Shackleton’s route, South Georgia

Kraig Becker:

Twelve hundred miles off the southernmost tip of South America, there is a legendary place among travelers and historians. They speak of South Georgia Island in hushed, almost reverent terms.

This small and mountainous island, with peaks above 9,000 feet, is located hundreds of miles from the closest beaten path. But the rugged and remote wilderness is famous for another reason. South Georgia Island served as the final stage in one of the greatest survival stories of all time: Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to the southern seas aboard the Endurance. …

I hiked part of the very route that Shackleton, Crean, and Worsley trekked when they crossed the island a century ago. Hiking through the overgrown mountain trails and snowy paths, I finally arrived at the remains of the Stromness whaling station where the 19th century explorers’ desperate march came to an end. …

The interior of South Georgia is rugged and demanding to say the least, with towering peaks, steep valleys, and crystal-blue alpine lakes frequently presenting impassable barriers.

High winds, rain, and snow, coupled with rough terrain, made my walk a challenging one, even equipped with modern hiking gear and a clear path to follow. The men from the Endurance did it in clothing that was practically threadbare, wearing boots with screws tapped into the sole to provide extra traction. …

While wandering in silence through that wild landscape, I could almost feel the ghost of Shackleton trudging along beside me …

Popular Mechanics – Chasing Ernest: A Journey to South Georgia to Find the Ghost of Shackleton

(via Adventure Blog)

best hike – Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

For hikers Göreme is probably the best base for Cappadocia. You can literally go off hiking in any direction.  It’s got a good variety of restaurants and accommodation too.

On arrival in Göreme someone will hand you a FREE hiking map.

Most wander around with this thingfrequently getting lost. We could find no decent map nor guidebook in 2017.

For 6 days I hiked and cycled many of these trails, often lost, before finally deciding on what I felt was the best hike.

Ask the people at your accommodation in Göreme how to get to the Rose Valley Panoramic viewpoint. They’ll likely recommend a taxi and tell you the price. It’s about a 15 minute drive uphill from town.

There is a small entry fee for Panoramic viewpoint. The taxi may drop you outside the gates.

Here begins the Rose Valley trail. 5km to Caveusin. Most feel Rose is the best hike of all. And I’d agree.

Note that most of the trail signage is in Turkish.

There are many twisting and turning trail options. All are good but the very bottom of the valley might be muddy.

Rose is popular with cyclists, too.

Gorgeous, surreal scenery.

End of the trail is the village of Çavuşin.

If you haven’t yet seen enough Church caves — you might want to visit the World Heritage site Caveusin Kilisesi.

From Çavuşin you need to get to the Love Valley trailhead. Ask in town. It’s about 1km up the highway towards Goreme. (There are shortcuts.)

If walking the highway here’s the turn-off. These pink signs are the best of the admittedly poor and confusing trail signage in the area.

From there you can’t miss it.

Love Valley is the second best trail in my opinion.

Why they call it Love Valley I can’t imagine. 🙂

You can see here how those columns erode away from the valley wall.

It’s about 4km uphill to the end of the Love trail. If not lost you’ll finish at this tourist trap.

Bus tours stop and parade their unwilling passengers through the souvenirs.

Cross the highway and make your way up to the top of impressive Uchisar Castle. There’s a small entry fee.

Exiting on your way down ask for the Pigeon Valley trailhead. Look for these pigeons. It’s not difficult to find.

Some have reported seeing no pigeons in Pigeon Valley. We saw plenty.

Historically farmers built roosts for pigeons in the valley wall in order to later collect their guano.

It’s downhill to Göreme. A nice but often crowded walk.

Looking back to the Castle.

You might spend 4-6 hours including stops on this best hike.

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

click for larger version


A shorter alternative would be to loop Pigeon to Love Valley. It’s a 2km walk up the highway back to Göreme, however.

We really need someone to put together a decent map of trails out of Goreme. Hundreds of thousands visit every year and almost all do some hiking.

related – Hike Bike Travel – 21 Photos That Will Make You Want To Hike In Turkey’s Rose Valley

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 6

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 6 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I slept well on my own private beach. Woke about 6am wanting an early start.

I’d read that I could have the the ancient Greek and Roman city of Phaselis to myself if I got there before opening. And I did.

Phaselis was set up by the Rhodians in 700 BC. …

The city was captured by Persians after they conquered Asia Minor, and was later captured by Alexander the Great. …

In fact they handed Alexander a golden crown with the keys to the city.

Many others conquered Phaselis. Hadrian was one other prominent lord visitor.

Citizens did not care much who was overlord. They kept making money from their ideal trading route location.

The tourist site was just opening when I reached the front gates. Ticket agents kindly pointed me on to the Lycian Way. They are used to hikers arriving from the wrong direction at odd times.

Today I would have to leave the coast and climb inland. Big elevation gains.

Not so keen on the idea, I toyed with the idea of taking the cable car on high. And hiking back down to the Lycian.

But it turned out to be a 9km side trip on pavement to get to the cable car. I decided against that plan.

Many decide to quit the Lycian right about here. When the trail reaches the main highway.

I continued on a parallel trail, passing one tent of hikers. And one nude sunbather.

This is the tourist trap Kemer.

I knew I could catch a bus to Antalya from there.

I was still debating what to do as I circumnavigated this bay.

Finally, I did quit. (I could have rejoined the Lycian by hiking under the main highway here. But wimped out.)

Walking into town it wasn’t long before I found the express bus. About 50km later I was back to my base camp – Antalya.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We’ve added a Lycian Way information page for those who might want to do this excellent hike themselves. Go for it. 

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 5

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 5 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We enjoyed a leisurely morning on the beach.

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

Super popular on this trail are sit pads that strap on to your body.

Super popular too is swimming every chance you get on the Lycian. What’s the matter with these people? Don’t they know there are GREAT WHITES and MAN-OF-WARS in the Ocean?

We’d been hanging out with a hermit from Istanbul who spends many weeks each year meditating on this beach. Departing we stumbled on his beach home.

He sleeps up high in a tree hammock. Possibly to get away from mosquitoes that sometimes plague this area.

I was following a guided group from Ukraine. Here they are speculating on what this machinery was used for.

They wish they had brought less gear with them on the hike.

We enjoyed a Ukrainian / Turkish lunch. I contributed the peanut butter.

This would be their last night camping. They wanted a truly memorable beach.

Each one we passed they gave consideration. This was the winner.

I carried on towards Tekirova.

Passing even more lovely bays.

It turned out the beach in Tekirova is dominated by big all-inclusive hotels.

I had to find my way behind those hotels. Back street signage here often includes Russian.

Eventually I wandered though town and reached the water park. I knew I could intersect with the trail here.

I was quickly back out into farmland.

Sundance is something of a Hippy colony.

I considered booking into one of their cottages.

But during my arrival everyone was dancing together. Seems 7-8pm is mandatory dance. My feet were too sore for that.

I continued on to a quiet beach I’d read about in a trip report. Setting up at dusk.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 4

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 4 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I was enjoying my pension in Çıralı. No rush getting back on the trail this morning.

This is the very end of the slighlty rainy season. It was again hazy, but I got no more than a few drops over the entire week.

A morning stroll up the beach towards the Hippy colony found dozens doing some sort of chanting dance.

Good exercise, I guess.

I finally left at check-out time walking the 4km across town for the 3rd time.
There are people cycle touring here, but not as many as I’d expect. A mountain bike would be ideal.
It was Noon when I started the next section of trail.
As usual, up and up.
As usual, a series of beautiful beaches.
This one was astoundingly clean. Some camping group had decided to pick up the trash.
This is my kind of hike.
This was the first water source I came across. An old well.
At the bottom was a giant bullfrog.
I’d not seen any hikers for some time when the recently rerouted trail took a turn inland.

I was soon lost.

My only option seemed to be a scramble up this waterfall.
It was a route, but the paint colour was wrong.
I finally decided to backtrack from this point.

In no rush now, I did a little side trip site seeing.
And set up my tent when I found a beach with a water supply. And a resident hermit from Istanbul who spends many weeks a year here.

I wandered the beach. Scrambled rocky headlands. Read two different books. Poked washed up jellyfish.

My only option was to backtrack to town next morning and take an alternative Lycian Way trail.

Navigation is the biggest problem on this trail. The guidebook is simply not sufficient. There is an iPhone app that is better but still not perfect. BEST would be GPS tracks from previous hikers.

Happily a Ukrainian group arrived to camp. The guide would be pleased for me to follow them onward next day. 🙂 He’d done this section many times.

I cooked up dinner at dusk.

Sat around the beach fire with my new friends. And had a great night’s sleep.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 3

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 3 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Keen to be on my way, I was up and on the road by 7:30am. Almost nobody awake.

Finding the trailhead out of departing towns is the biggest challenge on the Likya. My guidebook said to head in the direction of a concrete bridge.

I spent about an hour wandering these greenhouses. No concrete bridge.

So … I walked back to my pension to enjoy the free breakfast I’d missed. Breakfast starts about 8:30am in Turkey.

I got conflicting advice on how to find the Lycian Way. If I spoke a bit of Turkish it would have been easier.

I’d seen this road sign earlier. No concrete bridge. But I was heading for Olympos.

I waded across this creek. And found an alternate (better) route out of town.

My trail eventually intersected with the Lycian Way proper.

It was clear sailing now.

Navigation was easy, I mean. But this trail seems little used. There is a lot of deadfall over the track.

Happily there are few thorny or stinging plants. Few. Not none.

It was a long way up to some meadows.

On this section I saw only one hiking couple from France. And an old gent selling fresh squeezed orange juice.

I did come across the second land tortoise of my life. About a foot long.

Happily much of the day’s hiking was in the trees. No sunburn. Love the Mediterranean climate.

Getting down was much easier than climbing up. Eventually I exited in the middle of … OLYMPOS. In the Necropolis Tombs some dating from the 1st century AD.

The Olympos  ruins themselves are quite impressive, not as much so as Ephesus but still worth seeing. The relative lack of tourist traffic compared to Ephesus means the site is largely overgrown, which gives the place a “mystical” feel, so you have to do some hiking to get to some of the remains. …

Strangely there seems to be no easy way to enter or leave OLYMPOS. This couple ended up turning back. Lost.

Here’s the official entrance. You need swim, wade or scramble to get here from the beach.

All in all Olympos was one of my favourite stops during the week.

There is a Hippy enclave uphill from these ruins. I gave them a miss and carried on into town.

I walked all 4km of the beach front of Çıralı checking with pensions and hotels recommended by Lonely Planet.

In the end I backtracked all 4km with full pack to one of the first pensions. (US$33 including breakfast and fast wifi.)

No time to rest. I borrowed a pension bike and cycled the same 4km and 3 more up to some eternal flames.

Çıralı is walking distance from the ancient ruins of Olympos and Chimaera permanent gas vents …

… Chimaera was the name of a place in ancient Lycia, notable for constantly burning fires. …

Pliny the Elder, who in his second book of Historia Naturalis identified the Chimaera with the permanent gas vents in Mount Chimera, in the country of the ancient Lycian city of Phaselis …

I felt I’d earned my big salad and chicken dinner this day.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Colombia’s Lost City trek

Geoff Bedeck:

Swarms of aqua-blue butterflies, foaming waterfalls, hidden swimming lagoons, lime-green parakeets and chirping songbirds high up in the trees – this was what I’d come to find in the verdant Colombian jungle, along the winding trail to the Lost City.


One of our best hikes in South America.