Kackar, Pontic Alps, Turkey

Kackar, Pontic Alps, Turkey

This walk will take you through the Kackar Mountains set in the Pontic Alps. The Pontic Alps are a chain of mountains running along the Black Sea coast. The medieval town of Erzurum was formerly the gateway to Persia. Also in the region was the ancient Greek colony of Trabzon on the Black Sea.

Kackar Mountain

flickr image by keremtitiz

The Kackar mountains of the Pontic Alps harbour a variety of wildlife including bear, wolf, chamois, eagles, vultures, Caspian snow cocks, and partridges. People in this area once practiced Christianity, but religious belief has shifted toward Islam. The annual Kafkasor festival at Artvin, features bullfighting and folk dancing, and serves as a reminder of non-Turkish influences in the area.

Kackar, Pontic Alps

To get to the Kackar mountains walk, you can catch a flight on Turkish airlines from Istanbul to Erzurum or Trabzon. Alternatively, take a long-distance bus along the Trabzon-Artvin-Yusufeli route or the Erzurum-Tortum-Yusufeli route. You could also take a taxi or minibus.

The Kackar mountains walk starts at Yaylalar village and finishes at Barhal village. The best summer weather for this hike is July to September, though it may also be tackled during the winter season, especially February and March. The trek takes 10 to 14 days, over a total distance of 130km. Along the way, you will ascend a pass of 3305m, as well as scale Mount Kackar 3932m, the fifth highest peak Turkey. Be sure to bring excellent hiking boots and a warm sleeping bag for this trek.

Kackar, Pontic Alps in Turkey

flickr image by onurati

The hike may be divided into two portions. The first one starts at Yaylalar village, on the Hevek River. From there you will pass through Hevek valley, follow some cliffs, and then climb through Hevek Pass. From there you will make your way past Damla Golu lake into the Davali valley, where you will see black cattle at pasture. Then you make your way over Kavran Pass toward Kackar. You will descend past Derebasi Lake, Okuz Cayiri Lake, and then reach Yukari Kavron village, where there are cafes, a pension, and a village shop. In Yukari Kavron village, you may wish to dine on skewered kebabs, pancakes, yoghurt and halva.

There is a campsite at Buyuk Deni lake. Nearby are Metenek Lake and Kara Deniz Lake, where you may also find campsites. You will climb through Nalatleme pass, then reach Dupeduzu valley where campsites exist. Pass by Deniz Lake, where a small campsite can be found. Complete your climb of Kackar mountain, where you will find a register at the summit. You can then quickly descend to Yaylalar.

The second part of this trek begins again at Yaylalar. From here you will make your way up the Altiparmak massif. You will follow a mule path to Karamola village, cross the yayla (pasture) know as Korahmet (‘blind Ahmet’), and reach Okuz Lake. From there you can make your way into Bulbul (‘nightingale’) valley, pass Kara (black) Lake. The descent here takes you by lovely watermills and beehives to the Barhal river. In town, you can see a venerable Georgian 10th century basilica, the Church of the Four Apostles. It has now been converted into a mosque, and the frescoes have been whitewashed.

Date posted: 18th February, 2016

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