No one will look at these photos and say, “wow, what a beautiful route.” It satisfied two of our important criteria — close to Antalya and high (in a failed attempt to get away from the heat).
In mid-August Özgür, Tuğçe, Ferda, and I loaded our bicycles and gear into Özgür’s caravan and drove up to his mother’s summer house in Narpızlı Yaylası at about 1500m. We started our four-day loop the next morning.
It was Özgür’s first bicycle tour. This might have been his first repair.
That first day had some steep riding on loose dirt through Mor Yer where we were invited for watermelon by a couple retired teachers. Not long after that we asked a family for water and were invited in for coffee. Really we were happy for any excuse to sit in the shade.
We hadn’t ridden far (though we had done two 300m climbs) when we decided to stop for the night at the covered picnic area with the çeşme (water fountain) near the four-way intersection (roads to Mor Yer, Saklıkent, Dereköy, and Kar Çukuru Yaylası).
The next morning I guess it was about another 300m of climbing to get to the pass above Saklıkent (a ski area), a bit above 2000m.
It was shadeless, hot, and not so pretty. However, the riding this day was very fun (a lot of downhill!), and the scenery got better as we got lower. We passed Dereköy and Büyükalan.
Ironically the lowest point on our tour (about 1100m) was also the coolest.
From that cool mid-afternoon break we had to get back above 2000m with a number of flat and downhill sections thrown in. We did almost all that climbing the following day through Yarbaşçandır, Kökez (where we were invited in for aşure), and Korucak Yaylası.
Does this tree look familiar?
We were all pretty tired by the time we got to this comfortable camp — with a çeşme again! — still just a bit below the pass.
After the sunset, we enjoyed the clear moonless sky with the high and dry air — the Milky Way, some constellations (Scorpius, Cassiopeia, Big Dipper), shooting stars, and satellites. Looking west, Tuğçe exclaimed, “hey, what’s that?” 10-20 bright lights in a line, moving along like a train. They faded out and completely disappeared. Özgür knew right away that they were Starlink satellites, but none of us had seen them before. Very exciting sighting!
Even though we had three climbs and two passes above 2000m, the final day of riding was pretty casual, ending with a steep paved descent from Feslikan Yaylası back to Narpızlı Yaylası.
Maybe this section looks familiar?
Up to Kar Çukuru Yaylası, not quite the final climb.
Yay — time for some rest in the shade!