Butterfly Valley hike (Lycia, Turkey)

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We have a guide book and maps for the Lycian Way and, while she was in Holland visiting family, Mum heard that the Butterfly Bay section of the walk was stunning. So, we set off early in the morning to make the trek down the cliffs from the village to the bay below. We began the walk by crossing the road and walking down the long street / driveway leading to George’s House (a pension). The entry to the walk was clearly signed from the main street.

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It didn’t take us long to walk / scramble down the steep track leading to the first of the three ropes sections of this walk. The mountain rescue people place these ropes to keep trekkers safe during the steeper sections of the descent. The ropes have knots in them to help walkers keep their grip and probably prevent some rope burn.

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This walk is not for the feint of heart or those afraid of exposure. You need to use the ropes both on the descent and ascent. You start at 300m above sea level and drop down to sea level in less than forty minutes of trekking then do it all again on the return leg. The suggested duration of this walk is 1.5 hours each way but Mum and I did it easily within 45 minutes each way with the last 5-10 minutes being on flat ground in the valley floor.

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There are also a few exposed ledges that you have to cross without the protection of ropes. And all you can see when you turn your eyes away from the cliff you are on are cliffs all around with a deep valley like a chasm below.
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But all that drama aside, this is a seriously fun and beautiful walk. The views from the trail, both towards the bay and across to the cliffs on the other side of the valley are stunning.

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And even in autumn there are gorgeous wild flowers to admire. These purple flowers looked like paper and were so delicate. I love it when flowers are like this: delicate yet tough enough to withstand harsh environments.

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The beach in the bay is gorgeous for swimming. The water is clear and it was wonderful to cool off after the trek. However, the beach and areas near the beach are quite feral. Many backpackers and others have set up a seemingly permanent camp with lots of tiny tents littering the water front. Most have plastic over them and privacy screens around them. There’s a general air of itineracy here that makes the place feel unloved and unnatural. Actually, to be honest, it’s the hobo version of a beach that has been disrespected through the construction of highrise buildings (though I’m sure the hobos camping here would say they are all nature-lovers who would never damage nature’s perfection). I estimate some 50 tents were erected here, making it not just a couple of campers but a whole village of nylon and plastic. Apparently a beer boat comes once a week to deliver their supplies but I’m not sure whether this is true.

We still enjoyed the hike and the swim. Because from up on the trail above tent city you can’t see them at all and are lost in the solitude of the cliffs. (Note: there’s a guy at the tent city who collects 5TL ($AU2.50) from all people wanting to swim at the beach area so either bring money or be prepared to negotiate hard / try to dodge him).


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