Retire Mechanical engineer. Student at California State university Channel Island studiyingAbout Me

July 26, 2015

Visit to My Village - Part Eight

Hakan led the way, as usual. We walked another hour and I realized that we were on the trail we had taken the other day.  We reached the area with the loose rocks and Hakan warned me again to be 'sure footed.'

"If you slip and get your foot caught between rocks, you can break your leg or ankle."

We finally arrived just below the V-shaped flat area.

If you can picture it, the two summits, two very old volcanoes, are about two or three miles apart at the top; I am guessing, give or take and from a far distance, it looks like they are joined together.

They form a V-shape and at the bottom of the V-shape is a flat grassy area large enough to land a small aircraft. When we climbed the first summit, it was too far and there was not enough time to climb the other summit; the second part of my goal.

The area was a mixture of grass and rocks. We were coming from the mountain that we hiked the other day and at the joining of the two mountains, we bore to the right. We were crossing the side of the slope that would take us to the summit and were way above the tree line.

Hakan stopped I heard him exclaim, "I found it!"

"What were you looking for?" I yelled.

I was far behind and when I caught up to him, he showed me where the water was coming out from under a big boulder, hidden by greenery and moss. I was thirsty and eagerly cupped my hands to drink the refreshing cold water.

Just as we left our resting area, we were caught in a thunderstorm with heavy rain. There was no shelter here, no trees, nowhere to hide. We took refuge at the biggest rock we could find. Sometimes, we heard the thunder and the lightening at the same time.

"That was too close," Hakan remarked.

We waited over a half hour before the storm started easing up, and continued on a hiking trail so rugged that we were not sure whether we were on it or not.

Hakan stopped again in an area where we had better shelter, but by this time the rain had stopped. In this area were the man-made walls, just like on the other summit; trenches left from the First World War.

I was afraid Hakan was going to say we had to turn back if the storm continued, but the summit peaked out from behind the dark clouds.

Hakan laid down on his side and listened to the rocks.

"Here, listen to the earth," He said.

I followed his instructions. To me it sounded like a noisy waterfall.

"I hear waterfalls," I said.

"Yeah! Underground water," He said.

"What an amazing locality."

From these slopes Hakan said he had planned to go around to the other side of the mountain to climb to the summit, but because of the weather, he now thought we should go straight up.

Looking up, I did not know how we would traverse the steep and treacherous trail over the lose boulders but I followed him as he began the upward climb.

At four we stopped at a flat area to catch our breath. We had been hiking for over nine hours. Hakan said he thought this must be place where the morning rays first hit and he started looking around.

"There were people here."

"How do you know?"

"You see that rock? It has been turned over. Yes, there were people here before us."

We got up and hiked another twenty minutes, finally reaching the summit.

To my utter disappointment, we found cans strewn all around. Obviously people had camped here and left their trash everywhere. I took some pictures from different angles, but was not sure if they would come out because of the misty, hazy weather.

Looking all around me, I could see the summit of the mountain across from us.

I remembered as a boy, dragging logs from a place called Almali.

I recognized the flat, barren plateau where we had a hut, called a yayla. Every family in the village had one.

And I remembered hiking these mountains with my relatives.

I was lost in memories when I heard Hakan getting up to go.

As we were climbing down the back side of the mountain, we saw a shepherd on the other slopes way below us with a flock of sheep.

"I built a log fountain down here for watering the animals. We will stop and check the logs and we can have something to eat."

As we came closer, the shepherd turned his flock across the mountain and then downwards trying to beat us to the water. According to Hakan, the shepherd and his flock were from the village of Torul and had no right to be here. These were our lands.

Actually, it was no man's land, but for many years, this had been known to be the village of Evren's land. Hakan also reminded me that, with the new law passed, the land north of the village belongs to the government now.

Hakan fired a few shots. The shepherd stopped his flock and turned to the northeast. I think he changed his mind and decided not to confront us.

We hurried on down to the spring and Hakan began inspecting his logs.  The water come out of the ground, poured into the hollow logs, making a volume of water like a pond, so the thirsty animals could drink.

We sat to rest and I took out the cheese sandwiches mother had made. Hakan took out his lunch comprised of Kete, flat bread and some black olives.

"Here, have some of olives that you bought for your aunt." He smiled.

"Nothing escapes you does it? My brother warned me that you are a very proud and stubborn man. What is a kilogram of olives among relatives? I have been waiting for fifty years to do this. Frankly speaking, there was no way I could have accomplished climbing to the summits without your help, so why don’t we leave at that?"

After our joyful lunch, we headed back to the village, traveling on the side that used to be the trail we used when we dragged logs from the forest beyond these mountains. The memories came flooding back.

We followed the dirt road all the way back to the village.