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Turkey's Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail
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Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Turkey's Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail on 06/21/2011 08:45:12 MDT Print View

Hiking in Turkey: Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail


In the spring of 2011 we (Amy and Jim) spent 17 days through walking the Lycian Way in Turkey. Immediately after completing that route, we spent 12 days walking on the Saint Paul Trail (SPT). Then, we flew to another region and hiked for 7 days in the Kackar Mountains. This report covers the Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail walks. A second trip report provides information about our experiences in the Kackar.

We enjoyed the trip very much, and heartily recommend Turkey as a hiking destination. The scenery is well above average; archaeological sites are abundant; logistics are easy; costs are reasonable; and above all, the Turkish people are gracious, generous, and outgoing.


Photos:


Link to full annotated Lycian Way photo show.
Link to full annotated Saint Paul Trail photo show.

Here are a few images to whet the appetite:

Turkey725

Turkey920

Turkey042

Turkey078

Turkey107

Turkey137

Turkey269


Location:


The Lycian Way is located in southwest Turkey and connects Olundeniz (near Fethiye) to Hisarcandir (20 K west of Antalya). The route is usually within 15 kilometers of the sea, sometimes right on the coastline, and other times climbing into the coastal mountain range.

The SPT starts east of Antalya and runs north to Yalvac. Along the way, it passes through the western reaches of the Taurus (Toros) Mountains and alongside Lake Egirdir, the fourth largest lake in Turkey.

TurkeyBigMap

Origins:


The Lycian Way and SPT were designed and developed by Kate Clow, a British ex-pat living in Turkey. She has written guidebooks for these routes as well as a guidebook for the Kackar Mountains in northeast Turkey. The Lycian Way was completed in 1999; the SPT in 2004. It is clear that a lot of work went into laying out the route and it is unlikely a hiker could have anywhere near as good an experience walking a random route of one’s own. The routes follow existing paths, but she and others did an enormous amount of work to scout the best route, clear brush, install, and subsequently maintain waymarks.

Link to Kate Clow’s website for more information.

Overall Impressions:


The Lycian Way was an enjoyable walk with a lot of diversity. Being a Mediterranean climate, the weather pattern and plant life was very reminiscent of central California where we live. The walk offers rugged coastal scenery, ancient ruins, beaches, small hill villages, and coastal tourist towns, some fine forests, canyon and mountains.

The SPT is an interesting route traveling through rural and semi-wild country. There is no true wilderness as humans have used the area for thousands of years. However, on long stretches of the SPT, we encountered few people. The route passes by ancient ruins, small villages and a couple of mid-sized towns (a few thousand people). Almost all of the SPT is quality walking with lots of visual interest and a wide variety of habitats and geological features. A good bit of the first day, the 15 miles from Aksu to the regulator (a small dam), is not particularly nice walking: much of it is on paved roads through flat agricultural areas infested with aggressive dogs. Persevere however, because the rest of the route is quite fine.

The Lycian coast is a major tourist destination for Europeans and many of the coastside towns are geared to provide services for these visitors, and the Lycian Way passes through several tourist towns. During our walk, these towns were mostly empty and we were told that the tourist influx starts in early to mid May. Even without many tourists, the towns definitely have a very different character than the areas a mile or more from the coast. We actually found it fun to have the diversity of tourist towns in the mix, but hikers looking for “authentic” rural Turkey might not care for it.

Unlike the Lycian Way, the SPT does not pass through any tourist towns except Egirdir, and we saw very few non-Turks.

At a strategic level, both routes are well laid out with logical choices about routing. At a more micro level, the routing sometimes takes convoluted paths to avoid walking on roads (often dirt roads that have little to no traffic). We were occasionally frustrated at walking over very rough terrain or contending with confusing way-marking, following a route that was within a couple hundred meters of a straight-forward alternative. This frustration is a personal preference; while we often take hikes on very rough or tough routes, we don’t seek out tough terrain or confusing convoluted paths when there is a nearby more reasonable alternative.

During our trip, the area was lush and green and the wildflowers were superb. The temperatures were mild. It is hotter, drier, and browner in the summer, so going in April has many advantages.

The Routes:


Both the Lycian Way and SPT offer variants so the hiker can accommodate the season or special interests.

Lycian Way: We followed the route as described in the guidebook. We walked the beach between Finike and Mavikent instead of taking a bus as the guidebook recommends. (We found the beach walk to be quite pleasurable and added to the diversity of the trip.) At Cirali, we followed the coastal option instead of climbing over the north shoulder of Mt. Olympos, figuring we would have plenty of interior mountain walking time on the subsequent St. Paul Trail.

SPT: The trail has two southern legs, one starting at Aksu and the other near Aspendos. The legs are routed northward roughly parallel to each other and join near the ruins at Adada. From Adada, the route continues on to Yalvac. There are several variants described in the guidebook and the updates published on the website include additional route changes. We walked the western and northern branches: Aksu to Adada to Yalvac. It is not practical to walk all three legs in one trip (assuming no use of buses), since they radiate out from Adada: one leg goes north, one goes SSW and one goes SSE. Instead, we suspect that most people who through walk the route choose any two of the three legs.

Technical Difficulty:


We found the walking to be straightforward, with only occasional moderately strenuous sections. Both routes include a substantial amount of altitude gain and loss. The area is mostly limestone, so the trails are generally quite rocky and often covered with loose stones. Some of the walking is on unpaved roads, and a small amount alongside pavement. Generally, traffic was light to non-existent on the roads, except near major tourist centers.

On the Lycian Way, prior to reaching Kalkan, there is a tedious section of off-trail climbing over and around sharp edged limestone boulders that requires much care. There is one section on the SPT where the route follows a rocky stream canyon with numerous obstacles; this stretch will be harder or easier depending on water levels. If the water level is high, it is not passable, but can be avoided by following a described alternate.

In our opinion, any reasonably fit walker should be able to complete the walks. You should have some experience in cross-country navigation and route finding and be prepared to be completely self-sufficient for a couple of days or so.

Duration and Distance:


We completed the Lycian Way in 17 days (16 full days plus 2 half days), and the SPT in 12 days. We generally walk at a leisurely pace from sunrise until late afternoon or early evening, with no layover days. We spent time birding as we walked along.


TurkeyLycianProfile
Lycian Way Profile. 449 km and 14006 meters of gain.



TurkeyStPaulProfile
Saint Paul Trail Profile. 304 km and 8604 meters gain.

The accuracy of the distance, elevation gain, and profile data is determined by the resolution of the mapping program we used (BikeRouteToaster).

Other People:


We have traveled in rural areas in about 20 countries, either hiking or bird-watching, and have never been to a place where we felt more welcome and at ease with the local people. In the tourist areas, the interaction with locals is like every other tourist destination in the world: there are people who want to sell you something. But otherwise, people we encountered seemed genuinely outgoing and friendly. Shop keepers, villagers, shepherds with their goats, women working the fields, kids in the school yards, and tomato wranglers working at the greenhouses, nearly everybody was welcoming, often indicating with hand gestures and words an invitation to stop for tea or a meal or a place to sleep. Big smiles, outstretched hands, and a warm reception were the norm.

On the Lycian Way we met quite a few groups of Western and Central Europeans (and one group of Turks and one American) backpacking portions of the route, most of them spending about a week on the trail. We only met one other through-hiker. We encountered many recreational day-hikers near the major tourist towns.

On the SPT, we met only two other hiking parties, and neither group was through-hiking the entire route. We encountered no recreational day-hikers.

On both routes, there were lots of Turks out in the hills tending animals or crops, although it was not unusual to hike for several hours or most a day without seeing anybody, particularly on the SPT.

Birds:


We birdwatch as we walk. We identified a total of 196 species of birds while in Turkey. Walking the Lycian Way, we identified 104 species; on the SPT, 139 species. There is overlap on the lists for these two trails. We were surprised by the paucity of gulls along the coast and generally very low numbers of raptors throughout the trip. However, passerines were quite abundant and we had a good time meeting old friends from previous European walks. We added 28 species to our life list during the trip.

Routefinding:


Maps and gpx files:
There are no decent commercial topographic maps of Turkey available: apparently the Turkish military won’t allow them to be published. The internet has made their efforts moot in that you can now access terrain maps with 10 meter contour lines from OpenStreetMap.org by using the CycleMap view of the map.

The maps that come with the guidebooks are conceptually useful, but not detailed enough for navigation and often do not match what is on the ground; for instance, towns might be misplaced by several kilometers. Neither of the maps have scales.

Kate Clow provides gpx files of the routes. Be warned that the published GPX track appears to mix at least two different datums, so some waypoints are a couple hundred meters off. Even with the mixed datum problem, the gpx files were extremely useful.

We used an iPhone4 with maps and Clow’s gpx files preloaded into two applications: Gaia GPS (OpenStreetMap topos) and Galileo Offline Maps (satellite images) [Dec2011 edit: Galileo no longer works for satellite images, use GPS Kit instead]. Using the iPhone as a mapping/GPS device was extremely successful. By preloading all the information we did not need WIFI or cell phone service. Instructions on how to use iPhone as GPS/Mapping device.

Most of the Lycian Way has been added to OpenStreetMap; the Saint Paul Trail had not as of April 2011. This means that the Lycian way actually shows up as a trail on the map, so if you have a gps device loaded with OSM maps, navigation on the Lycian Way is very straight-forward.

By using her gpx files and an iPhone with OpenCycleMaps preloaded into Gaia GPS we had very few navigational problems.

You can download our gpx or kml (great view in google Earth) files of the routes we took. Note that these show our route, which did not always exactly follow the described route, and do not include other variants described in the guidebooks.

Lycian Way gpx file
Lycian Way kmz file
Saint Paul Trail gpx file
Saint Paul Trail kmz file

Guidebooks:

The guidebooks are critical for overall trip planning. However the text in the guidebooks is not thorough or clear, and not adequate for route finding.

The guidebook does have lots of helpful cultural information and also provides useful context for the archeological sites you will encounter, as there is rarely information at the site itself.

In the end, we agreed to give Kate Clow an A+ for conceiving of the idea of long distance paths in Turkey, and for designing two interesting, scenic routes; but not high marks for the quality of the guidebook instructions. Ideally, one of the major presses (Cicerone?) will take on the project and have a professional editor work on the details of the text.

It’s likely that somebody attempting either route using just the book and accompanying map would have some tough spots. The book and map would be adequate until you lost the trail, at which time it could be tough or time consuming to relocate it. In particular, there was one location on the Saint Paul Trail that we would have never sorted out without the OpenCycleMap and gpx data; there were no waymarks, and there was a rather substantial wade across a river which was not mentioned in the text.

Way-marks:

Both routes are way-marked with red and white paint using French Grande Randonnée iconography. Way-marking a route like this requires a large amount of work; we believe Kate Clow used a lot of volunteers to help her do this. The quality of the way-marking varies from excellent to confusing to occasionally absent. In some places, the way-marks, while present, are very weathered and faded. In other places, the way-marks are painted on the top surface of rocks embedded at soil level and are frequently covered with grass and cannot be seen until you are standing on them. The on-the-ground routing can be confusing as the trail takes seemingly quite arbitrary jogs and diversions and does not always follow the natural lie of the terrain. We found using binoculars to visually scout ahead for the next set of way-marks to be very helpful. Use the way-marks when you can, be thankful that they are there, but realize you must take personal responsibility for not going astray.

Logistics:


Transportation:

Internal flights. Turkey has several low cost airlines that offer internal city to city flights. The two flights that we took were very inexpensive (booked in advance), on time, on new aircraft, and were professionally run. Antalya has a major airport with many flights per day to Istanbul and direct flights to other European cities.

Buses. Bus transport was easy and reliable. Long distance buses are modern, run on schedule, comfortable, and include complimentary snack and beverage services. Small buses make frequent runs between nearby towns. Bus agents were very helpful in making sure we took the right bus. Hitching was easy on the one occasion we needed to do so (although it took an hour before the first car came down the road we were on).

Ferry across Lake Egirdir: The SPT is routed to cross Lake Egirdir via fishing boat. We found only one person willing to do this, Mustafa. He was not home when we arrived at his house, so we had to wait five or six hours for him to return. We negotiated a fee for passage, which ended up significantly higher than what was described in the guidebook: we paid 90 TL (about $60.00 @ $0.66 per TL exchange rate) for the boat crossing, including lunch for the two of us. You may be able to do better at bargaining. Your only other option is to leave the route and either walk or hitchhike around the north side of the lake and rejoin the SPT where you can.

Food and Water:

Developed public springs are found in all inhabited places and along many roads and paths. Ground water was also frequently available from streams, wells and cisterns. It may be much dryer later in the year.

Food is available in many, but not all, of the towns and villages along the route; the guidebooks and updates on the Lycian Way website provide some listings. Many of the shops are small and have a very limited selection of items for sale. We did not carry a stove and our staples were bread, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, crackers, yogurt, and chocolate. Occasionally we added olives, canned stuffed grape leaves or tuna, and, if we were fortunate, fresh fruit and vegetables. Flexibility is paramount: if you are fussy or have strict dietary requirements, you will probably be unhappy. Bigger towns have restaurants; selections may be limited and menus often don’t exist. The restaurant meals were always at least palatable and were often quite good and we appreciated both the variety and the opportunity to mix with other people.

We ate anything, and we drank untreated spring and tap water throughout the trip with no problem.

Camping and Lodging:

On the Lycian Way we stayed in pensions at Kalkan and Kas. We spent a night in Antalya between the two legs of our trip. And we spent a night in a pension in Egirdir. The remaining nights we camped. Culturally, camping seems to be quite acceptable and we felt welcome to set up anywhere. When we set up camp in view of a village, people came out to say hello and offer us tea, meals, or accommodation. We didn’t plan sites ahead of time and simply searched for a nice site in the late afternoon or early evening. The terrain is quite rocky and hilly and finding a tent sized flat and level site sometimes took a bit of searching.

Costs:
In the tourist areas, we were often overcharged. Restaurant bills would not add up; total price of groceries at small shops would be suspiciously high. Grocery stores and most restaurants didn’t list prices, and we learned to ask the price of dishes before we ate, so that we weren’t subjected to random bills at the end of the meal. This seemed less to be an issue outside of the areas that commonly serve tourists. To give a sense of the travel costs, here is a summary of what we spent. For two people, we spent a total of $3500 for our entire trip (including all flights and the week in the Kackars not covered in this report):
$ 1915 airfare (international + 2 domestic flights)
$ 65 for books (3 guidebooks plus iPhone dictionary application)
$ 225 for six nights in pensions
$ 160 for bus fares
$ 1135 for food and misc.

English, or lack thereof


Outside of Istanbul, most people we met spoke very little or no English. I completed five lessons of Pimsleur’s Turkish Language program, which was very helpful. In hindsight, I wish I had invested the time to complete all 30 lessons. It’s possible to do the basics (shopping, bus tickets, pension rooms) with no language overlap, but we found it extremely frustrating to have a cup of tea with somebody and have no ability to say anything in Turkish other than “please”, “hello”, “thank you”, and “very beautiful” and to understand nothing other than “Welcome!”, “Obama, very good” (which we heard frequently) and “tea”.

We were surprised that even most university students we met did not speak any English. Occasionally, men in their 50s or 60s spoke French or German (having worked abroad) and I had more luck with French than with English. There’s a chance that when you stop at a tea-shop, at least one of the men in the crowd may speak French or German.

Here are a few critical phrases you should know. Use Google Translate to learn the Turkish phrase and pronunciation. (In this case “welcome” means “welcome to this place” and is accompanied by a big smile and handshake). You can just copy the block of text below to Google Translate, works like a charm!
Hello.
Welcome!
Please.
Thanks.
Very beautiful.
Tea.
Eat.
Bread.

“Güle güle” is the common way people will say goodbye.

People will try to ask where you are from by guessing at your country. The first guess is usually Alman (German), so if you hear that word you can state your nationality to clear up that confusion. Alternately, just say your nationality when you shake hands.

Language Resources:

Pimsleur’s Turkish Language course (free from library).

Collins English-Turkish Phrasebook & Dictionary with Audio iPhone Application ($13, I tried several free or cheap apps and they were not worth the effort).

Hand Gestures are different in Turkey and worth learning. Here are two useful links:
List of Turkish Gestures
Short Video Tutorial Turkish Gestures

Edited by drongobird on 02/06/2014 13:48:28 MST.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Lycian Way on 06/21/2011 13:14:15 MDT Print View

Your photos and time you spend proving information are greatly appreciated. The entire trip looks fantastic. Keep walking unique and beautiful trail and sharing them with us! After walking the Camino de Santiago last summer I am more interested in walking more European routes like this than any long trails in the US. Whats next?

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Turkey's Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail on 06/21/2011 13:27:34 MDT Print View

Thank you for the delightful and thorough trip report Amy & Jim. I have spent a fair bit of time in Turkey and have grown quite fond of the people and land. It is a very special and historically significant place with several wondrous places where friendly people abound. It does change quite a bit as you head east from there, but equally interesting & rewarding, just a bit more tense geo-politically.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Turkey's Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail on 06/21/2011 23:03:11 MDT Print View

Wow, that is a Trip Report!

Impressive in scale, detail, and story telling.

Thanks for putting all this work into sharing your adventure.

-Tony

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
using an iPhone4 on Turkey's Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail on 07/08/2011 06:42:19 MDT Print View

We used the iPhone on the trip to Turkey to carry our maps, as I noted in the original trip report. Many people have been surprised that it worked, so I thought I'd add more info about that.

Here is more information about how to use an iPhone4 while backpacking. I did a LOT of testing of battery conservation, and this article documents most of what I learned.

In Turkey, we were able to recharge in shops, and we were never more than 4 days between shops. We used all of the battery conservation measures I describe in that article. We used the iPhone 15-30 times per day for 30 seconds to perhaps 3 minutes per use. Our battery drain was between 7% and 20% per day. Based on our usage, we could have gone for 5 to 10 days between charges. We used the following apps:

1. Gaia GPS for maps. (There are no good paper maps of Turkey, as per government policy, but I could carry maps from OpenStreetMap.org via Gaia, and OpenStreetMap shows the Lycian Way!)
2.Turkish-English dictionary with audio
3. Birds of Northern Europe
4. GoodReader and ReadItLater (for reference material about places we were visiting)
5. Emerald Chronometer (for sun, moon, planet info)

We used Safari when we were in a cafe with WIFI and electricity in order to save more wiki pages (using ReadItLater) for the sites we were approaching.

Edited by drongobird on 07/08/2011 06:43:52 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Ah Lykia on 07/28/2011 19:39:14 MDT Print View

"Refugio" Lykian Style

lykia
I encountered these guys late at night at gunpoint in the bush.

If you are traveling alone, I highly recommend taking every chance you get to stay in village homes. Or with expats in the "british seaside colonies". There is not much of a tramping culture...yet. This is more of a cultural stroll with some sketchy bits of terrain (very limited and sometimes avoidable) and bushwhacking thrown in. Not a wilderness experience but what a trip!

Download Kate Clow's waypoints and do take a GPS - it'll save you a lot of useless bushwhacking! Kate says in her guide that "getting lost is part of the fun" -- maybe for her! Learn a few Turkish words. Your efforts will gain you immediate acceptance even if you don't get to far with your conversation. You will find German very useful among the older men in this region.

This trip requires no advance planning. If you have a month on your hands, just throw a few things in your pack and bag a cheap ticket on kayak.com. Note: This region should pose NO PROBLEM for the single female traveler!

Edited by backpackerchick on 07/28/2011 20:12:42 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
iPhone (ATT and unlocked) 3GS + Turkcell SIM on the Lycian Way on 07/28/2011 20:49:10 MDT Print View

In December 2009, I used a SIM unlocked (blackrain) ATT iPhone 3GS with a TurkCell SIM card -- both data and voice plan. I found the service and coverage much better (and cheaper!) than ATT in Southern California. I tweeted photos constantly just because I could -- like OMG I'm hiking and tweeting.

When I stayed with families in the simple "huts" in the hills, they had only mobile phones, no electricity. (They generally had some strange DIY contraption to charge the phone with. I didn't see solar panels on it.) I took a "normal" GPS but I don't see any reason why you couldn't successfully navigate and track with the iPhone especially since a GPS is hardly critical for the Lycian Way. That being said, I would highly recommend some kind of GPS functionality to avoid frustration. Depending on what else you are using your phone for, I doubt you could go a full day without powering up.

I have since upgraded to an iPhone 4, but I'm preserving this hacked 3GS for travel until somebody comes up with a fix for the new baseband!

You CAN currently "unlock" the iPhone 4 with Gevey Turbo SIM (google it) -- it is not a software unlock but a physical block and there are several issues but it works as advertised.

Edited by backpackerchick on 07/28/2011 21:03:52 MDT.

Scott Truong
(elf773)

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Turkey's Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail" on 07/30/2011 19:34:33 MDT Print View

Great trip report Amy. That adds another one to the 'one day' list. Much appreciated, thanks.

Christine Thuermer
(chgeth) - F

Locale: Germany
Dog problems? on 08/01/2011 16:47:58 MDT Print View

Amy,

this is a fantastic trip report and I love the informative style of your writing. Seriously, this is the best trip report I have read in a long time.
I have been considering both trails for a very long time and already owe Kate Clow's book. The Lycian Way is very popular for German hikers and I have read various reports on German forums (but none was as good as yours...). BUT: Almost all German reports mention a dog problem. Apparently the sheep dogs are not used to hikers yet and there have been several serious dog attacks on hikers resulting in injury. Actually, some hikers strongly advised against this trail because of the dog problem.

What has been your experience and what is your recommendation in this respect?

Christine

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Dog problems? Lycian Way and Saint Paul Trail on 08/01/2011 17:44:14 MDT Print View

We had no dog problems on the Lycian Way.

The first half day of the western leg of the Saint Paul Trail was on the outskirts of Antalya, not very pleasant and plenty of dogs. If I did it again, I would skip that and start the hike just north of the regulator, an alternate starting point described in Kate's book.

On the Saint Paul Trail, about 1 km north of the town of Kemerdamları (just after landing on the eastern shore of Lake Eğirdir), there is a house/ranch/encampment with 3 or 4 free-roaming dogs. The location and its dogs are described in Kate's updated route notes. One of those dogs was very aggressive and would not back off even when we threw rocks and growled and screamed, although he never came closer than ~10 meters. There is no way around this group of dogs, and we just pressed through it as fast as we could. It might be possible to find somebody in Kemerdamları with a vehicle to drive you past these dogs, which might be a good idea.

I like hiking sticks for keeping dogs away, Jim prefers to have his hands free to throw rocks. If it was legal to carry on airplanes, I would carry mace or bear spray on all of our hikes and bicycle trips in order to deal with dogs.

The only time one of us has ever been bitten while hiking (bicycling is a real dog magnet) was in England, by a pet (not shepherd's) dog, out with its owner for a walk in the woods. She assured us that "he's never been aggressive before", etc. We didn't find the dogs in Turkey any more problematic than France or the UK.

Amy

Edited by drongobird on 08/01/2011 19:26:31 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Dogs on Lycian Way on 08/01/2011 18:09:39 MDT Print View

Yes, there are dogs everywhere. But not the packs of wild dogs that people describe encountering when tramping in Greece and elsewhere. I am quite afraid of dogs in general.

Kate recommends throwing stones at them. Once or twice I did pick up a big stone and made like I was going to throw it -- scared the dog off. I never actually had to throw it and I don't like the idea.

There are many stray dogs, often with wonderful personalities, in the villages. Most of the strays are vaccinated and neutered and tagged as such (thanks to programs implemented by British expats and perhaps others). Inevitably, I would leave a village with a dog in tow. I enjoyed the company and felt a sense of protection as any dogs then encountered were more interested in my canine companion than me.

I think you will get used to having them around. If it helps, the dogs in this area tend to be small. I think Kate mentions in her book a house with a couple of BIG dogs -- yes, they were there and they were BIG and I had the recommended stone at the ready just in case. They did make a lot of noise but that was it. For goodness sakes, don't interfere with any herding operations and don't deliberately antagonize dogs. Not that you need to hear that! You shouldn't have any problem with dogs!

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/01/2011 18:29:42 MDT.

Bradley Ruhland
(bradley.ruhland) - F
Question on 08/10/2011 19:06:19 MDT Print View

I am planning on hiking on the Lycian way in April of 2012. This information has all been very helpful. I have a limited amount of time to spend on the trail, around 5-6 days, and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations on which section of the trail would be the best to experience. Thanks so much for any input!

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
responding to Bradley on 08/10/2011 19:33:39 MDT Print View

Bradley, saw your question about the Lycian Way. Could you clarify the distance you plan to cover. 5-6 days, meaning 100-120 miles? Or 50-60 miles?

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Ölüdeniz to Kalkan on 08/10/2011 21:25:58 MDT Print View

Bradley:
5-6 days? Perhaps Ölüdeniz (the start, near Fethiye) to Kalkan. That would be a pretty solid 6 days of gorgeous walking. You could certainly go further if you are feeling like it. Dolmuş (vans) run along the coastal road probably 10 times a day between Fethyie and Antalya -- the coastal trip from Fethiye <--> Antalya takes about 8 hours by Dolmuş which stop in every little village almost and at the bus stations in the larger coastal towns where you can get a bus to wherever you ultimately need to be. The big buses are comfortable and even have free open wifi. So you can walk as far as you get! You can wing it. Hitchhiking is "normal" as well. IMO, you don't want to fast pack this one! It is a cultural experience. Plenty of provisions/places to stay. You can camp pretty much anywhere (even burn wood) if you prefer. Camping is most certainly not the norm for Lycian Way walkers but it is not a problem. The terrain tends to be ill-suited to pitching a tent. If you go during the dry season (avoid mid summer as the heat is stifling), you could just sleep under the stars. Note: this part of the Lycian Way is relatively well marked with both signs and the GR-style red and white paint markings. The walking is varied but mostly easy. There is some steep tufa to traverse and some mild exposure in a couple places. As Amy mentioned, prior to reaching Kalkan there is a short reasonably exposed section that takes a bit of negotiating -- the way marks are there if you look long enough. It's an exhilarating hour or so on steep cliffs above the ocean. Care is required here but technical skill is not needed. There is an alternative route above the cliffs. This is marked on the Clow map. Despite it's shortcomings, this is the best map you will find.

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/10/2011 23:30:44 MDT.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
responding to inquiry about Lycian Way on 08/11/2011 09:24:07 MDT Print View

Everything Hartley said makes sense and is good advice. Except one thing. The map that comes with the guidebook is the best available printed map, but it is most definitely not the best available map. The Lycian Way track has been added to the OpenStreetMap project, so when you view OpenStreetMaps both the terrain and the track are far better resolution and also more accurate than the printed maps that come with the guide book.
Take a look at the OSM map of the at the area around Kalkan.

You could walk the Lycian Way with nothing better than the crummy map that comes with the guidebook, but you're not limited to that if you want something better. You could print OSM maps yourself. Or, you could use an iPhone or Android to view them electronically. There are plenty of iPhone and Android apps available to view OpenStreetMap maps. If I was going there tomorrow I'd use GPS Kit on the iPhone. [edit May 2013: GPS Kit has not improved in the past two years, whereas Gaia GPS has major improvements. As of now, Gaia GPS is by far the best solution for hiking in Turkey - for both OSM maps and Satellite imagery.]
Link to Instructions for using iPhone as Backpacking GPS/Mapping device.

Good luck.

Edited by drongobird on 06/02/2013 11:06:43 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Maps on 08/11/2011 10:06:06 MDT Print View

Yes, Amy is correct. I was thinking in terms of a readily available paper trail map. When I asked locals for directions, they inevitably asked for "the map". Making/printing/laminating your own maps is certainly feasible!

(Amy, I am about to have a good look at your (and others) HRP navigation ideas. I hope to leave in a couple weeks and haven't even started! Do you know if the 1:500000 maps are readily available from a US retailer? Also, are the 500 Joosten waypoints available as a downloadable file anywhere. I wrote to Joosten but have not received a reply.)

Mark Taylor
(kalamar) - F

Locale: London
Thanks, interesting and informative on 01/11/2012 06:41:48 MST Print View

Amy

I found this report very timely. I am planning a short trek from Olu Deniz to Kalkan in late April and your report answered so many questions I have been puzzling over regarding maps, dedicated GPS vs. smartphone, Apps. I have done a number of day walks in this area, but this will be a first multi-day. The pictures were very good too.

Thanks again,

Mark

T N
(tordnado) - MLife

Locale: Europe
Great info and pictures! on 01/13/2012 06:25:52 MST Print View

I have been looking all over the web for good photos and info on the trail but it was not until I found BPL that I had any luck!

I see you are using gaiters on some of the photos, I never use them unless its snow, is it something you reccomend or did you just bring for the snowy part of the kackar trail?

Did you have any mosquitos?

I´m not to fond of the grocerystores in Turkey, did you ever try/managed to buy home -grown/made olives or cheese from farmers or in the villages?

Did you purify the water or was it ok?

I´m planning on using a hammock, where there a lot of places where one could not put up a hammock?

Still debating between Lycian and Saint Paul...

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Answering questions about Turkey on 01/13/2012 08:08:46 MST Print View

"I see you are using gaiters ..."
I always wear gaiters to keep grit out of my shoes. Jim does not. Just personal preference.

We had no mosquitoes when we were there, but don't know about other seasons.

"I´m not too fond of the grocerystores in Turkey, did you ever try/managed to buy home -grown/made olives or cheese from farmers or in the villages?"
We are not picky when we travel and just eat anything available. I believe that we were offered home cooked meals every day by the extraordinarily gracious local people. We only accepted the offer once, but if you opted to do so you would likely be able to eat very well.

"Did you purify the water or was it ok?"
We did not purify water from taps or springs. We occasionally got water from streams which we treated with aqua Mira. No problems.

"I´m planning on using a hammock"
We had many campsites with no trees. River beds and pastures for example. But we didn't pay any attention to available hammock sites.

Good luck and enjoy your trip.

Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
Re: on 01/13/2012 18:17:50 MST Print View

I found the answer to my question in the thread.

Edited by DianaV on 01/13/2012 18:19:45 MST.