13th November, 2019
- Day 4: wildcamp between Gey and Bel to Patara Green Park
- Distance: 17.3km
- Ascent / Descent: 520m / 960m
- Weather: 27 degrees C – hot!
- Accommodation: camped at Patara Green Park, ₺30pp
- Total cost for one (Turkish Lira ₺): soda and water in Bel 5.50, breakfast 25, accommodation 30, dinner at Patara Green Park 86 = ₺146.5 (~£18 / €22 / US$25)
The wind picked up just after 9pm last night and lasted for a couple of hours. It was then completely still until 5am. Usually I’d like to be hiking ‘early’ but as sunrise isn’t until 7:39am and it would be impossible to hike these trails in the dark, it’s a forced sleep-in. My back hurts from lying down for so long and I’m eager for the sunrise.
We hit the rocky trail at 8:30am and it’s very slow-going.
We meet a local shepherd, he’s calling out to his goat which is half-way up a hill among a few dozen other goats. I guess just like a dog, the goat knows his owner’s call and he comes running down the hillside. The shepherd tells us there is food and water at Fatma Pansiyon in Bel and we unconsciously speed up at the prospect.
We arrive in Bel at 10am and stop at the first cafe at the entrance to the village, not sure if this is Fatma Pansiyon or not. Drinks are available and a peppercorn snack but not much else and we realise Fatma is actually on the way out of the village.
On the way we pass the market and out of curiosity, check what’s on sale. The contents of the shelves are identical to the other markets we’ve seen – predominantly sweet biscuits and chocolate bars. This is basically what we’re already carrying and might be what our diet is to become!
We find Fatma Pansiyon and are reunited with the shepherd. His wife and teenage daughter are also at home, along with the goat, two sheep, one dog and kittens. We’re met with offers of ‘breakfast’ and accept. It’s big (as usual) and we have to fight off the bees surrounding the table in order to eat, but it’s perfect and the hospitality is second to none. My particular favourite is the hot dish of potato, scrambled eggs and tomato.
Full and barely able to move, we thank Fatma Pansiyon and resume walking. It’s not long until we arrive in Belceğiz, but there’s nothing here other than some goats and a cafe sign.
The trail from here to Gavurağılı is gnarly with slippery rocks, scree and boulders to clamber over as we descend all the way to sea level. Slowly does it.
10 minutes after the above photo was taken, we pass 6 blue sun-loungers lined up seemingly in the middle of nowhere (outside Gavurağılı). And would you believe it, we have intermittent phone service. We take our packs off, lie down and reconnect with the world. Before we know it, 45 minutes has lapsed so we steal ourselves away and continue. We’re supposed to be descending but for some macabre reason we have to climb another hill before the descent resumes. The beach looks close, but takes an age to reach.
We reach sea level and the trail weaves us through the middle of Pydnai ruins, a fort at the east end of Patara beach. We have the place to ourselves and I feel like Indiana Jones as we navigate through the overgrown site. We quickly realise we’re in marshland when we’re attacked by mosquitoes. Oh no, I didn’t bring repellant!
Leaving the ruins we cross a rickety footbridge. We’re now walking in sand and the light is fading so we have to decide where to stay. There’s a long stretch of beach here which is a contender but there’s quite a few cars around. They’re even driving on the beach. We don’t mind stealth-camping, but out of sight is a priority. We pass the one and only restaurant in the area and decide to get dinner. It’s easier to make decisions after eating 🙂
Over dinner we get wifi and check the forecast. It doesn’t look good at all. There’s a storm coming. The owner suggests we camp on their wooden platforms in the garden and we agree it sounds like the sensible option. It’s easier for me with my tent to pitch on any surface, and with some ingenuity Sarah’s also able to pitch hers.
We’re using Komoot* for navigation and to record our own tracks. Prior to departing the UK we uploaded the GPX tracks to Komoot so we can now use them for navigation (with voice commands). We’re also using Komoot to record our own daily tracks which gives us the above maps, elevation profiles, distance, speed etc. You can find our collection of tracks on the Komoot App by searching ToughGirl for Sarah and followingthearrows for me. Or click the link in the caption on the above map to go straight to the track.
*Komoot premium was gifted and we also received sponsorship for this hike.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I’ll add a FAQ post at the end of the trip.