Hiking the Lycian Way, Turkey – Day 7 – Boğazcık to Üçağız, via the ruins of Apollonia and Aperlae

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Hiking the Lycian Way, Turkey – Day 7 – Boğazcık to Üçağız, via the ruins of Apollonia and Aperlae

This morning we met again with Hüseyin, the driver who came to transfer our bags and transport us to the beginning of the trail.
We met Hüseyin yesterday in Kaş, when we finished our long hike in the mountains.

Hüseyin told us yesterday that we were lucky people, because the rain had held off until we were finished with the hike, and were already in town.

This morning Hüseyin was delighted, because again, after a very stormy night, the sun was shining brightly and the sky was without a cloud.

“You are so lucky… maybe you have an agreement with the gods of the weather, that it will always be nice when you are hiking!,” laughed Hüseyin.

It was a short drive to the small village of Boğazcık, where we were to pick up our hiking trail.
We were told that the path today would be very rocky.
In fact, I have never before hiked for days on end, on such rocky terrain with nothing but rocks under our feet.

It wasn’t just rocks under our feet; almost all day long we were clambering over rocks, and getting scratched by thorny brush and sharp branches, which had been munched by the goats.
There were also protruding boulders and rocks, spread all across this remote landscape.

The path was very muddy from the previous evening’s rains, which made our pants and shoes muddy and thus slippery.
All this meant that we had to slow down our pace, and walk really slowly and carefully.

Instead of 4 or 4.5 kilometers per hour, which is our normal walking speed, we went about 2 kilometers an hour.
We had to avoid big pools of water on the red muddy path, and often there was nowhere to place our feet except in the mud.
While crossing a muddy part of the trail, my phone got caught by a brunch and fell into the mud.
I fished it out quickly and wiped it off.
It was fine, but it gave me quite a scare.
Without my phone and the GPS, it will be nearly impossible to navigate the route.

The ruins of Apollonia are spread across the mountain, and down the slopes, all the way down to the fields where we were walking.

The ruins of Aperlae were right on our path, and included many stone tombs, all broken into by grave robbers.

The reason that all of these ancient tombs now have holes in them, that they were robbed and are now completely empty, is because the ancient Lycians used to bury their dead with their jewelry and beloved possessions.
They even placed a coin in the mouth of the departed.

It was believed that angels or sirens come to carry the souls of the departed from their bodies to paradise, and that the coin was placed to pay the angel for the transportation.

For most of the day, we walked on rocky, sharp stones on a narrow path that climbed up and down all day.

I have to admit that we found it challenging to make our way over the sharp rocks all day.
Our muddy shoes were heavy and made our footing slippery.
We felt tired by the time we got to the water where the stone house and jetty were located.

Normally this would be the end of the walking day, with many hikers taking a small ferry boat to the fishing village of Üçağız.
But it is December now, and everything is closed.
The restaurant was closed, the makeshift cafe was closed and the boats were not there.

We had to walk another seven kilometers to the village.
Normally, walking another seven kilometers would be no big deal, but we were clambering over rocks, moving at a very slow pace.

This pace would put us a bit closer to sunset than we ordinarily like to walk.
I did have a headlight in case we couldn’t make it before darkness descended on the valley, but the path really meandered over huge boulders, and it would have been difficult to spot the markings in the dark.

We picked up the speed and walked faster.
We skidded and slipped many times, as we tried to walk faster.

When we reached a vista, we had a viewpoint of the village below.
It was beautiful, like a turquoise blue jewel in the middle of the green vast forest, but it still seemed so far away…

We imagined that when the path meets the water, we would be making faster strides than in the rocky interior.
But it wasn’t so.
This must have been the most rocky coastal route we have ever walked.
We climbed up and down many rocks and walked among thorny brush along the waterside.
At times, we only had room for one foot at the time, and had to squeeze ourselves between boulders.

We saw nobody hiking all day long and the only footprints that we saw, were those of dozens of goats.

Near Üçağız, you can swim to see the sunken cities of Kekova and Simena, submerged in the sea by earthquakes and rising sea levels.

The walk was beautiful and truly breathtaking.
The harbor was deep blue and the rocks on the shores were whitewashed.

The path, although challenging, was also a lot of fun.
I do love hikes that involve a bit of canyoning and going up and over rocks.
I think it was only our fatigue and a bit of rushing to finish before sunset, that made it seem longer and harder.

Fortunately, we made it to the charming village of Üçağız before susnset.
Instead of making our way to the guesthouse, we walked to the marina where all the boats were moored.
At a local mini market we bought some water, snacks and ice cream, and went to see the sunset and enjoy our first food and our first rest of the day.

This hike is NOT for beginners.
I would say that the hikes we did in the last few days, are only suited for intermediate to advanced hikers.

It is challenging and demanding to hike the Lycian Way out of season.
In season, everything is open and you can find places to rest, get tea or water and some food, but in winter you are on your own.

The truth is, that the only thing I miss by hiking out of season, is being able to swim in the sea.
For hiking, the weather is just perfect now.
It is cool, but not cold, warm but not hot.

I also miss the fun atmosphere of beach towns during the summer.
The boats, the outdoors seating in all the cafes and restaurants, the swimming, it all has a happy feeling to it.

Our guesthouse is charming.
We got a big family room which is bright and airy.
It was built by the owner, Süleyman, who was born in this village.
His wife is from the next village nearby, and they have two lovely daughters.

We left our muddy shoes outside, got out of our muddy clothes, took hot showers and ate dinner with the family.

Normally guests dine on the top floor of the guesthouse.
But it is cold now at night, so Süleyman invited us to eat at his home.
His lovely wife cooked a great meal for us, while his girls ate sitting on the sofa.

On their kitchen table, they had placed a delicious array of dishes.
There was a fish that Süleyman caught that morning, a big salad, rice, chips, a carrot dish and a dish of roasted mildly spiced green peppers in olive oil.
We ate the delicious food and chatted about life.

This village is very rural.
They do have a school for the girls and a school bus which takes them to school every morning.
Car access to the area over the Rocky Mountains is not that easy, but that does not stop nearly 5000 people who come to this village every day during the summer.

It is almost hard to imagine that 5000 people can even fit in this small village.
Süleyman told us that most of them do not stay the night.
They come from Kas, from Antalya, and from the sea.

After dinner we had tea and went back to our room.
Tomorrow is another day of hiking over rocks.
My hat is off to those who walk this whole path with big backpacks full of hiking gear….. how do they do it?…. I do not know.
Without the little comforts of a clean bed, a delicious hot meal and a hot shower, this trail would not be so much fun for me.

Well…. good night, world.
May all the children of Life sleep well tonight….
Love and blessings.
Tali

Today’s Stats:
Walking time 7 hours
Active walking time 7 hours
Steps 31,942
Kilometers walked 23.5

Overnight in the remote fishing village of Üçağız, at
Telemenin Evi Guesthouse Üçağız

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