We all know that nature is forever changing and because of this the Lycian Way must also adapt. Feedback from our own staff, other hikers and locals allows us to constantly remain updated on the state of the trail, and make improvements where needed.
Recently, we had been made aware that due to two fires, the dynamic nature of local rivers and some urban development, the trail between Elmayani and Çitdibi had been disturbed and required maintenance to allow future hikers to navigate its path.Onat, our resident field coordinator, and our two new Australian Volunteers, Callum and Julia, set out for a three day expedition of way-marking and path clearing to get it back up to the standard expected of the Lycian Way.
To give you some insight into what field work here at Culture Routes Society looks like and what amazing experiences you can expect whilst walking the Lycian Way, here are some highlights from the expedition written by our volunteer, Julia.
Reaching 1500m above sea level, Elmayani to Çitdibi is the highest section of the Lycian Way and thus awards you with some spectacular views. Of course, whilst this does come with the price of steep inclines and descents along rocky paths, the feeling of accomplishment once you reach a peak and the breathtaking scenery along the way makes it all worthwhile.
The majority of our trek consisted of way-marking, painting signs onto rocks and trees which mark out the route for future hikers. It’s a job which both adds a considerable time to the hike and leaves your clothes covered in a mix of odd red and white splotches. We all were very satisfied when we discovered better alternate routes and knew that us marking a clearer path would mean future hikers would not make the same wrong turns we had!
On our first night we were visited by some unexpected guests, a mother and her children herding their sheep straight through our campsite! After a couple of inquisitive knocks to our tent, the sheep wandered off into the forest. Our encounters with animals didn’t stop there, the following night we were joined by a very friendly stray cat and dog. On our final day, whilst we waited for the bus back to Antalya, we were met with our last animal encounter. Two local women herding their less than enthusiastic goats down the road. These were all unique experiences for us Aussies and gave us a glimpse into rural Turkish life.
We were constantly blown away with the kindness of everyone we met along the way. On the regular we were offered tea, fresh food and shelter if needed. There was always someone willing to help, whether it be for a lift to a starting point or packing us lunch. I could not stress enough how helpful and giving every local we came across was. It was incredible.
Being surrounded by nature and the elements is always a refreshing change from the atmosphere of a city. Only on a hike would you happily be outside whilst getting splattered with some raindrops and listen to the deafening sound of thunder, which was what we experienced on our first day. Other highlights included watching as fog cleared to show the amazing mountains surrounding us and drinking cool fresh water from streams.
Overall, it was a hard and tiring but extremely rewarding experience. We are very much looking forward to (after some much needed rest and a shower!) heading out on our next expedition.