Alaca Plateau, Ala Daglar
Key information: Alaca Plateau, Ala Daglar
- High plateau of summer pasture surrounded by peaks and crags. Splendid views.
- Needs to be built into a longer walk - there is no direct access.
- ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!
- Walkopedia rating83
- Natural interest15
- Human interest4
- Negative points0
- Total rating83
- Length: 8km
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
THIS PAGE IS AT AN EARLY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT. PLEASE HELP US BY MAKING SUGGESTIONS AND SENDING PHOTOS! THANK YOU!
See our Ala Daglar and Taurus Mountains pages for more information.
Walkopedia would like to thank David Briese for access to his account of trekking in the Ala Daglar mountains; the full account and many wonderful pictures can be found on his website, www.gang-gang.net/nomad/turkey/turkey07 We love it!
After a night spent listening to the crickets chirping in the grassy meadow, we were woken by the chorus of birds singing in the new day - and what a day it was, barely a cloud in the sky. There is no rush to start in Turkey, so breakfast was at 8am, listening to the lazy drone of a bumble bee or oversized fly in the warm morning sunshine. Finally, we set off at 9.30am for a circuit that would take us up to the Alaca Plateau and back.
Mehmet led us out of the campsite and across the scrubby meadows. The climb started almost straight away, as we zigzagged up a footpath through scattered and stunted conifers. Soon we entered the narrow Buyuk Mangirci Valley, guarded by the rocky peaks of Kaletepe to the north and Katir Kayar to the south, where a beautiful forest of cedar and fir was wedged between sheer rock walls on either side.
After climbing steadily to the incessant call of a cuckoo, the trees slowly petered out as we reached the head of the valley to cross it on a broad scree slope - ahead the climb up next to the reddish rock wall looked daunting. From the scree, two long zig-zags took us steeply up across a stony slope, where grasses and flowering herbs competed for the sparse ground in between the rocks.
As we ascended, the views opened up behind us over the upper parts of the valley we had just left and the massive form of Egri Tepe behind it. The cool wind at our backs made the climbing easier and a final push directly up brought us out to the grassy saddle of the Alaca Plateau - 700m above our campsite and two hours later.
The plateau is a summer grazing area and, from the saddle, we descended a grassy slope to pass through a flock of fat-tailed sheep and head towards the shepherd's hut. Here we learnt rule no.1 in sheep country - never get between a Turkish sheep dog and his flock! The two dogs gave us a very vocal and teeth-bared greeting, but the shepherd emerged from his hut and calmed them down. After this they decided it was just best to sit and keep an eye on us to make sure we didn't go back anywhere near their charges. With a cold spring of water and some shady rocks, it was a good place for lunch. When we were finished eating, the shepherd brought out a teapot for a cuppa, Turkish style - very pleasant.
Lunch over, we headed off across the stark landscape of the plateau, backed by the barren rocky slopes of the mountains. Descending to cross the steep ravine of the upper Kucuk Mangirci Valley, we climbed back up to the plateau with its spectacular wildflowers in varying shades of white, pink, blue and yellow, before starting our long and final descent - 700m down. Our knees cringed at the prospect and it was clear that Dr Voltaren would have some patients tonight. The path descended steeply to a point where we could see directly up the Emli Valley (our route tomorrow) and out across the countryside beyond the mountains.
From this point, the descent became even more steep, as we picked our way directly down a rock-jumbled corridor where we caught up with a group of North American / European / Australian trekkers. From here, it was across a boulder-strewn slope to reach the grassy meadows of the Oluk Sekisi Yayla - time to lie in the grass, compare notes on trekking in Turkey with the group, and simply contemplate the beauty of our surrounds. While stopped the fair Nello's mothering instincts got another workout - our young guide had outgrown his boots of the previous year and given himself a set of badly bruised toes - so it was out with our first aid kit for some podiatric TLC before setting off on the last leg. From our grassy vantage point we could see the cliff-line above our campsite way below.
Another steep descent, but this time on a winding footpath brought us back to the campsite, tired but full of great impressions of our first walk in the Taurus Mountains. It hadn't been a long trek, but, as in all mountains, height gained and lost is the measure of a walk.
We were back early enough to relax in the late afternoon sun, watching the brilliant blue butterflies flit about the spring and the cheeky ground-squirrels cavort on the grassy campsite (memo to self; watch out for their burrows when heading to the toilet in the dark). After a hearty meal cooked up by Ahmet, he and Mehmet headed back down to the village for the night, leaving us alone to enjoy the solitude of this beautiful site. By walking in June, we were definitely ahead of the crowds - one big advantage of this was that we snaffled an extra foam mattress each, crawled into our tent and fell comfortably asleep to the sound of the crickets of the Ala Daglar.
You can find an interactive map of David Briese's Alaca Plateau Trek on the EveryTrail website.
Please visit our Taurus Mountains page for detailed practical information.
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