Testing the Lycian Way

August 16, 2012 14 Comments »

HIking the Lycian Way

Doing a ‘test hike’ on the Lycian Way

It was the last week of the Camino de Santiago and I had left Sarria and walked 25 km for the day to the next big town. Since I had spent a rest day in Sarria all of my familiar friends had walked ahead of me and I was once again left to make new ones. That’s how I ended up planning my next big travel adventure.

I sat at dinner with a new walking friend I had met from New Zealand. He was fascinating and was a good walker as he had started at the beginning of the Camino Frances and had made it this far in great time. We talked about other hikes and walks we had done and that’s when I first heard the words Lycian Way.

The Lycian Way is an anciet hiking trail from Fethiye and Antalya covering about 500 km of the rugged coastline.  He had completed the 500 km hiking trail in southwestern Turkey a few years back with his teenage son. That’s all he had to say – and I was hooked. That night I started Googling the Lycian Way to learn more about this little known trail and found the book titled The Lycian Way by Kate Clow (considered the bible of the Lycian Way) which mapped out the entire trail and provided all of the information you needed to know about hiking the long, challenging distance. I knew then that the Lycian Way would be on my travel itinerary for 2013.

And that’s exactly how my crazy travel ideas begin…just like that – a random mention of something over dinner with a stranger, a miniscule bit of research, and a fire in my belly. Done.

And as luck would have it I was able to plan a little test run of the Lycian way as part of my Intrepid Travel Turkey trip. The Best of Turkey itinerary had us hiking a small portion of the Lycian Way for a day. I was overjoyed at strapping back on my trail shoes and backpack to do the little 6k hike from the little village of Kayakoy to Oludeniz.

Kayakoy Turkey Ghost Town

The rubble of Kayakoy

Kayakoy's abandoned upper church

Kayakoy’s abandoned upper church

Kayakoy's rubble

Kayakoy is slowly turning to rubble

Kayakoy is a ‘ghost village’, its ancient stone houses left uninhabited after their Greek inhabitants left Turkey during the great population exchange of the 1920s. We started the hike by walking up the hillside ‘ghost’ village exploring the ruins of the town. Then the real work began. We continued upwards climbing a steep, rocky path that was way more technical than anything I did in my 5 weeks of the Camino de Santiago. Sweat was rolling down every part of my body as no one in their right minds would hike this trail in July!

But soon we were up and over the hill, through some scrubby forest and we had popped out on the ledge of the coast hills looking over the turquoise Mediterranean. The trail had a number of hair pinned turns and technical spots which kept you focused on your feet instead of the view at most times. But this was a wonderful taste of what the entire Lycian Way trail would be like – challenging hiking and beautiful coastal views.

Hiking up through Kayakoy on the Lycian Way

Hiking up through Kayakoy on the Lycian Way

Trail markers lead the way

Trail markers keep you on the Lycian Way path

Walking through a bended tree on the lycian way

A tree looks like rubber along the Lycian Way

For the whole ‘test’ hike I took photos and mental notes considering what this would be like when I came back n 2013 to complete the whole trail. It would certainly be more challenging than the Camino, but I welcome the challenge. At the same time I imagine it to be a bit more culturally immersive too. And the good news is that I already have two comrades that are planning on walking the full 500 km with me next year – Warren and Betsy Talbot from the website Married with Luggage. These are two of my favorite people on the globe and I can’t wait to tackle this challenge with them.

For now – I have tucked all of these notes and pictures away in order to be prepared for next year’s challenge. There will be much more to come on the Lycian Way…

See all photos of my test hike of the Lycian Way

Disclosure:  I was a guest of Intrepid Travel for this experience, however the opinions expressed are all mine.

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