Day 13: Gökçeoren to Çukerbag (including the ruins of Phellos)

Likya Yolu - Gokceoren to Phellos

Another night of small animal visitors sniffing around, but this time we’re pretty sure it was just stray dogs. If we’re awake when it happens we play a game of imagining the weirdest kind of animal it could be. Betsy is convinced a chupacabra is following us! :)

We only have one aspirin + caffeine tablet left, and in honor of fairness we chose to go without. We also realized the bread and cheese we bought from Hüseyin yesterday was probably not enough. It’s a bad idea to start the day under-fueled and decaffeinated, but we have no choice unless we want to add another hour and a half to our walk by going back to Gökçeoren to resupply. It’s little things like that that remind us how easy our lives normally are with access to food and water whenever we want.

Betsy was feeling a little under the weather and nauseous, like a sinus infection was coming on. All these things combined to a poor start on our part for the walk, which turned out to be incredibly beautiful…and challenging. Was it harder because we were not at 100%, or was it just hard anyway?

It was a cool morning, and we wore our fleece jackets and Betsy even wore gloves. It was a peaceful and easy walk for the first 8 km in the quiet pine forest, and we had a few options for refilling our water bottles, which is always welcome. (Our motto and advice to you: Top up with water at every opportunity.)

A walk through the woods

The trail was not well marked when it came to junctions and splits, but we’re getting much better at sussing out the trail, Warren especially. We just stayed with the stream to our left until we reached the crossing point at Haciolan stream. It was a challenge to find our route after this, as we passed a big field to find our climb up. (Big open spaces always seem difficult to stay on track on this trail.)

The guidebook noted today’s route “long but easy” and we’re not sure why. We did a lot of climbing today, but it was mostly shaded and that made it easier.

The scenery was incredible and like nothing we’ve seen so far on the Lycian Way: pine forests, rolling hills, huge swaths of red berry-covered trees, and mountains in the distance. We were so high we could see it all, and it was incredibly beautiful. Of all the days we have walked, this has been the most surprising.

Views enroute to Phellos

After a long day of walking we finally spotted the yellow Lycian Way signpost ahead. We thought it must be the ruins of Phellos, and then shortly after that our stopping point in Çukerbag. Our pace quickened, and when we got to the sign we were disheartened to see another 4 km to the ruins. We were seriously in need of some fuel!

We finally made our way to the ruins and saw an incredible bas relief on one wall of a giant bull, something we’ve not seen in any of the ruins so far. There are tombstones and sarcophagi littering the area, with one lodged sideways right into the middle of the trail. There is also a sweeping view of the entire lush area from the edge of Phellos.

Ruins of Phellos

The site appears to have not even been touched by an archaeologist, so we felt extremely up close and personal with history.

From there we had a long walk down through hairpins and then along a fence to the white mosque below. We were exhausted and happy to find Cafe Dede right off the trail, where the elderly gentleman there fed us and gave us a relaxing camping spot for the night. It was true luxury to have tables and chairs at our campsite…no more tree sap on Betsy’s butt! We had filtered afternoon sunlight through the trees, birds singing, and access to a bathroom and sink and great food and water.

Relaxing at Cafe Dede

We barely made it to sunset before falling asleep, though we quickly woke when the call to prayer came out. The mosque is right across the street, so it is loud!

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

Camped in the serene backyard of Cafe Dede in Çukerbag, just off the Lycian Way trail.

Hours Walked

6:15

Perks

Scenery like nothing we’ve encountered yet: forests, mountains, rolling hills covered with trees of red berries, and stunning fall foliage. The magnificent ruins of Phellos are a treat (with one tombstone half-buried right in the middle of the trail!), and the long shady start to the day along a stream kept us energized for the uphill climb that starts soon after passing the Haciolan stream. It was a relief to find Cafe Dede at the end as we were tired and didn’t have much energy left to find a camp spot. Their backyard has lights strung on the trees, flat ground for camping, and even a hammock and tables. A relaxing end to a tough day of walking (plus great food and no charge for camping!)

Problems

We didn’t eat enough protein today and did not have any caffeine, so our energy was sluggish. It was a dumb move on our part, especially in a day of challenging climbs and long day of walking that is so incredibly beautiful.