Bursa: Of a Hike, and Thoughts Thereon

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Bursa,
Monday, July 7, 2008

Sunday was my "hiking day." (And I'm thinking of changing to Saturday, as I usually hike myself into such tiredness that I'm not able to get going very well on Monday (See notes with pictures). Then Sundays I can do the lighter diversionary excursions)).

From the previous Sunday's hike, in which I fell into a family picnic, I had seen the other side of the gorge and wanted to explore up into that far side. Which I did. Nothing much to say about it. (Although I can stretch it). It was just a lot of uphill hiking. And not always on determinable paths. The ground cover is light and sparse enough that it is often hard to determine a path from a merely clear, but leafed over, area. So I just keep going, hitting the path, loosing it, hitting it, and so on.

But there is a path. And I was surprised that it was as well trod as it showed in places. In fact, in two instances I found separate cash register receipts each dated within the last ten days. Which points out another fact. Parenthetically, I have a contact with a university professor of environmental law. She has recently been shocked--after all these years--by a report of some agency relative to the failure of the Arctic ice cap to coalesce this summer. And she urged me to "spread the word on climate change" here in Turkey.

Well, I am reluctant to share my cynicism with her. Or any one, for that matter. (On second thought, I'll provide a toxic dose of it in my next dated report). But surely the Turks could, if anything, give lessons in environmental degradation. I began my hike on this Sunday in a park of sorts where families were engaged in picnics. It overlooked the rocky--and now dry--creekbed that issued from the gorge. Waterworks perhaps above probably diverted the little late season water. In any case, the creek bed was a veritable trash bin. The Turkish mentality, I am sorry to say, is anything but, "pack it out." It is more like, "flick it, toss it, leave it." And thus, as I went ever higher up into the woods my way was confirmed often as not by sundry leavings--a plastic something--than actual path indications. Of course these indicators diminished the higher I went. But even the end of my hike at a certain prominence was marked by three 12-guage shotgun shells.

Which reminds me. The woods were remarkably quiet, except for insects. I have been told there are wild pigs therein, and perhaps bear. But I heard or saw nary a thing. Except for a couple of, I must say, pretty big scat leavings. Wild pig rootings can be seen everywhere. But I heard absolutely no sounds in the large quantities of dry leaves. And, the really large wild pigs I had seen in Australia ran away from human contact, so I wasn't very concerned.

The  only other thing almost worthy of remarking upon for this hike was that in the early stages, as I was trying to find my way in to a bona fide trail, I crossed into a fenced area (and fashioned a dog-dealing hiking stick), and then encountered two bee keepers. They signaled me to come ahead. The one fellow, though he had a head and upper body protection, seemed to have three visible stings on his lower lip. He seemed pretty stoic about it. I was invited to tea, but declined (thus loosing a good picture, I thought), and went on upward with their permission.

Later, coming down by a roadway from the bee keepers' place I came to a school of some sorts, from which was issuing some horrid Turkish music which I could hear for "miles" up in the gorge, and absolutely dominated the local residential area. It was some sort of celebration of which I had no energy nor inclination to investigate. The music was so bad and loud. Lines of men (I saw one little girl) were doing some sort of line two-step, or something, reminding me of pictures of American Shakers I have seen in history books. I thought, "You've gotta be brain-dead to enjoy that kind of music and activity." That's what tiredness and cynicism will do for you.

Nevertheless, I was able to catch a city bus from there and get somewhat close to my home. There a bath. And by the time I got to a local restaurant for something to eat, it was well after 10:00pm. Yes, they said they had food, but no fish--even though it was named as a Balik (Fish) Restaurant. I, again too tired to struggle with the language, settled for an orange Fanta and a chicken shish. I tried to sleep while waiting for the small salad and two sticks of chicken--which seemed to take 30 minutes. At about 25 minutes I tried to walk out, but the guy said, "Geliyor, geliyor," it's coming, it's coming. I think they actually went down the street for it.

I bought a beer on the way home, anyway. Drank most of it in bed, then was out of it. Thus of my ". . . having a great time in Turkey."
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