Running and trekking in Turkey during the 2020 pandemic. Part 2. Start on the Lycian Way

I reworked the route back in Istanbul, sitting in a hostel on warm evenings, after jogging with a cup of tea. The most popular trekking route in Turkey, the Lycian Trail, starts right from Antalya. This is a trail through the territory of the ancient state of Lycia, on which the southwestern part of Turkey is now located. On the trail, in addition to the beautiful nature, there are many ruins of ancient cities and interesting remote villages. A great place for tourism and travel, but running is more difficult here. Although the trail does not have a clear one route and you can choose where it is more convenient to go, but one way or another you will come across mountains and foothills, the absence of modern roads, and in some places the trail is completely lost in thickets and stones. For running, these are significant difficulties, even some sections can hardly be called a trail, but you also need to carry a backpack for autonomous travel.

Start of the trail

I wanted to go out on the trail early, so I got up early, carefully collecting all my things in the corners of the room and moved to the start of the trail. It is located 10 km from the center of Antalya, but you can start right from the city, especially when the more mileage the better. This was my case – borders are closed, cities are being quarantined, and now a curfew is being introduced

I was lucky with the weather, sunny and not too hot. I think it’s not so pleasant here in the summer if you are not a fan of the heat. On the other hand, I could run, which I did. Warm-up before going uphill did not hurt. For those who are in a hurry or just lazy there is a city bus that will take you to the very start of the route.

The first mountains and the idea of ​​the route

The first mountains are already visible from the city, and outside the city, the first landscapes can be captured. At first you need to stomp along the asphalt road, so you can run a little. Not far from the city there is an orange orchard, at which, out of habit, you begin to look sideways like a northern man. During the season, fruits are sold right along the road at very reasonable prices, or they can simply be treated to oranges from the tree.

Villages and villages with many cafes and loggias for tourists stretch along the road. The place is very popular, so during the season many tourists and not only locals come here. In my case, they were all closed, and many looked very broken and required good repair.

I started the route lightly and needed to replenish food and drinking water. There are no problems with this on the trail almost everywhere, because you can always go to the nearest village and buy everything you need in the store, but water is still easier. There are many organized water columns along the route, and these places are already marked on maps, for example, maps.me. Convenient campsites are also indicated there, but you need to understand that in the season they are almost all occupied by those who came earlier.

The climb on the first day is very good. I scored up to 1600m from the sea, one of the highest passes on the trail, if you don’t plan to go deeper into the mountainous part of the trail.

View of Antalya from the village where I was stocking up on food. Here you can already feel the gained height and you can see the city itself. It is not necessary to come here if you have enough food in your backpacks and do not want to buy ice cream on the way. Here the road turns into a more familiar trail for trekking. Running up such a hill is not a test for everyone, it is better to save energy, especially the first day.

Closer to the pass, the trail is often lost. I don’t think I’m so inconsiderate, but the labels are constantly lost or have inconsistencies. And the path itself is divided into many smaller ones. This problem will no longer be there, but at first it made me tense up, since I wanted to keep the pace, but I didn’t really want to look for a path all the time.

Only in the evening did I overcome the pass. I spent a lot of time in the village, waiting out the heat, and I also had lunch from what I could buy in a small store. And yet I managed to grasp several farewell views of the already so distant Antalya. After that, he dropped as much height as he could until it got dark and spent the night very close to the village so that he would not have to look for water for a long time for breakfast.

Overnights at altitude in April were quite cool, but bearable. Ideally, have a good comfortable sleeping bag if your backpack allows it. The temperature difference between night and day is very significant and it is much colder in the mountains than on the coast. For example, a night by the sea is 17 degrees, and in the mountains the temperature will drop to zero. I was lucky and my downy sleeping bag was enough not to get too cold at first.

Второй день выдался более пасмурным. Это хорошо для движения, но фотографии получаются более суровые что-ли. Я люблю, когда путешествие или поход получается как можно более разнообразным, так они получаются насыщеннее и ещё больше запоминаются!

В темпе я сбросил высоту до первого на тропе пересечения реки. Бродом эти места не назвать, да и вообще все реки и ручьи на тропе без проблем пересекаются по камням и ноги мочить не нужно. Очень удобно, особенно для бегунов!

У горных рек здесь периодически встречаются пещеры или шахты. Они отмечены на картах и их достаточно много, если у Вас есть время на то, чтобы часто отклоняться от основной тропы, например делать радиальные выходы. Эти места – это ещё один плюсик к разнообразию тропы. PS бегать там неудобно.

У городков есть странные сувенирные лавки, например с высушенными тыквами в форма знаменитостей. На мой взгляд выгдядит крипово, как будто кто то из Мортал Комбат выдернул у персонажа голову вместе с позвоночником и оставил сушиться на солнце.

Дорога в лесу прекрасна своей прохладой, здесь вполне можно бегать, если у вас хорошие стабилизирующие мышцы и достаточный уровень выносливости. Только нужно быть внимательным, на тропе всегда есть камни, колючки, корни, а иногда и ползают разные животные.

К перевалам нужно привыкнуть, ведь за этим суда и ходят, не только же за красивыми видами. Поэтому за каждым спуском вниз и переправой через ручей жди набор высоты, а потом бодрый спуск вниз. Зато это как минимум не наскучивает, чем долгая длинная дорога по монотонному пейзажу.

Abandoned hotels became an interesting moment on the trail. I have not seen so many of them anywhere. Particularly impressed by one on the third day of the journey. It was a whole complex of 50 houses, a miniature city abandoned by people. Individual houses, huge hotels, a water park, an amphitheater, an amusement park and parkland. At the same time, a fresh building is enough, and complete devastation. Broken windows, looting, vandalism and frightening figures of broken animals watching this place. Very atmospheric.

Part of the complex is located on the other side of the road, on the seashore. This place is not fenced in any way and attracts a very specific contingent of people. For example, people like me, who since childhood climb abandoned, risking their health and the nerves of loved ones. 

All this is worth and occupies a very hot spot, which is the most interesting. It is worth years, not recovering and not being disassembled, to take these expensive places, than something more useful.

I thought of spending the night there, maybe there would even be electricity! The night would have been unforgettable anyway, but I still persuaded myself to stay a little further for the night and fry potatoes over the fire. I bought potatoes, found a beautiful place, but there was a problem with the fire. All the firewood in the neighborhood was cleaned out and it was already dark. The potatoes had to be left as a dead weight, no matter how offensive it was.