Rose Valley Hike

Rose Valley Hike

Another morning of hot air balloon viewing from our hotel.

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.

Heading down into Meskinder Valley

At the base of the hill, we took the left fork to head in the Rose Valley direction.

The Meskinder trail runs under several large caves

Once past the caves we found ourselves in slightly wooded trail providing welcome shade.

Came upon an abandoned cafe

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).

There are no steps leading up to the main entryway, but there are steps to the right of the church that lead into the small chamber.

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.

View of the cafe on our left after we passed it while continuing straight
View of Rose Valley when we finally got the chance to turn right
Grapevines scattered here and there along the trail
The trail started to climb
Providing us with a nice view from up top
The structure to my left is the cafe we had passed earlier. The trail behind the cafe goes up to the Rose Valley sunset viewing point.
Beautiful rose colored fins
A short hike later, we saw this mirage/oasis – a juice seller at the base of Haçli Kilise.
The juice seller brings up all his supplies, including the chairs and umbrella, using a motorbike.
We decided to check out the church first before getting any refreshments
Bright colored fresco
With details in the ceiling
An adjoining cave
revealed an airy room
With a million dollar view
A pano of the view

Once we were done checking out the cave abodes, we got ourselves some tasty pomegranate juice and relaxed under the umbrellas.

The trail leading away from the cafe

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.

The Direkli Kilise

After crossing the bridge, we entered into the typical small and cramped chamber.

Ventured up the narrow steps and were greeted by
This!

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.

It even had a dome
Columns
The adjoining room was lower in height, but still 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.

Pigeon caves
We saw a new design in the rock wall which we’d never seen before – the vertical slits. What could that possibly be or serve?
This cryptic sign suggests that it was a beehive?
Saw this from a distance, and we made a beeline for it.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see other than this simple fresco.
However, the scenery across the way! Loved the sinewy fin leading to the wat-like cave home.
During the process of checking out the church, we realized that we had inadvertently entered through someone’s patch of grapevines.
Waiting to be harvested
A tree full of apples

After getting off private property, we traced our steps back into a dried out wash.

Rose colored rock walls

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.

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