Day 11: Kalkan to Bezirgan

Kalkan to Bezirgan sign

Packing up was easy, and we enjoyed watching Yusef’s wife check her daughter’s homework and get her off to the school bus in the morning while we ate. Even when you don’t speak the language, you can spot a good mom.

The climb out of Kalkan was tough, but beautiful. The view of the coastline of the Mediterranean just never gets old, especially from high up.

View from above Kalkan

We passed by a few possible campgrounds about 30 minutes into the climb which would have been great had we not found the campground last night, but it’s hard to know what’s ahead because camp spots are not always called out in the guide. Better to stick with what you find first at the end of the day than to keep going and risk not finding anything suitable before dark.

Hiking together above Kalkan

We went up about 750 meters today, which is a pretty good haul. At the top we discovered the quiet farming community of Bezirgan, which has a row of old wooden grain storage houses at the entrance to town.

Grain storage_

We stopped under a large tree across from a ramshackle farmhouse to have a snack. The farmer’s wife came out with her sheep and crossed the road to find out more about us. She was ancient-looking but still spry, wearing work clothes that had been mended countless times with dozens of types of material…much like her farmhouse.

She took the cookies we offered but didn’t eat them, instead setting them down on the table and running after a stray lamb as we finished our snack. We walked through the village, remarking that it looked a lot like the fruit-producing towns in the US.

We stopped at the store next to the mosque to buy fruit  juice and watched the old people outside sit in the shade of the tree chatting. A bit down the road we stopped at a well to sit and drink our juice. In just a few minutes, a middle-aged woman in a scarf walked down the outside steps to her house and brought us a bunch of grapes from her overflowing arbor. Such hospitality to strangers!

Since we made such good time to Bezirgan we decided to keep going. As we passed the last of the houses in the village we spotted a giant pile of apples that had just been harvested. Warren asked the two older ladies on the porch if we could buy some, and the oldest one gave him a sack and let him go through the fence and pick a few. He tried to pay her but she wouldn’t take any money, instead adding a pear to the mix. This was such a sweet town of farmers.

We began questioning our judgement pretty quickly after this. The climb was steep and on loose rock, which meant extra care. We’re so glad to have brought poles on this walk, especially for the up and down. After about an hour, we were rewarded with a slight downhill section and a pristine camping spot just off the trail and overlooking the rest of the descent.

Camp was quickly made, and we enjoyed a sunny afternoon eating our newly harvested apples and a dinner of tuna fish, peanuts, bread, honey, cheese, and cookies.

Camping outside of Bezirgan

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Camping about 30 minutes’ walk past Bezirgan

Hours Walked

4:00

Perks

Fresh apples and grapes straight from the farm, gorgeous views, and a picturesque little village of friendly people before finding a secluded camping spot with great views.

Problems

Betsy tripped over a rock while walking downhill into Bezirgan and couldn’t get up after falling. Going downhill + a full pack + gravity was just too much competition for her muscles. It’s nice to have a partner to help with these awkward situations!