Saturday, 19 July 2008

Pilgrimage from Burhaniye to Comluk 15/07/08

Gale force winds are whipping at my walls as the alarm goes off. There wasn't enough flat ground to erect the tent last night so I'm just using it as a mosquito net, because of all the loose material it is making a racket! Grabbing the cameras I start my way up the hill...

Every step I take makes the peak look two steps farther away. I started at a jog and by the time I reach the top I'm just about crawling! I missed the sun rise by 10-15 minutes but it doesn't matter anyway, my view is blocked by another mountain and I still can't see the sun :( The winds are even stronger up here and it's not so enjoyable, I'm just lucky I thought to bring my jacket. Five minutes rest and I'm ready to make my way back down.

The walk up the valley is great and it isn't long before I reach Burhaniye. The town is tiny and my dreams of a morning cup of tea soon disappear. Making my way East I'm pleased when a sign to Kozan points me in the right direction, let's just hope it's not the last one...

The distance to Kozan is a bit of a mystery, varying from 60-95 kilometers depending on who I ask. My map soon becomes useless as villages start appearing that aren't marked and no-one has heard of the ones that are :) I am meant to be following the river but it isn't long before the road has me climbing ridge after ridge and in the heat of the day it's bloody hard work!

To top it off I have a constant stream of mining trucks whizzing by. The ground here is super dry and the dust is so fine that even when I walk I send up little clouds around my feet. The clouds the trucks leave behind are something else, often I can't see more than a meter and as for breathing... :(

So what should be an extremely peaceful stroll through the mountains is a nightmare, with the only conciliation being the view...when I can see it. With no idea how much distance I'm covering I keep at it, the only thing driving me on being the thought of a restaurant up ahead which people keep telling me exists...

Stopping for a break in the middle of nowhere I drift off, to be greeted on waking by a guy walking up the street...

"Salam alayikum"

"Wa alayikum essalam"

I have to rub my eyes to ensure I'm not still dreaming...He is walking along raking the road!!! What the...!?!

"What for?" you may be asking yourself, which is exactly what I'm still asking now! :)

Around 5pm my restaurant comes into sight and after demolishing a big bowl of stew, rice and a Coke I'm in much better spirits. The restaurant is set up for the trucks and many of the guys, recognizing me from the road, think I'm completely mad as I turned down their offers for a lift...but they make good company. I sit and chat, write some blogs, play some backgammon, eat more stew and by the time I'm ready to move again it's 9pm!

The moon is almost full and the rugged mountains, steep cliffs and deep valleys are are magical by moonlight! Out of the heat the walk is great and I consider walking all night. The only thing stopping me are my feet, even though I had a big rest at the restaurant it has been 17 hours since I started this morning! Time to stop...

2 comments:

Leigh said...

17 hours.

'In the middle of nowhere'. It stands by itself. Incredible stuff Ben. Kudos to you—and the beer, that golden delight with a frothy white head will taste like heaven. Keep on going; keep on creating; keep on living.

Leigh

Leigh said...

17 hours.

'In the middle of nowhere'. It stands by itself. Incredible stuff Ben. Kudos to you—and the beer, that golden delight with a frothy white head will taste like heaven. Keep on going; keep on creating; keep on living.

Leigh