We carry our packs to a dolmus stop. Dolmuses are a combination taxi, bus, and
minivan. They run a standard route but
will stop anywhere along the route if hailed.
Dolmus also appears on most Turkish menus, where it refers to grape leaves
stuffed with rice and delicacies. It’s
the concept of being “stuffed” that the two uses have in common, so it’s not
hard to imagine what the trip was like.
the other hand, dolmuses are efficient, cheap, and a good way to force
ourselves to learn a few basic Turkish phrases like, “Where is the bus to
Göynük? How much does it cost?”
phrases come in handy on the outskirts of Antalya,
where we switch to an intercity bus.
It’s also here that we encounter our first difficulties with Kate Clow’s
guidebook. She has written the book from
west to east, so that it ends near Antalya. So we’re starting near the end of her
guidebook and walking toward the start. This means reading all of her
directions backwards, but since she’s written the book in short segments, this
does not seem too hard. One segment ends
at the coastal town of Göynük,
which looks like a good place to begin our hike.
that Göynük is not on the map that Kate Clow has supplied. And on a close reading of the text, Göynük is
simply listed as a good place to hike out for supplies – perhaps two or three
kilometers off the main trail. So we
actually have no idea exactly where in Göynük we should start. I’m hoping that we can just go to the town
center and start from there, but the driver asks for a specific location. I tell him we’re going to “Göynük Yayla” –
the high Göynük mountain pasture that is on the Lycian Way. He thinks for a moment, says “OK,” and a half
an hour later drops us in the middle of nowhere. He points to a rough track headed west, into
the hills, and says “Göynük Yayla” with emphasis.
this is not exactly downtown Göynük, but we see a few some crude painted signs
that say “to the waterfall” in German, and the driver seems pretty sure of
himself, so we drag our packs out of the dolmus. The bus drives off, leaving us blinking in
the hot sun.
into the packs, we begin marching along a dusty road toward the Germans’
waterfall. Immediately, we begin
sweating seriously. This is dry country,
and there’s a big difference between the temperature in sun and in shade. But the air is not as dry as the
country. I estimate that humidity is in
the 40 to 50% range – low enough so a good breeze brings refreshment, high
enough so any exertion, especially in still air, quickly builds a saturated
microclimate around our bodies. Our
sweat no longer cools, it simply drips everywhere -- into our eyes (mixed for
piquancy with sun tan lotion), down our backs, along our legs, and into our
heavy boots and socks.
course, there’s one problem. We had
planned to buy bottled water, bread, cheese, and a few other supplies in
downtown Göynük. There aren’t any stores
on the dirt road we’re following now. In
fact, so far, there aren’t any buildings.
We march on anyway. Perhaps we’ll
find the center of town this way.
don’t. But we do find Mr. Malik. Mr. Malik runs a inn (or pension) about
twenty minutes’ walk down the road we are following. He speaks only a little English, but we get
by in Turkish, German, and English, each of us trying to speak the other’s
tongue and relying on German as a fallback.
Mr. Malik is not a Turk, he says with emphasis. He’s a Macedonian, from the Balkans. He shows us the framed picture of his father,
hanging on the wall above two wicked looking daggers that could double as
swords and would come in handy if you had an elephant you needed to disembowel,
old man looks like he knew how to handle the daggers, too. He stares fiercely out at the frame, piercing
eyes above a thoroughgoing bandit’s mustache that must have been his pride and
joy. “Why are you wimps sitting in a
café when you’ve got mountains to climb?” he seems to say.
for a start, because his son insists that we can’t get there from here. The trail is out – rockfalls or
something. But Kate Clow’s book was
published less than a year ago, and she doesn’t say anything about
rockfalls. We invoke her authority, and
Mr. Malik wavers. Or perhaps he sees
that we’re going to try no matter what he says.
He sells us water and fills a plastic bag with bread and goat
cheese. As we leave, he waves
warily. I suspect he’s worried about having
to bring our bodies out next week, and who will pay for that?
soon come up on a second pension and café – “Ali’s Garden Café.” It has a map out front for German
hikers. It looks nothing like Kate
Clow’s map, but after long study we conclude that Ali’s “Pfad No. 1” (Path No.
1) will take us to a place that also seems to be on her map and that avoids the
waterfall that Mr. Malik assured us was a dead end. We march up the road, looking for Pfad No. 1
and grumbling about Kate Clow’s mapmaking and route descriptions, which have
left us without a clue how to find her trail from Göynük.
We save some ire for the Turkish
government. Ordinarily, we’d buy good
contour maps of the route, and that would allow us to identify roads, rivers,
mountains, and routes on our own from the map. But
the Turkish government, which has such maps, refuses to release them to the
public. National security, it says. Perhaps they’re afraid the Greeks will come
back -- storming ashore to set up a Lycian National Liberation Front in the
mountains -- and use the maps to launch raids on Göynük.
mapless, we march on, the sun falling heavier and heavier on the dusty white
road. The way is still flat, running
near a dry riverbed, but the ground is rising steeply all around. Soon we’ll have to launch ourselves on the
real hiking. Right on schedule, a rough
arrow painted on a rock points us off the road to Pfad No. 1. We cross the river, then a small open
concrete irrigation channel, and the trail launches itself up the slope.
it’s really hot. The brush provides only
occasional shade. The air is heavy and
still. Our shirts sweat through, then
our shorts. We have only two thoughts –
putting one foot in front of the other and hoping to God we aren’t on the wrong
damn trail. Because the only thing worse
than grinding up this hill would be heading back down to start over somewhere
else. On past vacations, we have hiked
for an hour, taken a break, then hiked another hour. Now we can barely plod twenty minutes without
a rest. Sitting in whatever shade we can
find, we consult Kate Clow’s guide, which naturally describes this stretch of
trail (if it is this stretch of trail) with the breezy fondness of a
woman walking downhill. We don’t
recognize any of the landmarks she ticks off on her jaunty descent. But Gordon points out that many of the trail
markers match the red-over-white blaze depicted in Kate Clow’s book. This is comforting, though inconclusive. For all we know, that’s how all Turkish
trails are marked.
we keep stumbling up the mountain, Gordon begins to look bad – flushed and
slowing, even though we stop often for water breaks. Around noon, after another break, he walks a
hundred meters and stops dead. Heat
drop onto our packs and think. I jog
outside in the Washington
summer, I’m familiar with heat stroke.
In fact, it’s a standard feature of my first run in temperatures over 90
degrees. Plus, there was the infamous
Baker family incident at Yosemite, when my daughter and I walked a friend of
hers from Germany
most of the way up a set of valley switchbacks, stopping only with her friend
dropped unconscious on the trail from heat stroke.
time, we poured water on her and walked her back down. But here our options are more limited. We don’t have enough water for that. Besides, if water could cool us, why hasn’t
all this sweat we were soaking in do the job?
And walking out isn’t much of an option unless we want to call off the
hike. How could we face Mr. Malik, whose
doubts we’d brushed off? How could we
face his bandit father, who probably ran down other men’s goats on this very
trail just for a change of diet?
Gordon can’t go on like this. Since I am
feeling better than him, I decide to carry his pack as well as mine. This is really brutal. But it works.
Soon, Gordon is looking better, sometimes leading the way and doing the
trail finding. After an hour or two, he
gets his pack back. What a relief. I now appreciate the joke about the guy who
hits himself with a hammer “because it feels so good when I stop.”
still at least half lost. We’ve seen one
or two spots that might correspond to Kate Clow’s descriptions, but we’re
missing more than half of them. We
reread the already memorized paragraph.
Have we really spent an agonizing day on one measly paragraph? Or is it worse than that? After describing a long stretch of trail,
Kate says that it “eventually” crosses an irrigation ditch, the only landmark
we’re sure we’ve seen. Perhaps all our
sweat and heatstroke is encompassed in that one word. The thought is too much to bear. Still, the view to the north across the valley
is what we expect. Besides, the trail
has begun to descend. We’re not going
we’ve climbed, the brush has grown up in a sparse evergreen forest. The trail is shaded now, and the landscape
has a classic charm. Stark white rocks
and twisted three trunks break through a carpet of pine needles. The trail is dead quiet. We have not seen a single human being since
leaving the road. Our breaks are
peaceful and calm, though in the still air of the forest every part of our
clothing is saturated with sweat. And
we’re running out of water.
the guidebook’s landmarks that we haven’t seen are the springs and water
sources Kate describes. This is
serious. You can’t sweat for hours the
way we have – drops falling every second from arms and face – without replacing
fluids. We started with well over a
gallon of water, but it’s nearly gone, and we’re deep into fluid debt.
we’re right about our location, we’re descending to a stream that divides two
mountains and then merges with the main river.
Kate describes a charming camping site on the shores of the stream. And even if we’re not there, this trail is
clearly going into a major valley, and it’s hard to believe there isn’t water
at the bottom.
3:30 we stop for lunch. Hammered by the
heat, we’re still not hungry. We just
figure we should eat. Mr. Malik’s goat
cheese has leaked all over the plastic bag, soaking much of the bread.
“Ordinarily, that would be
disgusting,” Gordon says as he digs in, “but right now it’s just a good source
In fact, we cannot eat the dry
parts of the bread. We don’t have enough
saliva to soften it, so chewing and swallowing the harsh crust seems to cut our
as the trail swings around the bottom of a ravine, we spot a pool. Of a sort.
It’s actually more of a mud puddle, actually, topped by a fuzz of green
algae. As we approach, frogs leap to
safety in the three-inch-deep swamp.
“Hey,” Gordon says, “if frogs can
live in it, how bad can the water be?”
“Fish, too,” I say, pointing to a
small one, which is unfortunately floating on its side at the surface.
it’s clear we’ll be drinking this water, using our purification tablets, unless
we can find a better source upstream.
Luckily, exploring a hundred meters upstream we find another pool. No scum, no dead fish. A frog jumps in as I approach, and the water
is so clear I can watch him swim several feet to the bottom and try to hide in
the shadow of a stone. In fact, I can
see him sitting in the shadow watching me take off my shoes and wade in up to
my waist. It is cold but not
freezing. Nothing could be better.
joins me. We treat the water and then
drink it by the liter. When we finish,
the world seems very different. We are
cooled, dried, and no longer desperately thirsty. It is past 5:00. The air is merely warm.
few minutes’ hiking brings us to a larger stream wide enough to require
boulder-jumping to cross. At the edge of
the stream is an area that must have been mud in the spring, so perfectly
smooth is the ground. It will make a
perfect place for the tent. It is surely
the camping place with water that Kate Clow told us to expect. We are on the trail!
swim again while boiling water. The air
is just a bit warmer than balmy. We will
need no sleeping bags. We boil and
drink, boil and drink. There is no end
to the boiling and drinking.
8:15 it is pitch black. I lie out on a
rock in the stream on a kind of natural chaise lounge that spring floods have
smoothed into the top of this great boulder.
The stars are sharp. Life is