In his second installment of what may or may not be an ongoing series of trip reflections, Noah recounts a hike up and down a steep trail to an amazing beach in Turkey.
One of my favorite memories from Turkey was an adventurous, thrill-filled hike we took in the tiny coastal town of Faralya. By town I mean there were three tiny hotels, a mosque, a bus stop, and a restaurant. The hotel where we stayed, Hotel Montenegro, was a group of cabins perched high in the mountain above the water. To this day it is one of my favorite accommodations on the trip. Incredible food, friendly staff, and an unbeatable location all contributed to making it such a winner for me.
From the hotel you could see down the cliff and at the bottom was a beautiful beach in a sheltered cove nicknamed Butterfly Valley by the locals. From the moment I saw that beach I knew I had to get down there and swim in its crystal clear blue waters. The only problem was that to get down to the beach you had to take a very scary and treacherous hike down the side of the cliff and, of course, you had to make the VERY steep journey back up.
Many people told us not to go, that it was unsafe for kids, that someone would slip and fall off the cliff, but still I wanted to go. After hearing an older couple’s story about hiking down and how incredible the beach was I figured, if they can do it, then so can I!
My next task: find a willing adult to take 4 kids on a dangerous hike down a cliff at 5:00 pm and back up before dark. To the surprise of everyone, the only adult willing to do it was my mom, who is scared of heights, but agreed to do it for us. The hike started with all at the very edge of the cliff providing a very clear view of the many thousands of feet drop that awaited us if we fell off the trail.
The first part of the trail involved scrambling down the rocky path, trying not to slip and not to kick the very loose rocks down onto the heads of the people below. Our first obstacle came soon when we reached a steep drop that required you to propel down with a dinky little rope tied to a tree. As you can imagine we were all quite terrified. It was probably only a 20 ft long drop, but it took us half an hour to complete.
From there we continued down the cliff, through more ropes courses, scrambling along on our butts, and using baby trees as support so we did not fall to our deaths. When we reached the bottom is was 6:00 pm and we could all finally take a deep breath.
A short walk led us to the beach where we were blown away by just how incredible it was. The sand was soft and white, the water so blue and clear you could see 50ft down, the cliffs that formed the coves shot out into the ocean making the beach feel very secluded. And on top of all that except for two people lying in a hammock the beach was empty. Nothing feels better after a long hike in the hot sun than jumping into the warm water of the Mediterranean and we were in heaven. Unfortunately, we only had 45 minutes there before we had to head back up by nightfall, but it was all worth it.