Bicycle touring Dedegöl Dağları (mountain eye candy)

I had been to Dedegöl once before, with Özgür in the winter.  We went in from the north side, from Melik Yaylası.  I had heard people talking about the camping and climbing area on the west side of the mountain, Kuzukulağı Yaylası, but I had never been here before.

Uh, wow, it’s amazingly beautiful.  I crossed the Köprü Çayı at Yanık and after an approximately 630m climb, the road topped out, and I came to this view:

IMG_20200603_142934 by bryandkeith on flickr

The road I took got steep after Eldere, and I had to push the bicycle for about half an hour.  I learned later that the easier way is to take the right turn about 4km passed Yanık (on the road to Eldere).  There’s a good road to the left, but you want the smaller road to the right.  You have to cross the creek (no bridge).  The road is poor for the first ~500m and leads straight to the yayla.  It’s the route that most cars use.

Taking that route you’ll miss this section of road:

IMG_20200603_144532 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200604_184354_7 by bryandkeith on flickr

Instead you’ll arrive directly at the yayla:

IMG_20200604_182719_24 by bryandkeith on flickr

It was cold, windy, and rainy when I first arrived, but there’s a covered picnic area where I cooked dinner that night.  The next day looked like this:

IMG_20200604_113404 by bryandkeith on flickr

It was warm enough that morning to bathe and wash my hair using the plentiful water at the camping area.  I enjoyed a rest day by myself.  Ferda, Seb, and Çiğdem showed up by car in the evening.  They brought dinner, and we had a great campfire.  I ended up spending five nights at this camp, and there were only two nights when a campfire was possible.  It was too windy the other nights.  Indeed the only complaint I have about this area is that it was so windy most of the time I was there.  Is that normal?  Or was I just (un)lucky?

Seb was excited to go climbing the next day.  We headed to the large apron just to the left of the orange-colored thick pinnacle on the right side in this photo:

IMG_20200604_184533 by bryandkeith on flickr

Here’s what that apron looks like when you get closer:

IMG_20200605_131837_9 by bryandkeith on flickr

There’s both sport and trad climbing here.  I hadn’t been climbing in months so the routes felt quite hard when we first started.  It would be great to come back and spend more time, but Seb had to rush back to work.  We ended up climbing two short days.

IMG_20200605_133330 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200605_171613 by bryandkeith on flickr

Philip, Dilan, Ersin, and Mustafa showed up the next day and spent two nights camping.  Somehow I don’t have any photos of the group.  We had fun chatting, eating, and drinking.  They all packed up and left Sunday morning, leaving Ferda and me and our bicycles.  Some kids came up from the village (Eldere) to collect snow and taught Ferda how to braid flowers to make the hairpiece that Zeynep’s wearing in this photo.

IMG_20200607_115455 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200607_114841 by bryandkeith on flickr

In the afternoon Ferda and I walked around a little hill to the west of camp and came up to a small pass which offered this view:

IMG_20200607_152017_22 by bryandkeith on flickr

We left on our bikes the next morning.

IMG_20200608_104243 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200608_105813 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200608_111815 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200608_114622 by bryandkeith on flickr

My route had been to head north a few kms and then take the road down to the river at Karacahisar.  However, at that intersection another road continued north, staying high.  Ferda checked out the satellite photo (we had internet access here) and said we could continue, that this road would connect to our intended route farther north.

IMG_20200608_120114 by bryandkeith on flickr

Hahaha!  I’m not sure what she saw.  The road deteriorated, ending in a meadow.  Amazingly just 200m ahead was another road!  I suppose I probably could have got my bicycle through there by myself, but it was definitely easier with two people.  An hour later (less?) we were pedaling again.  This new road wasn’t on the map, but it was quite good so it must go somewhere, right?

IMG_20200608_150615 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200608_150630 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200608_154400 by bryandkeith on flickr

Hahaha!  That road got so bad that at one point we had to walk ahead to find the road and see if we really could keep going.  We pushed on (literally) and came to this yayla:

IMG_20200608_163249 by bryandkeith on flickr

Wow, looks like a place to spend the night.  There was even water (again) and a covered picnic table (again).

IMG_20200608_172853 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200608_190959_1013 by bryandkeith on flickr

We said goodbye to our private yayla in the morning

IMG_20200609_094420 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200608_154903 by bryandkeith on flickr

and had a steep downhill to Yaka Canyon.  Here it is from the top:

IMG_20200608_155927 by bryandkeith on flickr

and here we are taking a short walk in the canyon itself:

IMG_20200609_114948 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200609_115630 by bryandkeith on flickr

Friendly locals treated us to tea and lunch

IMG_20200609_112441 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200609_122949 by bryandkeith on flickr

before we started the ~400m climb up to Melik Yaylası.

IMG_20200609_141614 by bryandkeith on flickr

IMG_20200609_151722 by bryandkeith on flickr

Summer and winter:

IMG_20200609_162937 by bryandkeith on flickr

dedegol%20panaroma by bryandkeith on flickr

The beautiful mountains have come to an end, but we’re still on the road.

IMG_20200610_095625 by bryandkeith on flickr

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3 Responses to Bicycle touring Dedegöl Dağları (mountain eye candy)

  1. Derek and Jennie Werner says:

    Looks beautiful! Derek and Jennie

  2. Mike Painter says:

    Very nice (as always)!

  3. Hi Derek and Jennie, thank you for sharing your adventure. Very inspiring and incredible and beautiful places! I wonder if you have the gps tacks of this route? We are planning to bike in this area in September. Thank you very much!

    Fernando and Anne Maria

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