Despite dire forecasts and distant rumblings of thunder, rain gear was packed and we headed out to explore the many valleys around Göreme on foot. The trail heads are about 1 kilometer outside of town, very close to the open air museum.
It was hard to get lost, yet there were very few marked trails or maps that actually had a scale and detailed trails. It's basically just a series of valleys you can loop in and out of without much else to veer off to.
Perhaps a dozen other people were encountered the entire day, including some Turks who has gotten their SUV so bottomed out that not even a tractor could help them out. But mostly everyone else we encountered were friendly hikers and farmers.
There wasn't a lot of posted signs or directionals, and when there were, they didn't always reconcile with the maps. Still, there were dozens of caves and churches to explore on your own. In between the fairy chimneys, there were fields filled with fruit trees and furrows of crops, and we would see farmers on their unirrigated land, bringing in water by truck and watering the crops by hand, with buckets and collecting pigeon droppings for the caves.
As always, I wished I had better lighting to do the landscape justice as it was overcast without a shadow to be seen. At least it didn't rain!
For the most part, it was fairly easy hiking.
The main trail was usually wide and sandy, but the deeper into the valleys you went, it got more rugged and vertical. You could pretty much see the points where tour buses would drop off masses to walk to a certain point in the valley, take some pictures and then turn back around. It was rewarding to get past that point, and climb to the many fairy chimneys that cropped up around every turn. As you climbed, the trail got steeper and the sand and gravel made for some slides on the descend, but over all it was pleasant as it could be. There was very little garbage strewn on the trail either, which ofttimes is my top criteria for weather I could call a hike enjoyable or not.
We had a nice four-legged companion for a couple hours of the hike. Despite trying to feed his scrawny ass everything we had with us, he politely spat out the granola bars and then looked up at us with hopeful eyes. It took a while, but he finally lost intrest and found a new group of hikers to journey with. Hopefully they had jerky.
Red and Rose Valleys were both gorgeous. Every time you looked up, a new, interesting rock formation would erupt from the earth.
Really now. I could just go on and on with the pictures. It was an incredibly dramatic place.
Some of the cave churches were so tucked away, the paintings were really vivid. I had no idea what this one was called as we just happened up on it and there were no signs or plaques or anything on the maps to clue us in that they existed.
Bring plenty of water is there was no place to