|Gorulebilecek yrlere tarihler
summer poeple congregate at river banks to raft in the gyrating rapids of the
rivers. There is an opportunity to take part in a daily trip or a weekend escape
which organizes rafting at a variety of rivers throughout Turkey. The best
rivers to white water raft are the Koprucay, Dalaman, Melen, Firat (Euphrates)
and Coruh rivers. Coruh, for example, has a rapid of a staggering 185 km.
strecthing between Yusufeli-Ispir. The river, famous for its unspoiled wildlife,
springs in the Mescit Mountain and flows a length of 335 km. until it merges
into the Black Sea. The
Koprulu Canyon, on the other hand, with its interesting geological formations,
its flora and its antique site of Selge, covers an area of 36.614 hectars. This
rapid is also famous for its view of the Meditteranean cypress forest. The
canyon offers the opportunity to raft for about 12-13 km. You can seize this
opportunity by taking part in commercial tour organizations. The fourth World
River Championship took place at the Artvin part of the Coruh river, which in
turn acknowledges the river as one of the best rapids in the world for white
water rafting.The high season for rafting is considered to be between June and
September. This form of activity does not require an outstanding talent for
watersports. Everyone who is over 14 and knows how to swim can take part in this
activity. If you want to force your strength to its limits by experiencing at
the samr time a harmonious team spirit, you should have a go at rafting....
Coruh River: The Coruh River is rated among the best ten white
water rafting locations in the world. This river is themuch more wilder
lesser known cousin of the famous Euphrates. The main reason Coruh
qualifies as an exellent rafting place is because it stretches 350 km.
from the point it springs high in the mountains (3500 m.) until it flows
into the Black Sea (sea level=0 m.). In the high water of early spring,
the rapids of the Coruh are unrivalled. The river flows across magnificent
canyons, crystal-clear streams, branches of the river, and rice fields,
productive orchards on the river bank. You can ocassionally come across
brown bears, Georgian churches and castles of historical value, mountain
summits covered with snow. The seemingly endless rapids and leaps surging
through deep gorges in a frantic bid to reach the sea merge with the
ancient music of the local gaida and pump the adrenaline to its outer
limits. The region is not developed nor tourism-orientated, but the locals
are extremely hospital and will contribute to the pleasure you receive
from the whole trip. Long rivers like the Coruh require camping overnight
only to continue the day. You will soon discover that camping can be fun
after a long day of struggling against the river. There is an opportunity
to spend a day to trek the mountains stretching along the Northern Black
Sea and explore the tranquil valleys and climb to Byzantine and Georgian
castles for spectacular views. If you manage to climb as high as 1800 m.
you will get to see the churches of Georgian monks who lived as hermits in
a secluded environment. These timeless mountains have been overlooked by
invading armies for centuries and are still well beyond the reach of the
Canyon : As one of the true wonders of nature, the canyon is reached
after an exhauting drive of 43.5 km. on a narrow asphalt track with sharp
curves leading eventually to the Toros (Taurus) Mountains. Despite the
difficult road conditions, the road has its own beauty as it is surrounded
by pines reflecting all shades of green. You get the impression that God
must have favoured this part of the Toros Mountains while deeply inhaling
the scent of pine. A question rises from the unconscious: how long are
these age-old woods going to last in a world urbanizing faster every year?
This doubt is not without its reasons. Every year a single match burns
hectars of woods, destroying with the aid of the sun and wind within a few
hours what nature strived to perfect in thousands of years. A single match
thrown in the name of a political party, in the name of a race, or just to
clear the land for constructing buildings....In 1994 a great fire started
in these vast woods. Thousands of acres were burned down before the fire
brigade could extinguish the fire, leaving the area barren. How many
inhabitants of the wildlife perishing in the fire is still unknown. Signs
of this fire are still clearly visible at the 27. km. of the track-road to
the canyon. The signs last for about 4 km. Six years have past since the
fire and reforesting has been carried out, but it will take years for
nature to fing back her equilibrium.
Rafting complexes and restaurants at the river bank are visible after the
Beskonak location on the road. The complexes, which continue to stretch
alongside the road until the canyon is reached, are not for those who
prefer luxury as they look more like huts than all-inclusive complexes.
The same is true for the restaurants, but you can be sure that you will
get a clean and fresh meal at any of these restaurants. Try out the
succulent meat dishes, particularly grilled mutton or chicken and trout.
Any freshwater fish you order is guaranteed to be fresh since they are
caught straight from the river. The restaurants also serve alcohol. There
is also a trout farm near the restaurants where you can eat the freshest
trout available in the region. After having stopped for supper, you are
about to reach the canyon and the demanding road will finally come to a
finish. At the entrance of the canyon, formed over thousands of years by
the waters of the Koprulu river, you will see a Roman bridge.
The Roman bridge, today called the Oluk Bridge, is still used as a means
to pass across the river and wide enough even for trucks. The bridge,
dating from the 2nd Century A.D., overlooks the canyon from a height of 27
metres and is built of cut stone with the overlapping technique. The
waters of the canyon, and other streams in the region, have clear water
during summer. This is mainly due to lack of rain in the summer, rain
causes the water to appear murky. If you happen to be at the canyon in
summer, take the opportunity to plunge yourself into the cool and
refreshing waters of the region. This is a good alternative readily
welcome by most visitors in hot and sunny days at the canyon.
You might also go sightseeing as there is another historical bridge, the
Bugrum Bridge, located about one km. from the Oluk Bridge. Another
alternative might be to have a picnic at the river bank. Please remember,
though, not to pollute the environment as this is a national heritage.
Rafting at the river is not as wild as rafting (or rather rollercoasting)
at Coruh. Rafting in this location will feel more like a gentle ride with
lots of panoramic view. Expert rafting guides brief the group on National
Park safety procedures , and use of equipment . Participants may choose
between an inflatable canoe or raft. Canoes offer a more active rafting
trip. No previous rafting experience is necessary. Rafts hold 8-9 people
and are manned by a river guide.
Gear necessary for Rafting
The following list explains all equipment you will
need on your rafting trip, some items, like the rafting gear and equipment,
are supplied by the organizer, whereas other items need to be brought by
you. All necessary items are: tent for two people, kitchen and food
preparation equipment, lifevest, casque, paddles, neoprene diving suit (if
weather is cold), anorack, boots, sleeping bag, mats (isolation material
placed in tents under the sleeping bags), water bottle, pullover, light,
pocketknife, swimsuit, beret, woolen socks, walking boots, private toilet
materials, T-shirt (lots of shirts as you will get wet), sun cream, short,
any worn sports shoes (to wear while rafting, you don't want your
expensive walking boots to get soaking wet), small backpack, sweat shirt
with long sleeves, spare trouser, raincoat.
THE 3. INTERNATIONAL
WHITE WATER RAFTING TRIATHLON COMPETITION
categories of the competition were General Category, Women's, 40 plus. The first
three competitors received a total reward of 100.000 DM. Players from countries
like Turkey, Germany, Holland, Sweden and the United States participated in the
triathlon. The competition started with a run of 7 km. This was followed by 3
km. of white water rafting across the Dim river. The triathlon was completed
after a cycling lap.
of one lap in cycling was 6,5 km. Competitors in Men's category finished 3 laps
while competitors in Women's category finihed two. A final run of 5 km. followed
The winner in
the Men's general category of the 3. International White Water Rafting was the
two times champion 22 years old Hasan Kandemir. He was followed by Hasan Ozer
and Ibrahim Ozer.
The first three
competitors in the Women's General Category were the winner Zeynep Atabay,
the Swedish Asa Mattssaw, and Aysel Palandiz; the first three competitors in the
40 plus Men's Category were the winner Fikret Atay, Coskun Altunbozar, and
three competitors in the 50 Plus Men's Category were last year's European
champion, the Dutch postman Henk Knol, Yuksel Kilic and the Dutch Frank De Boer.
diffcult game a ceremony was organized where the first three competitors recievd
their prizes. 71 year old Oktay Tiyensan, who took part the second time in the
race, received an honour plate presented by the famous singer Aysegul Aldinc.
competition was a great opportunity to introduce rafting spots in Turkey to an
international platform. Therefore organizations like IGS, the Alanya Nature
Sports Club (ALDOSK), Alanya City Council, Kestel City Council, Alanya Chamber
of Commerce and Industry, Trans Nature, 3.S Computer, Aselsan and Best FM
sponsored this race.
A Delightful Weekend at Erzincan
weeks ago we traveled to Erzincan with the Outdoor Club, who celebrated
their third year as a non-profit organization. We
rafted at the Firat river (also known as Euphrates), did waterskiing at
the dam, and trekked on the Munzur mountains. Unfortunately, we could not
manage to parapant, glacier climb and visit the magnificent caves in just
three days. I wished I was a trout in Euphrates, that way I never had to
leave the river and raft in the waters a lifetime. As the raft overturned
I recognized that this was not such a good idea after all. But I still
wish I was a raven in the Munzur mountains and constantly gaze on the
beautiful mountain flowers. Perhaps it would be better to be human again
during winter though.....
I started to shout in delirium at the mountain trek. And screamed louder
thinking my voive is not so bad after all, "black raveeeen..."
The sun was burning as we ascended the Ergen Mountain. The camping place
at Ardicli Lake was well behind us. As the group started to get lowered
the tempo at the first slope I managed to walk as the shephard of the
group behind me, only to realize that our guide, the Governor of Erzincan,
Recep Yazicioglu, was far in front of me and not with the group as I
thought. He got bored waiting for us to climb to the top and continued to
walk the trail. He was soon out of sight and we followed our guide by the
direction of his voice echoing from the trail. We did not caught a glimpse
of him again during the trek. This is quite embarassing, a middle-aged
politician walking way faster than sporty 30 somethings.
Search for Nature
My intimate friendship with raven did not start in the mountains, it
reached far back to the day at the Erzincan aiport, the day before we
started to trek. On our way to Erzincan I desparately looked for wildlife,
but saw only schools of raven instead. They were everywhere, covering the
poplars, the sky, the fields with a balck cloud. As the road came to a
junction and branched off to Erzincan and Tunceli, we got aquainted with
military vehicles, with controls, and with military units blocking the
road. As our vehicle stopped for a break and I prepared to eat my
sandwhich, I suddenly realized that a heavyly armed member of the armed
forces was watching me from behind. The dawned at last: the wildlife was
forced to emigrate from this region leaving behind only the strongest and
most enduring creatures. Nevertheless, I was wrong. Wildlife was there,
but one needed to shout for them to come forward.
As I increased our
tempo while climbing I met at last one of the pioneering groups. One
person in the started to howl like a wolf. I got the joke and, leaving my
prejudice behind, replied "You need to ask the wolf to guide in the
mountain." (The wolf is the oldest and most cherished creature in our
homeland, Central Asia, it still is cherished in Turkey. The wolf is also
the emblem of the nationalistic party, the MHP).
The howling person
was Soner Genel, the mayor of Yaylabasi and a member of the MHP party. We
soon started a converstaion while trekking. He told that he has been
trekking and hunting in the Munzur Mountains since his childhood, and that
he disliked the tourists polluting these beauties.
As we ascended the
mountain flowers diversified. We were surrounded by little flowers
resembling tulips, fresias, and greaniums. I did not see so many different
types of flowers even when trekking in the Kackar Mountains at the Black
Sea region. For the first time since our stay in Erzincan I regretted not
bringing my camera with me. As we turned a huge rock, two fat partridges
tried to fly away in a plumb manner. The noise of their wings made
resembled that of a helicopter. Locals tell me that although these
partridges do not fly well, they are almost impossible to hunt.
As my partner,
Sonel Genel, bent over and examined the soil I got curious. He tells me he
saw footprints left by bears. Judging from the footprints, this giant
mammal must have been extremely agile as it crossed paths almost
impossible to pass. Soner Genel pointed at the giant rock formation and
said: "His den is behind this rock. I know him because we met last
winter." I asked ironically: "Why didn't you shoot him?"
The reply was embarassing after my ironic attitude: "Bears multiply
at an extremely slow rate. The youngsters are fully grown only after six
years, and spent all this time with their mother. We do not touch any bear
unless it does extreme harm. I met a friend who told me a bear destroyed
all his hives in the mountains; he he couln't bring himself to shoot the
animal who stood right in front of him."
The Atom Ant Governor
We reached Ortakaya at 2300 meters and were extremely exhausted. Our guide,
the Erzincan Governor Yazicioglu, who rushed ahead, was waiting for us. I
manage to reach Ortakaya with the pioneering group, but my own group, the
Outdoor Club was presumably still trying to climb the first slope on the
mountain. We learned that they gave up climbing and lied on their backs
gorging themselves with the magnificent view of the Erzincan Valley, the
Euphrates, and the snow capped Otlukbeli Mountains.
Some more climbers managed to join our pioneering group as we started to
ascend to the Ergen mountain summit at 3200 metres. As our guide rushed
again ahead of us I finally knew that he was in fact Atom Ant disguising
himself as the Governor. He explained our group: "We will reach the
summit in 2.5 hours." He must have been joking.....
The cool breeze peculiar to Munzur mountains started to whirl as we ran
down a slope. We must have been a bit rowdy as the horses, grazing down
the hill, sied away and galloped out of sight.
As we ascended
again up a slope, Yazicioglu was again waiting at the top. We watched him
climbing the slope effortlessly without lowering his tempo. Half an hour
later, only four of us were still able to follow our guide. These four
were me, of course, Sener, a yound reader of Outdoor magazine ,
"Hande," the gourmet of Aktuel magazine, and Gulden working for
the same magazine....
The wind rose and temperatures became cooler as we approached the summit.
Our overlooking view of the Erzincan Valley was now obstructed by covering
clouds from the West. It was raining on surrounding mountains. The rain
from which we suffered the first two days during our stay at Erzincan was
coming back. We were now walking on snow. We even walked through a meadow
covered with crocuses. As exhausted as we were, we now had to hop over the
crocuses in order not to trample them down....
Atom Ant has a
The energy reserve I stored from the feta cheese and mountain honey was
now beginning to get exhauseted. Our group of four sweated. One of us ran
after Yazicioglu and begged him to give a break. Looking at our conditions,
he resolved to take a break. We ate dried figs and chocolate to pump up
our energy levels. Only then had we enough energy to converse with
Yazicioglu while resuming walking.
famous for his campaigns against the consume of alcohol and cigarettes. He
walks and runs three days a week. He learned waterskiing not at a holiday
resort, but at the Almus dam in Erzincan, and he is proficient enough in
waterskiing that he can perform a "solo." His favourite
acitivity nowadays, however, is rafting.
We had a talk about rafting the day before we took part in rafting at
Firat (Euphrates). The governor's raft turned over at the second rapid,
now termed as the "rapid which managed to sink the Governor." He
made a laughing comment on this incident: "A local told me to give up
rafting. The local people are afraid of this river. They received too much
pain from their loved ones drowning in the river and from the damage the
river causes to their fields. By attempting to develop tourism in this
region we aim to make peace between the locals and the river."
These claims of
developing tourism is not unfounded. Yazicioglu initialized clubs for
outdoor activities. The Nature Sports Association, a major non-profit
association organizing outdoor activities, was founded thanks to him. He
also helped the association to acquire parachutes, paramotors, and
equipment needed for mountaineering and rafting. The association is now
renting the equipment and giving guiding services.
As our topic of
conversation changed from sport to issues in democracy and the power of
international profit organizations, we realized that the summit of Ergen
mountain was already visible. We could clearly distinguish the snow
covered rock of the summit. We only had to walk a couple of hundred
metres. Black clouds touched the summit as they traveled. The summit might
be dangerous in windy and rainy weather and insisting to reach it might
have been a futile act. "Let's return I will show you two big holes"
said Yazicioglu. We all agreed. We all would greet the Akbaba Hill (3400)
behind us as we returned to Istanbul.
I could not believe my eyes as I saw pieces of water pipes made of baked
clay. These were the remnants of water ways constructed by the Armenians.
The water ways have been used until the last century, to carry snow water
from the mountains to the city. This diligent folk, who once adorned the
city with gardens, orchids and wineyards, were forced to emigrate in 1916
after some members of their folk, misguided by the Russian occupation,
turned the region into a bloodbath. Did the soil miss its old friends, the
At a short break,
we ate snow as if it was icecream. Yazicioglu told of his dream. Last year
experts came from Switzerland to carry out preliminary studies to assess
whether the Ergen Mountain is suitable to be world's second biggest skking
resort. The second biggest skiing resort can come true step by step if a
source is found willing to pay 55 million USD.
Raven floated on
the summit like eagles. I was told that these were ravens who never
descended to the valley. What would it be like to live up here in the
I did not have time elaborating this idea as the Governor rushed down to
watch Erzincansport playing a football match. We descended as if we had
wings and ran down the snow strips resembling ski paths. This was really
fun and we forgot about how exhausted we actually were. We descended in 50
minutes a path that took us four long hours to ascend.
Our friends who
decided not to continue to climb the first slope and to make a picnic at
this spot had long returned to the city by taking a minibus. The only
person who waited for us was Soner Genel. We saw the Governor off to the
football match and prepared a coffee at the Ardicli river bank with Genel.
We drank our coffee with the view of the mountains hovering above us.
Soner Genel told us that Ardicli river was formerly a swamp. The Yaylabasi
City Council turned the swamp into a lake and supplied it with freshwater
carp. The carp population grew into enormous numbers within a year and the
city council was now considering hiring fishermen to reduce the population.
I told Genel about the mountain flowers I could not get out of my mind and
sighed: "I wish I had my camera with me to take a picture of these
flowers." Genel came up with a great suggestion "Me and my
brother started to take pictures of the flowers since last year with the
intention to form a catalogue of the flora of the mountains. We could give
you the photos we have taken so far." This lesson well thought to me
by a Mayor of the Erzincan district who was a member of the nationalist
party MHP, the party I had prejudices against!
As we went to take
the pictures we came across the Javelin field of Yaylabasi town. I noticed
that the locals reared wonderful horses for the tournament. They even had
calm horses for visitors who intended to make an equestrian safari. "We
welcome equestrian safari lovers and those who want to climb on Ergen or
Akbaba mountains on horseback." said the mayor. "We can also
provide guides if one desires, and free accomodation at our guesthouse."
As I mentioned at
the beginning of my article, wildlife did not really extinguish in this
region, I only had to shout for them to come forward. As I was descending
Munzur I saw birds displaying wonderful colours. For the first time in my
life I saw cranes in the wild. Among the different species of cranes I
could only identify the Nun Crane.
But the real surprise revealed itself to me while we were driving inside
one of the old highway tunnels not used anymore (well, we did). We hurried
to catch our flight to Istanbul as a bird took off in front of the exit of
the tunnel. This was the most beatiful bird I saw in my life with colours
like a rainbow. I shouted in extacy "God, look at these colours..."
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