Narpuz Valleys, Ala Daglar
Key information: Narpuz Valleys, Ala Daglar
- High, beautiful valleys in the Ala Daglar range.
- ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!
- Walkopedia rating80
- Natural interest15
- Human interest2
- Negative points0
- Total rating80
- Length: 11km
- Day walk
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
THIS PAGE IS AT AN EARLY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT. PLEASE HELP US BY MAKING SUGGESTIONS AND SENDING PHOTOS! THANK YOU!
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!
The Narpuz Valleys
The western flank of the Ala Daglar is cut by a number of deep ravines, such as the route up to Embler and the Cimbar Canyon. As we were stuck on this side due to the late snow in Yedigoller and could not do the planned walking there, Mehmet decided to guide us into another of these ravines near the campsite - one that led to a pair of high valleys known as Narpuz 1 and Narpuz 2. What made the walk interesting was that it was not one that many foreign trekkers get a chance to do.
We had a late start, after returning to the campsite from our night in the village. Yet again, the sky was cloud-free as we headed off, thinking that a light cool-down walk would be very nice. It seemed that way initially, as we climbed gently up a gravel road and over a humped spur to descend toward the small valley of Narpuz 1. On the way, Mehmet's English lessons continued, as the fair Nello reverted to teacher mode.
Once we reached the dry stream bed, we could look up into the head of the valley - the stony track seemed to stop at an immense rock wall. However, as for the Embler climb, when we reached the cliffs, a narrow gap emerged to the right and through it flowed a babbling stream that quickly disappeared underground in the rocky stream bed below.
We followed the clear rushing meltwaters up into this gorge, picking our way along the rockface or hopping from boulder to boulder in the stream as it tumbled down from higher up. Snowdrifts still hung about in the shady part of the stream bed. We skirted these, but eventually the channel was blocked by a 6m waterfall, forcing us to leave it and start heading up the rocky side-walls. This was mountain-goat country and we were obliged to use hands as well as feet to climb up the steep rock - my exposure meter entered the yellow zone on a couple of narrow ledges, but we eventually descended back to the stream bed higher up and pressed on.
Climbing up a loose scree slope, we reached the high valley of Narpuz 2, surrounded by grey orange-tinted rock walls on both sides - 3767m Demirkazik to the left and 3330m Bozkaya to the right. Our cool-down walk had turned into a 700m climb, so we stopped for lunch in the little bit of shade offered by a large boulder. The fair Nello decided this was a good place for a siesta, so Mehmet and I pushed on to a ridge a further 200m higher to get a grand overview of this arid high valley and the mountains that contained it.
Then it was time to descend - one more chance to boot-slide down a snowdrift, collect Sleeping Beauty at the lunch-spot boulder and head back down. While we were away, she had discovered the remains of a mountain goat (6-years old from the rings on its horns, according to Mehmet) that had clearly been torn apart and devoured by something quite large. The shepherds say that wolves still live in the mountains. On the descent we avoided the more aerial parts of the rock scramble that we had on the way up, by sticking closer to the stream. Once through the gap, it was a long trudge home in the hot afternoon sun.
The walk up a narrow stream bed and rock climb out of it added to the variety of landscapes that we had seen. While disappointed not to have walked to the eastern side of the mountains and visited the Kapuzbasi Waterfalls, we had greatly enjoyed our time in the Ala Daglar. Nonetheless, our feet were happy that it was our last walk - six days spent largely walking on scree of varying size and thickness had left them in need of a few days rest before heading on to the Kackar Mountains.
That evening we shared a last mountain dinner with Mehmet the guide, Mehmet the cook and one of the shepherds who had dropped in with his flock of sheep and goats. It was an interesting comparison of the old way of life (shepherding) with the new (adventure tourism) - for the moment they seem to coexist happily, but each year more and more walkers and climbers come to these mountains. Will the old way of life in the mountains survive?
The next morning we headed down to Cukurbag for a quick shower and change of clothes at Ahmet's house. Then, after farewelling him and his family, we were off by bus to the big smoke of Kayseri for a couple of days to catch up on laundry, shopping for supplies and correspondence. It was a break our feet enjoyed (and needed) before our next lot of trekking in the Kackars.
You can find an interactive map of David Briese's Narpuz Valleys Trek on the EveryTrail website.
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