The Saklikent Gorge

The Saklikent Gorge

The Saklikent Gorge is located about 30 miles from Fethiye, Turkey, taking about 1 1/2 hours by public bus to get there, going around mountains, through small villages and gravel roads. The bus honked its horn while passing through villages to let the locals know it was passing through. No bus stop needed.   It stopped wherever anyone flagged it down.

The gorge itself was amazing.   It’s about 1,000 feet deep and over six miles long, one of the deepest canyons in the world.  The hike started out easily enough on a boardwalk but soon things changed.  We had to cross over cold,  fast running water which required us to hold on to a tethered wire so we wouldn’t get washed downstream. But right after the rushing water coming from the mountain, the water warmed up as it came from a different place, but it didn’t slow down much.

Cold Rushing Water trying to push us downstream

Cold Rushing Water trying to push us downstream

Watch for falling rocks!

Watch for falling rocks!

imageBill was leading the way, sometimes giving me a helping hand when I couldn’t manage climbing to the next level. It was all very exciting. Water shoes were a requirement and I can see why. Walking over all sizes of submerged rocks made it quite difficult going forward. The water was murky and you couldn’t see the bottom. Sometimes the water was up to my ankles and then the next step I would be up to my knees or thighs. The water continued rushing past us. At certain points, the water was rushing so fast that it pulled my legs out from under me and I would  land on my butt, laughing all (or at least most) of the time. In fact, my new water shoes ended up with holes in them by the end of the day.

Sliding down wasn't easy

Sliding down wasn’t easy

We continued going forward, the crowd thinning out as the going got tougher.  I began to wonder if we should turn back as well, but I was having too much fun. At times, you had to find invisible footholds located somewhere under the water.  When we decided we couldn’t go any further because it was too steep, slippery, and no available toeholds, the fun continued, except going back down proved to be more treacherous.  At one point, I couldn’t figure out how to get down to the next level and a guy that was resting at that point advised me to slide in the water down the narrow passageway. It was all fine and dandy until my foot got caught on the side and the next thing I knew I was doing a split with one leg pointing upstream and the other downstream — with the water rushing over me up to my chest.   Somehow I managed to lift my leg over the rock and continue sliding down. At the bottom, I plunged into the water up to my head. That was as deep as it got, luckily.

imageWith all this excitement, it was hard to remember to look up to  enjoy the beauty of the rocks overhead.  The gorge was as wide as 10-15 feet at some points and sometimes so narrow that you could reach both sides with  your outstretched arms.  You could see rocks that had fallen from above and land in the narrow places of the canyon. I had to laugh when I saw people wearing helmets. It wouldn’t have done them much good if a rock had fallen from above. We all would have been crushed to death for sure.  After a few hours, we were returning to Fethiye with our shoes hanging out the window trying to dry them.

We ended the day with a delicious seafood dinner where fishmongers sold their fish in the center stall, cleaned and filleted them and then delivered them to any of the surrounding restaurants where they would prepare them for you.   The meal, consisting of bread, salad, water, soda, french fries, fried calamari, grilled salmon and sautéed shrimp, came to a total of $24. Add an extra $3 for the ice cream dessert.

The video below was taken by someone else. We were correctly advised not to take anything that you didn’t mind getting wet.

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