The Pontic Mountains, which stretch along the coast in the north of Turkey, have their highest heights just before Georgia, before turning into the Lesser Caucasus (see also The Formation of Mountains). The Kaçkar Mountains are also called the Pontic Alps; dark, rocky crests, needles of granite, blue cirque lakes, boulder fields. I could imagine that this is what the Silvretta will look like once the glaciers have melted away.
For three days I hike around and up to the highest peak, Kaçkar Dagi (3937 m). My improvised bivouac at Lake Deniz Gölü survives two showers, fortunately it doesn’t rain through the night. The second night I prefer to sleep in a mountain village. There are a lot of Turkish tourists there, among whom it seems to be a popular pastime to shoot wildly with their guns. The inhabitants of the village wear traditional costumes, but during the long winter they prefer to live in Izmir, without costumes.
A worthwhile trek, even if the journey to the start was endlessly long. Often there is only one minibus a day, for which I wait for 5 hours in a village. Five hours that I can’t even use because I keep being put off until an hour later. If there are passengers, we start…
By the way, the name Kaçkar comes from the Armenian Khachkar, the richly decorated cross stones that once stood around in this area as well…
Backpacking trip Middle East and Caucasus 2008
Turkish Black Sea Coast