The Mediterranean city of Antalya, Turkey – the beginning and the ending of the Lycian Way
I woke up doubting everything. How am I going to carry a 30 pound pack over the course of 2 weeks climbing up and down hills – and a mountain pass of 3000 ft? I can’t do this. It will be impossible.
But I got up, brushed my teeth, and went anyway.
I arrived in Antalya Turkey the night before, after a long flight from NYC. There was no rest for the weary and jet-lagged – as I had to now get myself from Antalya to Kaş, meet Warren and Betsy, get some supplies, and start hiking the next day. Of course when I originally planned this aggressive schedule it all seemed great and doable – yet I don’t know if had really thought through the fact I would be jet-lagged and hiking with 30 pounds on my back. Often I just get excited about arriving somewhere and don’t really think about the toll it will take on my body and mind. And the doubt I felt this morning in Antalya was just the beginning of the toll it would take on my mind.
Antalya – A Beginning and End
To hike the Lycian Way – you need a beginning and an ending. The large and well connected town of Antalya normally gets that distinction. It’s easy to fly into Antalya and then catch a bus or dolmuş to get to any town along the Antalya coast which stretches about 600 km. The official start of the Lycian Way is in Fethiye; this is where Warren and Betsy had started from 2 weeks before, but now they were waiting for me in Kaş. So I had to find a dolmuş to Kaş. A dolmuş (pronounced “dole-moosh”) is a cross between a public bus and private taxi. Like a bus, it travels a regular route (posted on a sign in the front window) with no formal stops or timetables – and the fees are set. You can easily catch a dolmuş at the Antalya bus station. No pre-ticket necessary – just show up and tell someone where you want to go – they’ll get you on the right dolmuş.
Colorful laundry hanging in Antalya
Antalya is also the main ending point of the Lycian Way. It’s not the actual end of the trail – but it’s where you come when you are finished with the trail as it’s a short dolmuş ride from the trail end to the city center. Since Antalya serves as both the beginning and ending for many hikers – it’s also a good place to store extra things that you don’t need on the trail. And trust me – the more you can dump here and leave behind the happier you’ll be. Let me just state this one more time – the more you can dump here and leave behind the happier you’ll be. Yes, it’s that important.
I woke up doubtful, but I had no time to wallow in doubt. I had to keep moving forward so I began to repack my backpack so I could drop off a bag (items I didn’t want to carry on the trail) at my ending hotel. Then I needed to make my way to the Antalya bus station and ride a dolmuş for 4 hours to meet Warren and Betsy.
Turkish coffee – A great cure for jet lag!
Lycian Way Gear Advice
• Pack light
• See Warren and Betsy’s comprehensive list of gear
• Pack light
Get That Backpack Organized!
Actually I don’t really like living out of a backpack, but recently Eagle Creek sent me some Pack-It cubes and stuff bags to try out for my travels – and those products changed the whole way I thought about my backpack. Instead of just shoving all of the stuff in a pack, I could now organize my gear with packing cubes, which basically turned my backpack from a ‘laundry basket pile’ into a dresser. Having the cubes to organize my pack was like being able to open up my sock drawer or t-shirt drawer back when I actually owned furniture! This was essential for a trip like this because I had to often unpack my whole pack to get to my tent and my sleeping bag or other essential camping gear I was carrying with me. Being able to simply take out a few cubes or stuff sacks made the process simple and not make me want to kill myself like usual when I hike with a backpack.
You can see here that my backpack contents were all contained in a few sacks and cubes. This was everything I took with me on the hike (about 20 lbs), plus I had the added weight of food and water which added about 10 lbs.
My Lycian Way backpack contents – all nicely organized!
Some of the specifics you see here that I loved:
Apex One (wo)Man Tent – easy to set up and super light for this type of hiking
Thermarest Sleeping Mat
KEEN sandals– I only took my hiking boots and these sandals. They were perfect for cooling off and having something easy and comfortable to slip into at the end of the day when I was ready to divorce my hiking boots.
Smartwool socks (they never get stinky!)
Sun Hat (very important!)
Mini First Aid Kit
Ipod (strangely I only used this once)
Smart phone with GPS (this was my only camera)
Telecom Square Mifi device – essential for getting an Internet signal and being able to use my smart phone for research and GPS coordinates.
Used OsmAnd as my offline map solution on my phone – it worked pretty well and was free!
Solo No More
Sunset in Kas
I arrived in Kas just in time for catching a beautiful sunset at our pension. I fought off jet-lag with a shower, and met Warren and Betsy – a joyous meeting a couple years in coming! It’s always great to meet your digital friends in the flesh and give them a proper hug. Over beer and dinner they gave me the low down on how their hike had been so far – full of excitement and ups and downs. And they shared with me their best advice about what to expect for the next two weeks and helped me get supplies at the grocery store. My supplies consisted of spreadable cheese, bread, raisins, nuts, tomatoes, sausage, olives, and Snickers bars. More weight in the pack to worry about – but food is a necessity!
As I listened to them excitedly talk about their hiking experience so far, the nagging doubts in the back of my mind returned. I wondered how I would make it and how much I would slow them down since they seemed to be in stride now that they were halfway done with the trail.
Regardless of my fears and doubts – when the alarm went off in Kas then next morning at 5:45AM – I had to get up, brush my teeth and go.