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One day of hiking and the experience will last a month.

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Author: Tatiana Ruban-Shchukovskaya, Hannover, Germany
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That's what one of the members of our group once said. And I completely agree with him, because the number of beautiful landscapes, "instagram" locations, picturesque easy and not so roads, plus a sincerely positive attitude of the group - all this was the key to an unforgettable experience, which from day to day only replenished, charging you with energy for at least six months ahead.

But first things first. So first, let me tell you how it all started for me.

Often, when I come home from work emotionally exhausted (and I work as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, but, alas, no longer in my home country), I like to watch videos on Youtube about mountains. These movies calm me down, give me strength, especially when it comes to difficult and successful climbs. And I have noticed a lot of interesting videos produced and edited by “Kuluar”. Thanks to them I began to dream about climbing Ararat or walking to the foot of Everest, but I understood perfectly well that my physical preparation was not enough for that. But you have to start somewhere! So I went to the Kuluarpohod website… That opened the door to my unforgettable journey.

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Choosing a hike with the sign “Easy” and “suitable for beginners” (before I was only in one-day hikes in the mountains), coordinating matters with my work schedule, I applied for participation. Moreover, somehow instinctively believed all the positive feedbacks and years of experience in organizing hikes. Because sometimes, unfortunately, it so happens that what is written on the website only slightly corresponds to reality. I was immediately added to the group in Telegram, where I met all the participants hike.

The manager Lyudmila always answered all of our questions about the preparations for the hike, ranging from financial issues, to the domestic ones, such as “and take sandals? Professional, clear and “without further ado.

Backpack is packed, tickets purchased – go for the vivid impressions!

My mistakes when packing my backpack

On the question “What to bring?” I would like to dwell in detail. Perhaps this will help someone to avoid my mistakes and lighten the load. Yes, in this campaign there is such an opportunity as to order the transfer backpacks. But it so happened that none of our group did not use it, hoping for their own strength and, as for me personally, it is always quieter when all you need is always with you and in easy access. We also had the opportunity to leave extra things in the hostel, where we lived on the first day, and on our return from the hike we safely took their things left.What can be extra, we suggested our guide Andrei Pylypiuk, about which I will tell later.

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So, having left unnecessary things in the hostel, my backpack still seemed very heavy. After returning from the hike, I analyzed my mistakes and here is what I came to. First, a personal first aid kit. As a health worker I was used to take not only necessary medicines, but also everything that can be useful in a campaign for others and “just in case”, such as cooling spray for bruises, ointments, drops, pills from diarrhea and other surprises … And so it came out that my first aid kit had a pretty decent weight. Do not forget that the teamleader is also a common first aid kit, so if you, like me, like to take a lot of medicines for all occasions, it is better to specify, what exactly will take the teamleader.

Secondly, sandals. Yes, they come in handy. But they were heavy on their own. Therefore, if possible, buy lightweight shoes. And in general, try to take lightweight things, such as synthetic sports jerseys, very lightweight dress for photos, etc.

Third, a manicure and makeup kit. Girls, I only used one nail file and mascara. Everything else is weight. You will be in the evening so very pleasantly tired that you will not want to apply makeup for dinner, and the warm sun, sea air will give you a fascinating shine in the eyes and a pleasant healthy blush on the cheeks. But! Sunscreen and hygienic lipstick are sacred. And a little moisturizer that would be good for all parts of the body (I had Nivea, I think it’s universal).

And separately about the socks. But here it’s not about weight, but comfort.Totally by chance I bought seamless socks in a sports store and it saved me from blisters. Yes, yes, it was this seam at the end of the sock brought a lot of guys trouble in the form of chafed toes. So take seamless socks exclusively to the hike.

And one more thing. Trekking poles. If you doubt whether to take them or not, then I say without a doubt – take them. They helped me a lot on the descents and ascents, greatly reducing the load on my knees and back. True, many airlines do not allow to take them on board. So if you’re planning to fly only with hand luggage, it’s better to clarify this point when buying tickets. As a last resort, you can find out before the hike, or you can rent trekking poles on the spot.

As you have understood, it is better to pay attention to the contents of your backpack, so as not to complicate your own hike, and do not hesitate to ask the manager, if in doubt about something about the things.

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And now directly about the impressions, which in a few days filled me with positivity.

I thought for a long time about how best to describe them. From the beginning there was an idea, to tell everything on each day, but then I realized that it is impossible, because I had to keep a hiking diary at that time. I will tell you about the things that struck me most, pleased me and brought a lot of joy, and the added photos will only complement and confirm my review.

When I read “Hiking hut to hut” I, for example, immediately imagined that a group of 12 people would sleep together in some small houses, 6-7 people in a room, with one bathroom for all. But I was on such an agreement, because most of the time you are on the road anyway, the main thing – the sea nearby. But what I saw, surpassed all my expectations! In such rooms, where we spent the night, I have never lived. It was just heaven! What a view opened from the balconies and terraces of our mini-hotels and guest houses! When you went out the wings of the rocks behind which the Mediterranean Sea was starting its show. And as the culmination – the solemn sunset. At once you want to write poems, you want to cry from happiness, to love and thank the Universe…

We were settled in double and triple rooms, some even had a Jacuzzi. All clean, cozy and beautiful, sometimes hotels were swimming pools, which was very helpful after a hot day on the road. Just a vacation suite!

One night, of course, was different from the others, when we lived somewhere high in the mountains, in a cozy house at Fatima, where the shower and toilet were outside, but this does not dampen the mood of the already spoiled luxury rooms for me. Rather, on the contrary, I saw the authenticity of life of Turkish working families who keep cows, goats, chickens, clucking, bleating and mooing mixed with the sound of the wind. I saw how much labor the locals put in to meet us tourists, to feed us deliciously and to put us in clean beds. It was very touching.

Speaking of food. Our breakfasts and dinners were always freshly cooked and hearty. I really enjoyed the hezelme Turkish pancakes that we had the opportunity to try at various places during the trek. These pancakes are a good meal during the heat: nourishing, tasty, and don’t make you feel heavy in your stomach afterwards. Ayran, pomegranate juice, lots of orange juice, specific borage juice – all of these were available to try during the trip.

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I was impressed with the logistics and organization during the trip. Everything worked as smoothly as a Swiss watch, the transfers were always on time, settling in without any problems. The organization of the trip was top-notch!

There was even such a case. While some of the guys were flying on paragliders, the other part of the group went to settle in. This, I think, happened in Oludeniz. What was our surprise when we were told at the hotel that “alas, quarantine, and we are actually closed, and how rooms were booked – we have no idea. Our guide Andrew quickly solved the problem: a few phone calls – and we have already gone on our minibus to another hotel. I want to note that we were hiking just during the strict lockdown in Turkey, so to find a spontaneous accommodation – not an easy task. But we had a great stay in the wonderful rooms, and those who flew, did not even know that we had a chance to sleep on the beach.

And how many wonderful lines can be devoted to nature, the scenery that opens before us on the way!

Under the endless, then playful and gentle, then the midday baking sun laid Lycian trail, along which on one side of you friendly smiling and beckoning sea, but on the other – Taurian mountains want to squeeze in their arms, to intrigue by the secrets of their heights. The mountains sang to us with the prayers of mosques, greeted us with lovely Lycian turtles and uncovered the secrets of ancient abandoned cities, tombs, reminding us of the immense antiquity of this road … For me it was a special feeling, especially when we approached Patara, and then met the dawn here on the beach, passing through the ancient part of the city. It was in Patara that, according to legend, St. Nicholas was born. He spent his childhood here and then became a bishop and served in Mir (also Turkey). We had the unique opportunity to visit the island of St. Nicholas, where he was originally buried, but then the relics were moved to the Italian city of Bari, to avoid being destroyed by the Turkish invaders. At every step there is a story, around every corner there is a legend…

When you walk slowly

While hiking the Lycian Trail, I learned that I belong to the category of people who do not have a very fast pace of movement, so to speak. I’m used to walking slowly, anywhere, if possible, not in a hurry, plus the lack of experience hiking. Accordingly, I always went somewhere behind, because most of the group, as it seemed to me, was better prepared physically than me. The first couple of days I was very nervous about this. There were terrible questions in my head: “What if they don’t wait for me? What if I get lost? What if something happens and I fall behind and they don’t find me?” and so on… Of course, these worries didn’t add to the joy of my journey. I tried to keep up, but as soon as I stopped to take a picture of a turtle, an unusual flower, a tree or a breathtaking landscape, the group was already somewhere ahead. But my worries were in vain. Yes, the guide is guided by the pace of most of the group, but they never leave anyone behind. They always waited for me at crossroads and never lost sight of me on descents. Then I decided that after the pauses I would just go before everyone else (at my pace a small break was enough for me), and the group caught up with me. And a little later the company of “slow walkers” joined in and it became a lot more fun. I’ll never forget how the three of us, quite a straggler, sang “Hey you, Stozhary, I’m going to your charms …” at the top. Just imagine: you can see a deep ravine from below, the burning sun from above, surrounded by such a beauty that it takes your breath away, and our Ukrainian song performed by the trio echoes in the Turkish mountains… It is inspiring!

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I would like to say right away that there are actually plenty of stops and time during the hike to take stunning pictures, have a snack and rest. Only in my case I came to the stops a little later, but this did not embarrass me one bit. There was enough time for everything. So do not be complex if you think that suddenly you will not keep up with everyone.

The guide, who raised a very high bar for me in my subsequent evaluation of all the other guides.

The mood of the group during the hike and the success of the hike itself always depends, first of all, on the guide. Our team leader was Andrey Pylypuk. In a word, he was amazing. He was impressed by the fact that he subtly felt the mood of the group and each participant individually, he was open in communication, but did not cross personal boundaries.

Andrey is a professional and a good organizer. He always clearly and patiently explained everything (I’ll never forget his composure when I just “flooded” him with questions about diving, because I was very afraid, but I really wanted to try). All of our transfers and itineraries went smoothly and on time.

He knows his business, he inspires confidence and you want to follow a man like that.

I enjoyed the games he organized in the evenings when the group could get to know each other better, laugh together and relax. This unites us and creates a collective spirit, so necessary in a campaign, where all age boundaries, professions and language preferences are erased.

Andrew is a good storyteller. We always open our mouths and listen to his adventures in the caves, under water, in the mountains … And he, believe me, has a story to tell.

And Andrei – a professional photographer. All the best pictures are made by him. He gave us all a lot of great individual and creative group photos. It was great and very enjoyable.

Thank you Andrew! You really set the bar high. Now I am afraid that on my next trips I will expect no worse work from the guides because now I will compare all of them to you.

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And lastly…

You never come back from a hike the same. Mountains have a wonderful property to get into your soul, turn it inside out and show you who you really are and, if necessary, heal your wounds. Such are nature’s therapists.

After the hike I started running, which I had never done before, because I had no strong motivation. And now it has appeared. I want to go hiking more and to improve my physical fitness for that, so now I run with joy.

I started pulling up my English because it was awkward when you can’t articulate your request, question or express your enthusiasm and ask someone else to do it for you.

I began to treat my difficult work differently, with gratitude, because it is thanks to it that I have money for such trips, which, in turn, charge me with positivity and I give it to my patients.

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I have vivid memories, pictures and stories that I am proud and happy to share with my friends. Proudly, because the first step has been taken toward more challenging hikes. Thank you, Couloir, for doing a great job organizing and running a hike like this. You managed to “hook”, to cause a desire to travel with you further!

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