Monday, August 17, 2015

Saklikent Gorge

The final thing on our Mediterranean Turkey to-do list was the Saklikent Gorge. This is a gorge (obviously) cut into the mountains by a river of snowmelt. You pay 3-6 liras to enter (kids-adults). Then you get to hike through the river up the gorge.

After the fast section, the water slows down.

They start you out where the water is fierce, where it has coming gushing seemingly straight out of the rocky side of the gorge cliffs. There is a rope to cling to as you pull yourself across and it is rather daunting and very cold. There are Turkish men in official t-shirts there offering their services to guide your party for a small fee. (Not actually very small in my opinion.) One of them helpfully took my hand as I struggled to cross that initial raging torrent. He assumed he was hired, but Kip sent him away when he started tagging along with us. I can't actually see why you would need a guide. I asked him what service he provided. He didn't speak much English and couldn't tell us anything about the gorge. His job was just to walk with us and maybe suggest ways to follow the river without getting hurt. Kip seemed a little upset at the idea that he couldn't lead his own family through a river-cut gorge without help.  And in all honesty, once we passed that initial rough spot at the entry, the rest of the river was not much more than a stream. The part at the entrance was where a second river joined the main one, making things deeper and faster just for a bit.

So we took our chances going unguided and it turned out just fine. The water was cool. The gorge itself was cool - in temperature and appearance. Perhaps in spring or winter the river would be higher, but for us it was a pretty, easy walk through a gentle stream, rarely even knee deep.

We ended our journey at a waterfall. It wasn't much of a waterfall. And it wasn't meant to be the end of the hike. It was a huge boulder beside a small waterfall with a knotted rope available to climb. It climbed about 11 feet up, with water showering down on the head of the person climbing.  We saw that as a good stopping place. We headed back down the gorge. After having walked the rest of the gorge, the entry rapids didn't seem as daunting. We all made it across the rope just fine and found a quiet spot to rinse our shoes.

Next item on the list was rafting down the river. You go out of the gorge for this and float down the river though the unshaded valley. We paid for the long ride, 1 1/2 hours. We got inner tubes, paddles, and life vests and helmets that smelled of tourist sweat. It took forever to finally get started, then we were off. Kip was tied to Anna. Bill and I were separate. We followed our guide with a group of short-ride tourists and their guide behind us. I was at the back of our family and kept paddling to try to catch up, but somehow I always ended up in shallow areas or heading off in the wrong direction.

It really was a lot of work. And Bill got tired and hungry. The last 45 minutes of our ride weren't the best. Our guide was a sun-browned, cheerful little man who sat high on his inner tube and paddled exactly where he wanted to go. He spoke to us mostly in gestures and seemed mildly discouraged by our inability to control our tubes in any way. They just seemed to go where they wanted in spite of our efforts.  The amount of soreness in my arm muscles the next day testifies to the fact that I was honestly trying. Eventually he gave up on us and had us all link together in a Killpack chain that he used his superman arm muscles to get where he wanted it to be. He took us down the last bit of our ride, splashing Bill sometimes in hopes of getting a smile (unsuccessful) or dumping water on my arms that were obviously burning (you'd think I'd learn). Finally, he dragged us into some shallows and we got to our unsteady feet. We hefted our tubes to the shore and the waiting van that drive us back to the entrance of the gorge.

Our waterside lunch restaurant.

That was our final big adventure. We hiked Saklikent Gorge, we rode the river. It was fun. Even William agreed once he's had some lunch. And my arms were only a little sunburned in the end.


Mary Parker said...

Where was Becca in all of this?

Kristin Killpack said...

Wendy stayed home with Becca and Ferdinand.