Likya Way bicycle touring: Korsan Koyu to Kaş? No, Demre!

Alternatively titled: The ancient sites of Belos, Myra, Andriake, Sura

After a pretty hilly ride to get from Antalya to Korsan Koyu, I was amazed to have such a flat road all the way from Korsan Koyu to Finike. It was a coastal road with some nice views.

IMG_20210425_154237 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Likya Way bicycle touring: Antalya to Korsan Koyu

The Likya Way is a ~500km walking trail connecting Fethiye and Antalya passing near ruined Likyan cities and modern Turkish beach resorts. Much of the trail isn’t accessible to bicycles, but in many places there are roads nearby so it’s possible to visit many of the same sites by bicycle. When I put this bicycle route together, I wasn’t specifically trying to follow the Likyan Way, but a few days into the trip I realized that’s what I was doing.

I met my first Likyan walker up in Hisarçandır on the same day I left Antalya. That was Elaine from Salk Lake City. She had just walked solo all the way from Fethiye (more or less). A couple days later I met a trekking couple descending from Beycik to the coast just like I was doing. They were hoping to walk all the way to Fethiye.

My plan for the first week was to head south to Korsan Koyu where I’d meet Ferda and other friends for the weekend. They were coming by car. Of course, going by bicycle sounded more fun to me. Also, not surprisingly, it ended up being very hilly.

I camped by the (very low volume) Çandır below Üçoluk on the first night of the trip. I climbed 1500m to get here.

IMG_20210420_065821 by bryandkeith on flickr

The climb continued in the morning to get to Söğütcuması where I started to get views of the beautiful Alakır Valley.

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Skiing road trip last stop: Niğde

In hindsight when Seb and I left Nemrut Dağı we should have driven southwest via Adıyaman and Adana. At the time, however, our tentative plan had been to spend the last weekend of our ski trip at Erciyes (near Kayseri) and Hasan Dağı (near Aksaray). In their effort to contain the rising number of covid hospitalizations, Turkey announced a weekend curfew. We needed either to get back to Antalya before the lockdown, stay and ski two days at the Erciyes ski resort which we understood was still open during the lockdown, or find a backcountry ski spot for the weekend. Of course, I pushed for the latter. We ended up skiing two days in Ulukışla district (ilçe) in southern Niğde province (il). It was an excellent choice.

On the way south we stopped at the ancient city of Tyana (Kemerhisar, Bor, Niğde) where the most exciting thing to see is definitely the remains of the Roman aquaduct.

IMG_20210402_143242 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Skiing road trip: Hesarek, Nemrut (Adıyaman), and on toward Kayseri

After a little more adventure than we bargained for in Erzurum, Seb and I started heading southwest, doing more driving, more sightseeing, and less skiing. We found a pleasant campsite near a creek about 10km east of the provincial capital of Bingöl. Driving up and out of the city the next morning, Seb spotted a small sign: “Hesarek Kayak Tesisleri”. He didn’t know the word tesis, but he recognized kayak (ski) and swung the car off the highway.

I can’t remember what we had planned for that day, but what a pleasant surprise we stumbled upon.

IMG_20210330_100150 by bryandkeith on flickr

The lifts weren’t open when we arrived, but the only woman in the one group there was on the phone calling around trying to get them to open up. She succeeded, and the T-bar was running about 15 minutes later! Thanks, Dilo!

Here she is:

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Skiing Erzurum: İspir, Konaklı, Çat (and a short? avalanche report)

Warning: there are a lot of details here about our ski day in Çayırbaşı (İspir), as perhaps someone (us?) can learn something from the avalanche we triggered.

Seb and I left behind snowy roads and good powder in İkizdere. The hope was to get away from the former but not the latter. It had snowed (again) in İkizdere (down at 600m!), but what a surprise to find so much of the fluffy white stuff on the main İkizdere-İspir highway. Sure, they don’t (frequently? ever?) plow the village roads, but until then we’d always found the highway snow-free!

Up higher, however, a plow had been through, and it was easy to get to 2100m where we entered the world’s 7th longest road tunnel. The 14km tube is more boring and less beautiful but certainly faster than the old route over 2600m Ovit Geçidi. From the map I had picked out a couple potential places to ski between İspir and Erzurum, one near Kızılkale (after crossing Ağzıaçık Geçidi (a pass)) and one near Rizekent (after crossing Dallıkavak Geçidi (another pass)). Before even getting that far, however, as we were descending Gölyurt Geçidi (yet another pass!), we had nice views of the forested north-facing slopes of Bozan Dağı (a mountain). Let’s check it out, we said.

Here’s Gölyurt Geçidi:

IMG_20210327_102757 by bryandkeith on flickr

First, however, we had to get to the village of Bozan. The road to that village looked like this:

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