Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Saturday 10 September 2011 - A walk from the Yedigoller Plateau to Lake Karagol (2800 metres) via Kalesi Pass (3500 metres)

Approx 13km, 600m ascent, 6.75 hours including stops.

Whirling choughs joined the sun today in rousing us from another good night's sleep, though apparently there were a few gusts of wind that disturbed some of the group.

After a good omelette, etc for breakfast, we made our butties and, before setting off at 9am, tipped Mahmut and Bekir, who have served us well. Tessa may have added to Mahmut's tip - she was the only one of us to be served coffee in bed!

A winding path over easy ground led to a sizable lake (pictured) which is apparently the second largest on the Yedigoller Plateau. There were views across to the two peaks we have summited, shown in the above picture, and Carey took another opportunity for a swim - he's just in the picture. It took him some time to warm up afterwards; perhaps he should have taken his clothes off. Some wag suggested he take 'hyperthermia pills', another retorted that "his engine is too hot for that". Carey can fly along at a pace that puts the rest of us to shame when he wants to.

A zigzagy ascent past a large herd of sheep, many of which were rams, led to a col and a minor summit (Düzkir Peak - 3517 metres) just above the Kalesi Pass. Here we stopped for some time despite a cool nagging breeze. This cool wind had appeared overnight and has meant that today's rest stops have been cooler and shorter, though not unpleasant.

It was too early for lunch so we continued for another hour, first descending steeply down a ridge on a loose path. Whilst not difficult, the path challenged a few comfort zones, so Turan's very measured pace at the head of the snake was sensibly slow.

This was our last 'wilderness' lunch, just below 3000 metres in a wonderful rocky landscape. Up to eleven Griffon vultures were soaring in the distance, and Turan thinks a lone golden eagle also cruised past.

A final 100 metre ascend took us to picturesque Yildiz (Star) Lake, where Sue captured a mountain reflection on her memory card. There was evidence of moles here - giant moles judging by the size of the piles of earth. This would normally be a good spot for a long break, but today's cool breeze soon had us shouldering our sacks for the short descent to camp at 2800 metres, beside Lake Karagol, at the end of a Jeep track.

Tea was efficiently served by Adam, and all our favourite biscuits appeared alongside the tasty Turkish Delight. The smiling face of Bekir, who we thought we had paid off this morning, reappeared to refill our glasses. He had taken the horses back to Sokulupinar with our bags and had come round with them to this camp in the Jeep with Ramazan.

A Long-legged Buzzard soared around the cirque that houses our stony campsite. It's stony because it's a new site, and has not yet seen the irrigation and grass sowing of our previous sites. As the popularity of trekking in the Taurus Mountains increases, such sites are under constant development. Having said that, we have seen only one other party of trekkers in eight days, plus just a few independent travellers.

Adam's soup was delicious, as always, and he and Ramazan served up a delicious main course of deep fried trout and rice. This was slightly disrupted by the appearance of some ibex near camp. Dessert was very sweet but equally delicious tulumba. Sadly Karen missed all this as she has a 'tummy problem' and has taken to her bed.

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