Hiking the Carian Hinterland 2 (Carian Trail, Turkey)

“Dogs are not our whole life but they makes our lives whole.” ~Roger Caras

The Carian Hinterland is a 175-km-long hiking trail in Southwestern Turkey and part of the 850-km-long Carian Trail.

In the previous blog post, Carian Hinterland part 1, I described sections of the first half of that trail. Here is part 2, day 6-11. (If you just want the practical information, scroll down to the bottom of this page).

Part 1 starts at the lowest point of the green line and goes up until the first bends westbound – part 2 obviously is the rest of it.

Impressions of the Carian Hinterland, part 2

Like in part 1, the kilometers are approximate as we don’t track our distance but trust the numbers mentioned in the Carian Trail Guidebook. Additionally, we hardly ever stay in the villages but find a place to wild camp some kilometers before or after it.

06 Ketendere – Kayabükü

21,7 kms

At the end of the afternoon we come across two hikers. Their stuff is spread out over the trail. The couple is from Ukraine and only she speaks a little bit of English. The conversation is difficult and very hesitant from their side – or so it feels to us (maybe just because of the language?).

They are cooking dinner on firewood before they will hike their last two hours of the day to where we came from. We say our goodbyes and set up camp not far from here. The water stream is large, deep, transparent and inviting. The temps, however, are freezing and make my feet cramp. No reason to complain though; these daily baths on the Carian Trail are such a luxury.

07 Kayabükü – Karahayit

16 kms

One of the things I love about the Carian Trail are the villages we pass through, even more so when they have tea houses. These settlements deep in the mountains give a totally different view and impression of Turkey from when we drove through the country 15 years ago and simply didn’t get to places like this.

In one of such villages, we have to climb steep, meandering alleys to get to the central square. There are four tea houses, which one shall we pick? A man calls out, “Buyrun, Buyrun (Come, come)”, motioning us so we join him and his friend.

Random teahouse picture

We need to buy some supplies but that’s not always that evident in villages like this. While Coen orders ‘double tea’ I visit the adjacent shop to buy biscuits – they don’t have ‘our’ favorite Metro chocolate bars.

I send Coen shopping. With his eye for detail he always finds more stuff than I do. We are a source of entertainment to the teahouse visitors (the sun is out and we all sit outside) with Coen emerging from the three nearby shops, holding up one product or the other, “What do you think?” And returning to buy it or to put it back.

Tea is largely available in big bags – loose tea and not practical for hiking. One shop, however, has exactly one box with mono packs. Our man at the table explains the content to the other men (clearly it’s a novelty to some of them) while I open the box and undo each mono pack of its ridiculous packaging and put the tea bags in a ziplock (takes less space).

No cheese to be had but, oddly enough, one Vache Qui Rit lies in the fridge. Coen then returns with choco paste (box of 450 grams!), something we never eat but it’s that or nothing else besides the Vache Qui Rit. He buys 4 eggs and the teahouse owner asks his wife to boil them, who serves the eggs with a plate with olives. How kind is that!

We are ready for the next leg!

08 Karahayit – Kapikiri

12,5 kms

Lots of sightseeing today. One of the sites is a monastery. It reminders us of the Meteora Monasteries in Greece. Set amidst a dramatic landscape of enormous boulders and rock formations are the remains of walls and buildings. Fantastic architecture and views.

According to our book there are frescoes to be found ‘on a ceiling in a rock outside the fortification’. I’m pissed at this general description that makes it impossible to find them (I do try). The description includes a photo making me wanting to find the frescoes even more.

Remains of Yediler Monastery.

09 Kapikiri – Bagarcik

17,5 kms

We are hiking in such an awe-inspiring landscape, the Latmos Mountains. Kapikiri has faded away in the distance and the wildness of boulders interspersed with vegetation – olive trees, thorny stuff – is all around us. Rising from the landscape are parts of old walls and towers that once protected the ancient city of Heracleia.

How did they build all this with these huge blocks of rocks without machinery? How many people, how much time to construct all this? Like often at ancient sites, we look at the remains with respect.

Remains of the ancient city of Heracleia and Lake Bafa in the background.

The uphill trail often follows a stone-laid path of huge slabs. More impressive work of the past and a joy to walk.

We get the company of a little black dog. Sometimes we think she has turned around, as we try to send her back, but then suddenly she appears out of nowhere again. She must be covering three times the distance we are, running around constantly.

10 Bagarcik – Yaçiler

23 kms

In Bagarcik a couple of people are building an entrance gate to their home. We chat with hands and feet and ask if there is a kahve (teahouse). No there isn’t but we are instantly invited. We are grateful.

We explain about the dogs (later yesterday we got a second follower, a bigger dog with grey stripes). One of the men calls to the village of Kapikiri to ask about ownership of the dogs but it’s not helpful. The owner of the pension we stayed at, which he claims to know, says not to worry about it. Just take the dogs with us. Our hosts don’t want the dogs either.

We enjoy the tea, in the garden, with biscuits, fruit and the famous regional pine nuts. We ask if we can buy them and one of the men takes us to a neighbor where we buy 200 grams of these delicious pine nuts. Good trail food! (Sorry, I forgot to write down the names of these wonderful people).

Pine cones to harvest the delicious pine nuts.

Trail magic – hospitality on the road.

11 Yaçiler – Karpuzlu

12,5 kms

The last section is fabulous to walk, largely following an ancient road of enormous slabs and ending amidst the ruins of Alinda before we descend into adjacent (connecting) Karpuzlu.

Alinda is part of the Carian Hinterland section

We are dreading the last part. What will happen to the dogs when we arrive in Karpuzlu, a village in the middle of nowhere?

It is not a happy ending despite our efforts. I leave Karpuzlu in tears and heartbroken with the dogs staying in front of the police station, with no more than the hope that other people will take care of the dogs as I have done over the past three days.

(Efforts to find possible owners continue).

Next Section: The Muğla Environs

Practical Information on the Carian Hinterland 2

  • Water: Throughout the trail are enough water sources, whether streams, fountains, springs, cisterns or local homes. When necessary we added water purification tablets. Do note we hiked earlyl March, later in the season water sources may dry up.
  • Food: You’ll daily come across a village with a teahouse and small shop. Exception: stock up in Kapikiri because the shop in Kullar doesn’t exist and neither does its kahve (but villagers surely will help you out if you run out of food).
  • Gas: Make sure you bought it in Milas (see info section part 1) because you won’t find it on this second part of the trail. However, wood enough everywhere for a fire.
  • Time: Calculate time for sightseeing (if you love old stones): The sites around Gölyaka and Kapikiri as well as the ruins of Alinda are all worth visiting.
  • Accommodation/Camping: Wild camping, like everywhere on the Carian Trail, is easy. There are hotels in Kapikiri and if you need other accommodation along the way, ask the villagers. They are very helpful.

Practical Information on the Carian Trail

  • The Carian Trail is an 850-km-long hiking trail along the Southwest Coast of Turkey. Find all info here.
  • We use the Carian Trail Guidebook, by Yurus Özdemir, Altay Özcan, and Dean Livesley. Find it here.
  • We are hiking without laptops. The pictures are snapshots I take on my iPhone and new on this hike is a foldable keyboard. After a day of diary typing, I can say I’m very happy with this purchase.
  • Here’s the hiking gear list with what we’re carrying on our backs for the next two months.

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