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Turkey’s abode of snow: the Kaçkar Mountains
1.       Trudy
7887 posts
 29 May 2010 Sat 10:35 am

 

“I turned up the Fırtına gorge, and for the first day walked through a curtain of cloud that hid the wild profusion of forest, rhododendrons and brambles clothing the mountain walls. 

Mist hung over the dripping canyon almost to the upper tier of spruce. It suddenly lifted and on the second day I emerged from a cloud sea into a fairyland of sunshine and foaming streams where boys were catching trout with cast-nets and snow-fed cascades thundered over the rim of precipices.” British traveller/climber and long-time Ankara resident Denis Cecil Hills´ words, describing the northern approaches to Turkey´s lushest, most alpine mountain range, were penned in the 1960s. His scribblings could, however, apply equally well to today -- except that most visitors now take the regular buses which ply between the scruffy Black Sea town of Ardeşen up the Fırtına Valley to forest-cloaked Çamlıhemşin or, beyond it, to Ayder, a bustling resort village of Heidi-esque wooden chalets dotted across cool alpine pastures.

 

In Hills´ day the lofty Kaçkar range, tucked away in the far northeast of the country beyond the Black Sea port of Trabzon (ancient Trebizond) was remote and few people, apart from herdsmen and their families, ventured into its high valleys -- and then only in the fleeting summer season. Today though, an ever-increasing number of walkers, trekkers and climbers head to the Kaçkar to enjoy Turkey´s most spectacular mountains. The highest peak, Mount Kaçkar, at an elevation of 3,916 meters, boasts its own glacier but is non-technical and accessible to reasonably fit and experienced hikers, and there are many more peaks for determined walkers to summit if they are so inclined. The real joy of the Kaçkar, however, is to trek from valley to valley, crossing dramatic high passes, striding through meadows ablaze with alpine blooms and set up camp by glittering blue snow-ringed lakes. Hills´ climbing partner was a tough Turkish soldier, Muzaffer. Used to the oft-barren peaks of the Anatolian plateau and upper reaches of the Toros, he couldn´t believe the Kaçkar´s alpine splendor and commented, “Why go to Switzerland when we have all this on our doorstep?”

 

 

More

 

The Kaçkar Mountains are great, I´ve been only once but I hope it won´t be the only time.

 

Pictures taken by our members of this area, you can find here

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Edited (5/29/2010) by Trudy

2.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 30 May 2010 Sun 11:55 am

Another place to add on my "to see" list!

3.       sonunda
5004 posts
 30 May 2010 Sun 04:03 pm

It´s on my ´must go back to list´ too.

4.       libralady
5152 posts
 31 May 2010 Mon 02:49 pm

 

Quoting sonunda

It´s on my ´must go back to list´ too.

 

 Me too!  Spent a wonderful few days hiking and wild camping there in 2007 starting in Barhal!  Thanks to a dear friend....

5.       sonunda
5004 posts
 31 May 2010 Mon 03:53 pm

 

Quoting libralady

 

 

 Me too!  Spent a wonderful few days hiking and wild camping there in 2007 starting in Barhal!  Thanks to a dear friend....

 

 We only did day walks from both Ayder and Barhal but would love to do what you did.

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