Today was quite possibly my favorite day in Turkey, because we got to go on a beautiful hike in Rose Valley via Meskinder Valley. Our initial plan was to hike the Red Valley loop as well, but Joe needed WiFi to get his trading systems ready for the NY market open, and we had run out of time, so the Red Valley loop was scrapped at the end.
Our biggest mistake was walking to the Meskinder trailhead as that cost us 45 minutes. Should have just cabbed it there as the hike there was rather uninspiring.
The Meskinder trailhead is located a little past the Kaya Camping grounds. Once at the fork, we hugged the wall bearing left and followed the Red Rose sign that was spray painted on the wall.
After another short distance we hung right, which cars aren’t allowed to enter.
At the base of the hill, we took the left fork to head in the Rose Valley direction.
Once past the caves we found ourselves in slightly wooded trail providing welcome shade.
The rock face also started transforming from ragged edges to beautifully wind and rain-shaped fins.
This was about when we lost the shade and was completely exposed to the sun. A short distance later, we came upon the Küçük Kilise (church).
Shortly after, we came upon another cafe. We were supposed to turn right, but he told us it was closed, which was odd because we later exited the Rose Valley from that exact trail.
Once we were done checking out the cave abodes, we got ourselves some tasty pomegranate juice and relaxed under the umbrellas.
At this point, we had been walking for about 3 hours since we left the hotel, and it was already after 2:30PM. The hike itself wasn’t very long, but we had wasted precious time hiking to the Meskinder trailhead, and finding our way because of all the unclear and contradictory signs we encountered along the hike. We had to make a decision as to whether we continue on to Red Valley, or turn around to try to make it out of the valley to get WiFi before market open. After some hemming and hawing, we decided to turn back.
We did not take the same route we had come up from, but decided to push our luck by completing the Rose Valley loop because there was another cave church I had wanted to check out.
After crossing the bridge, we entered into the typical small and cramped chamber.
Who would have thought to carve out a “cathedral” from rock. Of all the cave churches we’ve seen so far, this one is by far the largest, grandest, and most impressive.
As if the scenery along the hike wasn’t beautiful enough, this was the cherry on top.
After exiting the church, we headed down the trail that was supposedly closed.
After getting off private property, we traced our steps back into a dried out wash.
The return was quick, and before we knew it the cafe appeared in front of us.
By the time we made it out of the valley, it was a little past 3:30PM. Joe got WiFi signal just in time. Phew!
After taking care of what he needed to. We got back into town, and settled in for dinner at Büyük Adana Kebap. We were famished!
Today’s hike was only 6.5 miles, but it took us 5 1/2 hours because of all the way finding and stops for photos.
For now, Red Valley will have to wait until we return in the future.