Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

July 21, 2011

Hiking Babadag Mountain, Turkey

 On our last day of holiday in Turkey, after a week of awesome paragliding off of Babadag mountain, I determined that I needed to hike up to the launch under my own steam at least once.   I arranged for my wing to be driven up to the top, as I couldn't fathom carrying it up a vertical mile of trails, and crossed my fingers that it would actually arrive at the top before I did. 

Rob and I started out at 6 a.m. in order to stay out of the burning sun for as much as possible. On the road we found a small turtle, had a good look at it, and then moved it into the bushes where it might stay out of danger of traffic.  Less than a mile from our hotel in Oludeniz, at the east end of the beach on the road, we found the stairs marked with a Babadag sign.  From there the ascent started in earnest.  The route was marked haphazardly with green dots spraypainted on rocks, and with both of us keeping our eyes peeled for the green, we managed to stay on trail most of the time.  It was an unkempt trail for the first bit, and the sharp needles on the bushes wreaked havoc on my poor sunburned legs! 
After the section of bushwacking, we came out onto a driveable rocky trail, that led up to the Lycian Way.  This was a much wider, well-maintained trail, and not nearly as steep.  We made good time here, climbing slowly above the beach and lagoon at Oludeniz, grateful that the sun hadn't reached above the mountain yet.   We passed two stagnant cisterns but didn't need water as I had loaded myself down with quite a few litres.  We would end up needing every drop in the end, as it was hot and dry. 

About halfway up on a plateau jutting out from Babadag mountain, we crossed through a tiny village, and promptly got lost.   I had only a vague idea of how the trail carved its way up the mountain, but we could see the paragliding takeoff at 1700 meters and knew we had to eventually get there.  After a few random fields crossings we got lucky enough to see a green dot, and once we figured out which way to follow it, we were quite relieved. 
Moved a turtle off the road and back into the bushes
The trail by this point had broken off from the Lycian way, and disintigrated back into merely a trail of green dots through unbroken scrub bushes.  We carefully and slowly picked our way up the sharp granite rocks, and lost the trail again, getting distracted by a faint goat trail.   Since the trail wasn't much better than anything else, we didn't sweat it too much, and started angling over to where we thought the trail had to go.   It took quite a while to find it, and in the meantime we were scratching ourselves quite a bit in the low scrub trees and loose rocks. 

Once back on the trail, again, it seemed to get even steeper and less maintained, and the last mile was just a sweaty scramble up loose dirt and rocks.  Luckily the trees were finally tall enough here to give some shade, but by then we were hot, tired, and running out of water.
It ended up taking 5 1/2 hours to go 7 miles to the paragliding takeoff, and we were quite grateful to rehydrate with soda from the shop overlooking the launch area.   The 7 miles included a vertical mile of climbing, from sea level all the way up to 5600 feet! 
I must say this is the worst trail I've ever been on.  It was diffiult to follow, steep and tricky footing, and seemed to be neverending.  The scrub was so thick at the top that views were obscured, definitely really tough. 
Since my wing was waiting for me at launch, we didn't continue up to do the last mile to the actual summit at 6500 feet.   I think if I decide to hike up again someday, I think I will go via the road, as at least it's a nice hike up through pine forests rather than cactus scrub.  Either way, the views from the top are definitely worth it, and it was much more fun to paraglide back down over the mountain rather climb up it. 

A map and description of this torturous route can be found here.

The launch area and Babadag peak

The blue lagoon of Oludeniz

The spine of Babadag as seen from Fethiye

1 comment:

  1. Hey, this year tried paragliding at Oludeniz for the first time! Hope to come back next year and jump from Babadag again :-)
    Oludeniz Paragliding