Day 12: Bezirgan to Gökçeören

Betsy planning our route

This was the coolest start to the morning we’ve had so far. Betsy’s patch job on the air mattress yesterday worked, so we had a pretty quiet night except for one animal sniffing around our tent in the dark. Wild boar? Chupacabra? We were too tired to care (though it was probably more along the lines of a squirrel or stray dog).

The hike down from our spot was rough due to the loose rock and steep descent, and Betsy fell on her other knee. At least we’re getting good at spreading out our injuries over several body parts! Taking it slow and extending our poles to balance our weight with backpacks made it much easier.

The descent went into a trash dump area which is thankfully brief, and then we arrived at the flat land of the village of Saribelen. The trail went cold at a big field, which seems to be a common occurrence. We asked a shepherd for directions after crossing the creek and he pointed up. We knew from today’s elevation map that we’d be going right back up and then some after our descent.

We were hoping for some coffee and breakfast, but we didn’t see a pansiyon or restaurant in our path through the village. (Later in the day we met a British owner of a local pansiyon in Saribelen out walking his dogs – I believe his place is Moonstone House, and judging from their reviews it’s a shame we missed the breakfast!)

The distinctive yellow signpost for the Lycian Way was near the cemetery as noted in the guidebook, but we couldn’t find the trail. After much climbing around and hunting, we discovered the trees bordering the graveyard next to the trail had recently been cut back and all the thorny limbs were covering our path. We had to trudge over and through branches and thorns for about 20 meters to get through.

Up to this point, the day had been all challenge and no reward.

But it soon started paying back huge dividends as we walked down paths of giant windswept rocks, flat grazing land dotted with sheep and goats, and finally glimpsed the sea again. All day we heard the call of shepherd’s keeping their flocks, which was a peaceful soundtrack to the day.

Besty's jumping on Lycian Way

Looking out over the rocks

The last couple of hours go through flat land scattered with rocks and plenty of goats and sheep, and it seems like it goes on forever. Today was a tough walk, but after the first couple of hours we grew to appreciate it. When we got to the windswept rocks it reminded us of parts of the Southwest US, especially with the vivid blue sky. And of course that made us think fondly of our families.

Rewarded with a view

As we began descending into Gökçeören we met a man named Hüseyin, who was waiting for us on the trail. He owns a pansiyon near the mosque with a good view of the trail, and he rode his motorbike out to meet us after spotting Betsy’s red backpack. We enjoyed a quick tour of his place and a great meal. As we were finishing up, a French couple arrived for the night. They were wearing shorts, and we did a quick look to see if they fared better than us at the cemetery. No such luck…we were all pretty scratched up!

We bought some bread and cheese from Hüseyin and set off to find the night’s camping spot, which was in a pine forest area 40 minutes or so out of town on the left side of the road and up the hill a bit. It was a pretty fantastic spot, though Betsy’s love of the tree stump as a reading place meant she had tree sap to remove from her pants before bedtime!

Camping on pine straw

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Camping in the pine forest about 40 minutes’ walk past Gökçeören

Hours Walked

7:10

Perks

Giant, windswept rocks, views of 3 ranges of mountains, and a soundtrack of shepherds managing their flocks in the valley. A great meal at Hüseyin’s Pansiyon to revive us in the afternoon. Also, a cushy camping spot on a soft bed of pine needles and Betsy’s air mattress finally stayed up all night.

Problems

All minor: Steep descent from our camp spot into Saribelen with another fall for Betsy on her knee. It goes into a trash area, which is thankfully brief. Also, much trouble today with thorns and bushes in our path. Betsy also sat on a tree stump at camp and got sap all over the butt of her pants.