Today’s walk will take us to the other side of Butterfly Valley, i.e. to the north. This will be our longest walk since the one to Phellos was canceled. It is a beautiful morning, ideal weather for walking, very pleasant indeed.
The climb starts right away, steadily widening our view over the Blue Lagoon. Early paragliders are hovering above us and in their descent I notice that one of them is close to hit the mast of our Almira – or is my perspective playing tricks on me? But at our next stop I see that the Almira has moved to the side of the bay, safely out of the way of these big toys. Thank God!
The weather is as clear as yesterday’s and we are so lucky to climb this side of the mountain entirely in the shade. It is even so cool that, after finishing our early lunch in a shady spot, we are glad to be moving into the sunshine. Peter and Ivşak carried a wonderful picnic from the boat: stuffed bellpeppers, şigara börek and beans in tomato sauce. Delicious pomegranates, apples and pears for desert, juicy and sweet. All I have to carry is water and believe me that is more than enough for me!
We proceed to the high tree line of the Baba Dağı, the Father Mountain. The whitish rock looks very friable, reminding me of the Sierra Nevada (California) or dead travertine deposits from Pamukkale. The paragliders with their colored canopies keep fascinating us. We hear them yell when they jump off in ecstasy somewhere behind the top or when they perform one of their twists and twirls, free as a bird, soaring through the clear air above us.
The trail now runs among huge boulders that have come down in earlier times, flash flooded river beds filled with debris and where tall pine trees have safely anchored their roots. Occasionally we see rows of beehives, neatly aligned on a ridge and we try to walk around them at a safe distance. In one of the clearings a beekeeper is sharing his picnic with his family and we get a plate filled with pure fresh honey. Basically I don’t fancy honey, but being here in the middle of nature with a treat of this nectar as fresh as can be, I feel I must at least try it. We spot a kind of table rock and with a few smaller stones we build a little shrine to receive the amber-colored plate holding our treat. We gather around and savor the honey dipping our bread in the nectar. What a relish!
And onwards we go! We pass another few rows of beehives where the beekeeper is dressed in his protective suit to gather the honey. He stops when he sees us coming nearer and we march by in a single file in as wide a circle as possible. Unfortunately the bees have been disturbed and buzz around us. All of the sudden we are in the middle of a mass attack! Everybody scrambles, jumps, waves and dances around in a futile effort to chase the bees away. Our guide, Ivşak is the first victim, and then it is my turn. I can’t get rid of the zooming bee, I think it is in my ear but I don’t feel it – just hear the zooming close by. I’m desperate and try to knock it off, running, turning, waving, smacking my hat in the air, but the bee is still buzzing like mad. I cry out for help when I realize that the nasty thing is entangled in my hair but I have no idea how or where. At last I run my fingers through my hair above my ear and eyeglasses and then the frightening sound is gone. My face is afire now. Is the sting still in there? I have no idea. It hurts like hell! When I look around again, our orderly marching line is in complete disarray. Everybody is gesticulating and talking erratically. One of my fellow travelers has been stung in her hair and another one has several stings in his arms.