Did you ever think about snow hikes while having the Lycian coast of South Turkey in mind?
This is definitely possible in the higher altitude areas that you can find in the mountains surrounding Fethiye and other towns located on the Lycian Coast. But the real beauty is to have the winter landscapes in the higher regions and nice and smoothly warm temperatures at sea level.
In today’s post you will get an idea of how a typical winter walk looks in the mountainous regions near Fethiye. Here is more with the following video.
Underway to the mountains
I love the outdoors no matter the season and I am almost always “out”, very often with Arife. In this blog post, as I mentioned above, you will discover unusual (for most Turkey holiday makers) beautiful, snow covered, landscapes. The hiking area on that beautiful morning is located between Üzümlü and the Village of Nif. The journey by car takes roughly an hour drive from Fethiye to reach the destination.
On that marvellous winter morning I first drove from EdenVillas(HYPERLINK) to Fethiye to join my friend Dave and his wife Anne –Mary. Luckily their dog Dusty was part of the program. After jumping in Dave’s car we headed to the Üzümlü road, outside Fethiye in order to join Bob, a hobby mountaineer living in Fethiye. We waited for the rest of the hiking group that would join him in his mini-bus. After a few minutes the crew was complete and we all continued the trip with 2 vehicles. When we reached our destination, everybody was so excited! We all prepared the necessary gear and up we went.
Our hike to freedom
We began our walk by entering a path going through a pine and cedar tree forest. We had a considerable amount of snow at the start of our trail. We were expecting more snow as our way was leading us to even higher altitude. It was a nice ascension, not to steep and with beautiful landscapes. As we were getting forward and higher, the forest density was slowly decreasing. The old cedar trees surrounding us look truly spectacular.
But there is more to add to the magnificent landscape; the mood of the group was highly positive … Is that a surprise? Not really when Mother Nature gifts you with this kind of sceneries.
As we progressed on our way the snow layer was getting bigger and the walk required a little more effort, but this was fine. In my opinion this little more effort you need in a snow hike gives even more flavour to such an undertaking.
After we reached one of the first mountain tops the crew got rewarded with an absolutely stunning view of a huge plateau ahead of us. It looked like a beautiful snow desert, decorated with a small clump of naked trees. Just breath -taking!
However, I took my time to take a deep breath and some amazing photos while the rest of the group went forward. I purposely left my guys go forward in order to let them gain some distance from me; this allowed me to take some picture of the crew walking into the “snow desert”. But no worries; I could easily catch up and continue with rest of the group.
As we evolved in our hike through the plateau (which is a huge valley by the way) we all appreciated walking on a flat terrain after a long ascension. Though we were above 2000m altitude, there were more slopes to come ahead of us …
Coffee break on snow
After crossing the valley we started a new ascent on one of the mountains walking through a thick, but beautiful layer of fresh snow. As the group got higher the plateau we left behind seemed to get smaller, and the views were truly extraordinary.
However, our objective was to reach the summit of the mountain. It was in sight and no longer very far. When we finally reached it, we all had the same flurry of feelings. Some hunger and much amazement. After a long hike we were ready for a deserved break.
We rewarded our self with water and delicious snack we brought with us. Off course, hot coffee and tea was part of our pick-nick on the top of the mountain.
But now here comes the good part: Dave had some home-made cake with him that his wife Anne-Mary had baked and shared it nicely with the whole crew … How delicious this cake was!
By the time we finished our pick-nick on the mountain top, some of us just sat and chilled, others having a chat and another art taking photos and filming the surroundings. The sceneries from the top were just breath-taking. Even the city of Fethiye and its coast could be seen despite the distance of almost 40km. The experience was truly rewarding.
A little later it was time to continue our tour. We all slowly started moving along the slope heading to the North side of the mountain. At times the terrain got a little steep, but the use of crampons kept the crew safe. We stayed on our way for an hour and half or so and decided to descend in order to reach the west side of the valley we previously crossed (remember, the “snow desert”). Some of us decided to glissade down to the valley with help of big plastic bags. It looked really fun but I preferred walking down on that day … I might glissade next time.
Heading back home
We gathered on the opposite side of the plateau we had walked through a few hours ago and carried on our hike. It was a different perspective. The light effects of the winter sun gave a kind of mystical appearance to our surroundings.
But there is more; Dusty, the friendliest dog I ever met, really had so much fun. It was a real pleasure to watch him running around and playing in the snow.
After getting through the valley we had one last short ascent and afterword just hike downwards through the cedar forest located at round 1500m altitude. From that point it took us roughly another hour to get back to the vehicles and finish this memorable tour. Before clothing this blog-post I will add a few tips to follow for a nice and safe winter snow walk.
A few Tips
Weather: obtain up-to-date information in regards to current weather conditions. Double check the short and long range forecasts before departure.
Route Planning: Study the topography of your chosen route. Identify potentially hazardous areas such as those that may be prone to avalanches and know where evacuation routes are situated in case of an emergency.
Sunscreen: Apply it early and often enough. Don’t let the cooler temperatures mislead you. The reflective quality of snow can cause harm to your skin. Don’t forget to apply it in areas such as under your nose, ears and chin.
Sunglasses: with respect to sun reflexion, don’t forget to bring sunglasses. Eyes exposed to reflected sunlight develop snow blindness.
Cliffs & Avalanches: Avoid routes that take you close to the edge or base of cliffs. Any snow slope, no matter what its gradient, has the potential to slide. The sliding probability increases with the slope angle steepness.
Rocks: When crossing snowfields in the spring avoid going too close to rocks. The snow will be softer due to warmer temperatures heating the rocks.
River crossings: When hiking in the spring-time snow, be conscious of possible changes in water levels in streams and rivers. As temperatures start to warm, glacier and snow-fed rivers start to rise. Whenever possible, try to negotiate challenging fords early in the morning when water levels will be lower.
Timing the Day is an important point in hiking efficiently on snow. Preparation is crucial. Be aware of the location and profile of river crossings and mountain passes (e.g. north or south facing?) and whenever possible adapt your itinerary accordingly.
- Mornings: When hiking in snowy terrain, your cause will be aided considerably by making early starts. The snow is harder and the going is easier.
- Passes:Avoid going over passes too early; the snow will likely be frozen, very slippery and difficult to gain footholds. Similarly, you don’t want to leave your run too late. By early/mid-afternoon the sun may have softened the snow to the point that you could spend the rest of your afternoon post-holing down the other side.
Know your limits: Problems in the backcountry can occur when folks go beyond their physical and mental capacities. Your willingness should always be tempered by a realistic assessment of one’s knowledge and experience at the time. Always turn around and/or look for an alternative route if your chosen path appears to be overly dangerous.
Perspective: Hiking on snow can be slow going. You might slow down with time. Your feet may be soaked. Occasionally you will posthole (i.e. the process by which a hiker sinks lower than shin depth whilst walking on soft snow) for hours on end………all wonderful fun!
Whether or not you have a good time often comes down to perspective. Stay positive, be patient, retain your sense of humour and most importantly, always be resilient.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I hope you enjoyed the pictures of the area and hopefully you got an idea of the hidden beauties the Lycian coast can offer in the winter time.
Have a wonderful day, merry Christmas and All the best for the coming year 2018