Why am I hiking the Lycian Way?
Great question! I came back from walking the Camino del Norte around the middle of October and was restless, as is usually the case after an adventure. In trying to maintain my newly acquired fitness, I was sitting on my exercise bike next to the bookshelf when a copy of Kate Clow’s Lycian Way guidebook jumped out at me. This book had been sitting on the shelf gathering dust since 2015, long after it had made my hiking bucket list. Opening it and scanning straight to the ‘when to walk’ page, I was delighted to read the following,
‘In general, July and August are too hot for walking, unless you are very well acclimatised or are just walking higher sections… Late December and January usually have rainstorms and April has showers. But February – June and September – November are suitable for walking both on short sections or the whole route.’ The Lycian Way by Kate Clow
I suddenly remembered seeing an Instagram post that morning from @girlwhohikes and lo and behold, she was hiking the Lycian Way. Call me crazy, but that’s two signs telling me to hike the trail 😉 Still pedalling away, I started googling everything I could about the Lycian Way, slowly getting excited and nervous about the possibility of actually doing it. Could or should I do it by myself though?
After asking the usual suspects and being laughed at (or simply ignored – thanks dad!), I dropped the question into a WhatsApp conversation I was having with Sarah Williams of Tough Girl Challenges. It went like this…
Me: ‘I’m actually thinking of hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey in November but can’t convince anyone to come with me and I’m not sure about going solo… Interested?’
Sarah: ‘Hell yes!!!’
Me (in my head): Oh shit!
If you’ve not heard of Sarah, she not only runs the amazing award winning Tough Girl Podcast and has interviewed hundreds of inspiring adventurous women, she’s one herself, having run the Marathon des Sables, hiked the Appalachian Trail in 100 days, cycled over 4,000 km along the Pacific Coast Highway from Canada to Mexico and most recently hiked the Camino Portuguese. She’s hardcore!
And thus, the planning began for Sarah and I to hike the Lycian Way, departing London on the 9th November. To hear more about how this came about (how we’ve never met, the planning etc), listen to this Tough Girl Extra podcast where we also talk about cycling the length of Japan, hiking the Camino del Norte and writing guide books.
Having a little over two weeks to plan our trip, Sarah and I decide to take our camping gear and supplement this with the odd night here and there in accommodation. This means we can stay flexible according to the weather. I have the GPX tracks from the Culture Routes Society and have added them to Komoot (I used Komoot for the first time when I was cycling the length of Japan and I couldn’t have navigated without it!) We’ll be using these tracks to navigate and record our own tracks (you can see them here).
Fast-forward two weeks and we’re on our way!
9th November, 2019
- Accommodation: Infinity Exclusive City Hotel in Fethiye, ₺159pp (including breakfast)
- Total cost for one (Turkish Lira ₺): airport transfer 110, accommodation including breakfast 159, dinner 12 = ₺281 (~£36 / €43 / US$48)
All packed and nervous (on top of the usual pre-adventure anxiety – will I make it? / will I be stung by bees? / will my knees, back and ankle survive?) Sarah and I have never met before!
Just as I’m walking out the door I receive the following message from a friend,
A new word for you…
Origin: Swedish. Definition: The restless race of the traveller’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together.
That’s what I’ve got!
At Gatwick airport I make a mad dash to buy chocolate (having emptied most of my food-bag out at home a few hours before after thinking my pack was too heavy!), then I meet Sarah for the first time. She’s bubbly and friendly and it feels like we’ve known each other for years. I check in a small cabin bag with our hiking poles and keep my backpack with me on the flight. (I’ve arranged with the hotel in Fethiye to hold onto the cabin bag for the duration of our hike.)
We’re flying direct from London Gatwick to Dalaman airport and as we get in quite late, we’ve arranged a private transfer from the airport to our hotel in Fethiye. It’s a rainy November day in London and we’re both looking forward to warmer days ahead in Turkey.
The flight seems long (4 hours), which is relative when you live in Europe! The airport transfer is seemless and after an hour or so, we arrive at the hotel. After repacking and leaving a few items behind in the carry-on bag to pick up on our return, we head out into the bustling streets of Fethiye at 11:30pm on a Saturday night. It’s cold enough to be wearing puffy jackets and the locals look like they’re dressed for a ski resort, but it’s not as cold as it was in London.
Unsurprisingly, we walk and walk but can’t find any restaurants open! Eventually a local points us in the direction of a small takeaway shop with a couple of tables and we order what the others are eating – lahmacun, a type of Turkish pizza. We don’t know what the topping is, and it’s probably best this way, but it hits the spot. So much so, we order a third to share. Three pizzas for ₺24 (approx. £3), wow that’s cheap!
It’s almost 1am when we get back to the hotel and I struggle to get to sleep… Resfeber …
If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I’ll add a FAQ post at the end of the trip.