The jandarma were out in force dishing out lemon cologne and sweets as this was officially the first day of the Bayram.

Rising just after dawn again, and amazed to find we weren’t particularly stiff after the previous day’s exertions (that would kick in later), we agreed to have an easy day and try to find an organised camp site so we could shower and do bits of laundry.  One member of the team went into a tent to start packing and emerged a few minutes later to find a scorpion on her discarded flip-flop outside the entrance.  Fortunately it was a beige scorpion on a black flip flop so easily seen.  And quickly dealt with by booted members of the party.

We set off, stopped top fill all our water bottles, and initially followed a dirt path through the woods that eventually led us to the edge of the canyon from where we could see the river below.  We took a break and, as we were setting off again, saw a beautiful colchicum variegata – first one ever in the wild.  The path broadened into a dirt road alongside a forest and then led us to the asphalt road.  This led to the Oluk Bridge, an original Roman bridge that was restored in 1997, but still has short stretches of the original Roman road on either side.  And who should be sitting by the bridge but our friend Davut from Selge.  {mosimage}We stopped to chat for a while and then continued along the road, and round the next bend met the chaotic scene of hundreds of tourists in life jackets and helmets being organised into teams for white water rafting.  The jandarma were out in force directing the coaches and minibuses which dropped off the tourists, and dishing out lemon cologne and sweets as this was officially the first day of the Bayram.  We took our sweets, and the very welcome dose of cologne given the sticky, sweaty state we were in after walking for three hours or so, and then carried on for a half a kilometre or so to a nice place with large flat rocks on the river bank.  Here we stopped for lunch and enjoyed the spectacle of all the inflatable rafts coming down the river.  This was a far cry from the wilderness trekking that we had imagined.

After lunch it was less than a kilometre to the Gökce Restaurant and campsite where we agreed to buy our dinner in the restaurant in return for free camping.  An orgy of laundry and cold showers all round followed, and then we stretched out on our sleeping mats by the river and watched the rafts all over again – they’d all stopped for lunch higher up.  We agreed to carry on walking along the road the next day until we reached a shop where we could re-stock on dwindling supplies and then we’d rejoin the trail which headed off up the hill shortly after our campsite, before the nearest shop.  Dinner (very mediocre) and card games with a deck of 42, were followed by our now normal early night.

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