping track of time however to me it seems our climb is over within moments of starting.
Concrete toilet blocks and a fast flowing spring surrounded by trash that head the last little section of our trail before the road make me very happy that we chose to stop last night in our clean little peaceful haven rather than attempting to make this recommended tip/camp site.
‘If you can carry it in full, you can carry it out empty’ kids.
‘Eight kilometers of easy road to go’ we high five each other and begin walking up the gentle slope ahead.
To our right the peaks that seemed so daunting as we struck out yesterday morning are either level with our view or lie below us.
Cresting the last little hill I check the altimeter information which matches the 1550m above sea level indicated in the guide.
‘No more freakin’ uphills’ we high five each other again and continue following the very smooth gravel road as it passes between often empty houses that have been built around the ridge.
Two shepherds dogs greet us growling on the outskirts however an older large third dog with a spiky metal collar intercedes on our behalf and is obviously telling them to ‘leave the harmless tourists alone and go round up the flock.’
I don’t even have to stoop for a stone as all three turn and make their way downhill ahead of us however I keep my eye on the first two who occasionally turn back and growl in our direction.
Past the little group of houses and what I hope is the final threat of being savaged by earless large white dogs Pam settles into her road pace which I always struggle to maintain.
Light rain has us scurrying to cover our packs in the blue waterproof liner. Now is no time for wet and heavy backpacks.
Rocks have been completely swept from the road surface in the wheel tracks which makes our progress swift and sure as we stride downhill.
Views of mountains far higher than the one we descend lie across the valleys ahead as we twist and turn our way down.
We wonder at the same time ‘Where would Cricket be’?
It is just before midday and the rain is hazing from our clothes when we reach the outskirts of Hiscandir and are greeted by some ever curious penned goats.
No one else pays us any attention as we pass through the village and to our amazement there is no marching band, fireworks or welcoming committee lying in wait at the village mosque where the Lycian Way comes to an abrupt end.
Extra vigorous high fives will have to suffice.
After taking photos of each other at the ZERO kilometers mark we strip off our packs and give each other a sweaty hug.
It has been a monster haul, however we have done what we set out to do.
Now we just have to find our way to Antalya from this sleepy little rural village where a dolmus may or may not leave at somewhere around 5pm according to some slightly less than helpful information we obtain from the village mosque which lies on the junction of the town road and the main road to Antalya.
On the opposite side of the road to the direction of traffic heading towards Antalya is a bus shelter where considering options for progress towards the 30km distant town seems like the best option we have available.
Fifteen minutes grant three passing vehicles, two of which were heading in directions opposite to our need.
Just as I unclip Sample and the cushioning, largely shredded sleeping mat that softens Sample’s well wrapped journey and loosen both bag strings to open my main pack in search of a less offensive, less sodden shirt, a slow driving van grinds gravel gathered at the junction and the lovely driver and wife grant us waving ingress as we scuttle across the road doing our utmost not to lose our grimy possessions.
Not too sure about how I would feel letting two stinky, sweat-soaked, Lycian Gringos into the back of my car and we both feel sorry for the wife who goes to roll up her window as we gather speed only to abruptly wrinkle her nose and decide to suffer in buffeted grace.
And They Off.
Barely able to believe our good luck we proceed downhill as I duck and weave white knuckled in the back seat.
When our hosts suddenly clip seat belts synchronistically km’s after setting off I can’t believe Pam’s insistence that we don’t follow suite however she weirdly feels this would be rude.
Now It’s a freakin caravan of faith on a white knuckle roller coaster gathering speed on a long twisty downhill where lanes are for blind crossing and indicators naught than flashing fantasy.
Actually our driver is kind and old and slow however he seems fixated on something always way up towards towering peaks to our left and keeps slightly less than one eye on the road whilst barely keeping one hand on the wheel.
I break out into a chorus of ‘Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel’ in barely passable Karaoke to lighten the mood which of course darken’s Pam’s brow.
‘Don’t be Rude’
Don’t be rude, don’t put a seatbelt on, my wife is suffering from post Lycian Shock.
‘Ok then, I will just sit still and drain my sweaty self into their seat, and “watch out for that bloody wandering Peugeot”‘.
By the end of the thirty K thrill ride I have transferred so much fluid into the back seat I would feel guilty if we didn’t contribute a ‘lil something towards car detailing and Pam presses a grateful note into the palm of our driver despite his opposition as I retrieve our packs.
This is gonna be a real Seinfeld worthy BBO case.
He breaks into a grin when we backpack laden pantomime showering monkeys and accepts at last.
We have made Antalya
No More Mystery Markers
Blue Sky, Sea Shore, Trees, Rocks, Mountains
Ruined Destiny and Forests Flattened
Thus Far Thwarted
Done and Dusted.
Pam and Mick
We’ve seen far more
Than just a few
Wild Goats Cavort
Tagged Dogs Frown