Thursday, 19 October 2017

Geyran - the mountain that is our neighbour

Uzumlu's backdrop - Geyran

Coming from Norfolk, which is renowned for being incredibly flat, the mountains that surround Uzumlu are a constant source of beauty and wonderment to us. In fact our house is literally next door to one of the highest local mountain peaks. However, up to last October, seven years after we bought our property we had never actually been up to the top. I did mention in a post in January that we had finally done so and that I would write about our trip up there, but with all the problems with the blog this year it has never happened, so here I am at last putting the trip into words.

Named Geyran daği it is the mountain that provides the backdrop to the villages of Uzumlu and Incirkoy as you come over the brow of the hill travelling from Fethiye, and if you look closely you can see the fire tower on the very top. According to the Google terrain map it is over 1300 metres  high. Now if that is a tall hill or a small mountain in the eyes of the experts, I am not sure. But to us coming from Norfolk where a molehill is a hill and a sand dune is almost a mountain I can assure you we consider it a mountain.

The main reasons we had not visited it before was twofold. Firstly because for the first three years we did not have any transport, and long distance walkers I am sorry to say we are not! Secondly even after we bought the car, and in spite of asking several people how to get up there, we never did manage to find the track which leads you there. So when friends who had visited it before agreed to take us we jumped at the chance.

There are actually two ways to get up Geyran, one from the Uzumlu to Ortakoy road the other from Kizilbel village. We opted to go up from Uzumlu and to come down the other side into Kizilbel. So we packed the car with food, drink and a barbecue and set off for the afternoon.

The track isn't too bad on the way up

As with many of the mountain roads it is an earth and stone track, climbs steeply and has no barriers at the edge so is possibly not for the faint hearted, but was actually less frightening than I thought it may have been. Before you know it you are way above the village and those glorious views begin.

When we came to the point where the track up from Kizilbel meets the main track we stopped to enjoy  the view. While we taking a couple of photographs a motorbike came along and it was the watchman from the fire tower who had popped out for some supplies. He asked us if we were on our way up, because if we were he would go ahead and get the Çay pot on!

The watchman invited us to tea

That was an invitation that we could not refuse, so we carried on right up to the fire tower where the two men soon pulled round some chairs on their terrace poured us a cup of Çay and even shared their homemade cake with us. They made us feel so welcome, showed us around their summer abode and told us about their lives there during the summer. There have been a few fires around since we have lived here, one this summer not far behind our house, so we have watched first hand how quickly these are dealt with here. These guys play a really important role in keeping our lives safe and they keep vigil from the spring right through until the end of October beginning of November. A lonely job for some months, no wonder they were so pleased to have some visitors.

One of the men has some goats up there with him. Every year we see the large herds of goats passing by our house heading up to the mountains in the spring where they usually stay until November. We love watching them going by and always stop whatever we are doing to watch, it's a wonderful sight. We know that some of them are up here on our mountain, although you can't see them from below, because we often hear the herders calling out to their livestock. Although his goats were not to be seen, as soon as he called they materialised as if by magic. They just popped up from behind rocks and over the edge of the ledge and came trotting over. A lot braver than me, I daren't go too close to the edge!

The goats just appeared to the herders call ...

... popping up ...

... from behind rocks ...

... and climbing up from further down the mountain ...

... to congregate in the shade under the trees ...

Having enjoyed the watchmen's hospitality it was time to drive back down a bit a find a suitable spot for our barbecue. We soon happened upon the perfect spot with fabulous views, rocks to sit on and a fire pit from previous visitors - perfect.

Uzumlu way below and further on Fethiye town and the sea

The views are absolutely stunning, you not only have a bird's eye view of the villages below, but you can also see Fethiye and the sea. So we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our barbecue, taking in the views and chatting about how very, very lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. All the time when driving around we look up at the surrounding mountains, some of which are snow capped every winter, even in the summer the snow lines are very visible, but it seems very strange to be up there looking at them so close up and from a different perspective.

Up among the highest peaks ...

A random tree somebody planted

There are several goat and sheep herds up there. One large herd was way below us on a plateau. From down below you just can't see them. I have looked up from all around the area and you just cannot see them from the ground. Its not surprising that such large herds head up here for the summer, there is a vast amount of grazing/browsing land you just would not know was there.

One of the plateaus providing summer forage for the livestock 

While we were clearing up our bits and pieces and packing them back in the car, a lady came past with her herd of sheep and goats and her three livestock dogs, presumably day trippers up from the village on their way home! The dogs which were in perfect condition for working dogs were wary but friendly, and soon realised that we were packing food. The tri-colour dog had a sausage which he took onto the bank to eat, then ran off after his herd, his sense of responsibility obviously too great to hang around. Either that or he had the sense to know he got his tea when they reached home. The other two however, decided it would be better to hang around until they were absolutely sure we had no meat left for them, and ironically they were the Kangals, the ones bred to care for their stock. But only apparently if there are no sausages around!

So the car was packed and ready to go, but before we left there was just one more thing - Watch the sunset. What a fabulous sight from up on Geyran.

So at dusk we set off towards home. In hindsight it was probably not the best of plans to come back down at that time Kizilbel way. It is heavily forested so it was almost dark in places and the road is not nearly as good as coming from the Oren road. In fact it was scary! 

So what did we think about our trip up to the top of Geyran? Fabulous! The rugged beauty of the place is sublime. The peace and tranquillity just simply wonderful. The views are amazing and I got a real feel of history up there. You could imagine nomadic herds roaming the tracks and plateaus for hundreds of years before you. It was a wonderful afternoon. Lessons learnt - We would leave earlier or come back down the other way and definitely take a cake or some such treat up to the fire watchman, to thank them for their hospitality. Oh and have some spare sausages in case you meet some new four legged friends.

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