Saturday, 22 September 2012

Turkey - Kackar Mountains 2

The starting point for a beautiful but frustratingly short walk we did towards the central massif of the Kackars from a village called (Upper) Kavrun.  This was after we'd finished our four days trekking with guide Mehmet Demirci. 

At this point our base was the village of Camlihemsin, way down towards sea level.  To get to Kavrun, we took a minibus which took 1 hour and 15 minutes.  First 20 minutes to main tourist village of Ayder on a good tarmac road and the final 55 mins on steep switch-backing unmade track.  Bumpy but beautiful.

There were a handful of other tourists (Turkish) in the bus but they didn't strike out towards the mountains.  We didn't encounter any other walkers during the 3 hours we had to get as far as we could and back before the minibus headed back to Camlihemsin.

This was our turn-around point.  Actually we did see one other tourist.  A fat middle aged bloke in shorts with a fishing rod and in breach of the Kackar National Park rules.  A bit more enforcement of these rules wouldn't go amiss I reckon.  During the preceeding days I lost count of the number of spent hotgun cartridges I saw.

I think the run of weather we had on this day and the preceeding five was unusual for September in these parts.  Apparently September is the second wettest month usually in this part of Turkey and the northern side of the Kackars is notoriously cloudy and wet.  Mehmet did say they had an abnormally dry summer in 2012 so perhaps this was just an extension.

I would love to trek in this region again and this time focus on this central massif region, crossing from the north side to the south, and back again.  We missed out on the truly spectacular trails I now realise. 

Anyway we had to be back at the village within 3 hours although we had to wait an extra 1 hour while the dolmus driver faffed about with other errands in Kavrun.  While we waited, youths set off fireworks and a simple-looking man in a multi-coloured Biggins-Doing-Jackanory jumper repeatedly fired a pistol into the air next to the minibus. 

We returned to Camlihemsin with just locals, including this elegant woman who had a big white sack of something to take down the mountain.

Some of the Hemsin women look amazing with their trinket-adorned, coloured turbans.  The woman with the sack was particularly classy with this crimson and black number, plus 2 tone mauve paisley top.

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