26-Mar-2006 -- On this morning I did not rise as early as yesterday when I had visited 38N 31E, because the circumstances were different today: now I planned to make a larger tour which would allow me to visit three Confluences, but anyhow this could not be done in one day only. Therefore I had set up plans to get to two Confluences today, stay in the big city of Konya over night, and try a third Confluence tomorrow, which would then leave me enough time for the long way back to my residence in Side.
So on this morning I took my time to have my breakfast with the other guests in the hotel, and did not set off before a quarter past 8 a.m. I filled up the car's tank again; so far it had proven to be quite economic. This time I drove along the coastal road in easterly direction, but already a couple of kilometres after Manavgat I left the coastal road towards the Western Taurus Mountains (Batı Toroslar), and this road soon began to rise ever more. After a while I could see patches of snow here and there beside the road when driving along the shadowy northern slopes of hills. I could even throw some glances in the direction of confluence 37N 32E, lying some 20 km east of the road I was driving along, but this one was absolutely out of reach at this time of year, situated at over 2500 m altitude on a still heavily snow-covered high mountain.
A short while after having passed Akseki ("White pedestal"), I reached a fork in the road. Now I had two choices to continue: one road running east of the Büyükgözet Dağı mountains, passing the city of Seydişehir and reaching Beyşehir on the lake of the same name from the South – or another road running west of the Büyükgözet Dağı mountains, and reaching Beyşehir from a westerly direction. According to my map, the second road was of less importance than the first, but it was at the same time marked as a "route with beautiful scenery" (the first road wasn't), and so the decision fell for the second road. At first I could do an easy and normal driving along this road, but soon after having passed the village of Cevizli, unfortunately I had to become aware two things: First issue, the road got under construction over a longer distance, that meant for many kilometres to come it had no longer a tarred surface, but it had only a compressed surface with many potholes, loose gravel, puddles, and worst of all stretches of slippery mud. Second issue (it took me quite a while to notice this one, but then it made me seriously uncomfortable and nervous, moreover as the road did rise steeply towards a couple of passes, Teke Geçidi ("Billy goat pass") at 1320 m altitude, and Bademlibeli Geçidi ("Pass of the almond-like saddle") at 1450 m altitude): there were absolutely no other cars on this road except for myself! If I slid in the mud and got stuck somewhere along this road, or had any other technical problems, there would be no other cars passing by for hours in the worst case, and I would have to walk for several kilometres before reaching a village to ask for help!
Meanwhile it was much too late to turn around again, so I tried to drive on as cautiously as possible and as slowly as necessary, and it took quite a while before I reached the end of the part under construction, and it was a big relief when I noticed the first car passing by on this road again. But in spite of this unexpected "intranquility" while driving along this road, my map's road classification was absolutely justified: the scenery was more than beautiful, it was fascinating - and the solitude while driving on this road even added to this impression!
The road had long lost its solitude when I reached the plains adjacent to lake Beyşehir Gölü, another giant lake between mountain ranges, but not as impressive as lake Eğirdir Gölü that I had visited yesterday – at least not when approaching it from the direction where I came from. I passed Beyşehir city and drove on in direction of Konya, until I reached a turnoff to the left and then another to the right that would bring me to Derbent ("Mountain passage"), the closest village to my next aim, the confluence 38N 32E.
The road leading there went 9 km in easterly direction through farmed land. Not far south of the road was a chain of hills, and according to my GPS receiver the confluence point seemed to be somewhere on these hills. But I could not detect any path or road that lead in this direction, moreover in front of the hills seemed to be a small river running parallel to the road and thus blocking the access on foot. So after passing the point of closest approach on this road, I decided to continue further along to see whether better opportunities would come to get over the river and closer to the chain of hills. After a while I could see some houses and a new built mosque and then after a turn to the right, the village of Derbent lay ahead of me. Here I finally found a bridge crossing the river and also a road leading back in direction of the Confluence on the other side of the river.
Unfortunately this road soon lost its hard surface and became a narrow path, I had to let pass a tractor and then saw a very large puddle of muddy water ahead of me. This was an unexpected obstacle, what should I do now? I was still nearly 2 km from the Confluence and was not very keen on walking the remaining distance. On the other hand, there was a not negligible risk of getting stuck in the mud, and then I would have to call for help. But I was in an adventurous mood, sped up the car while being still on hard ground, and rushed and slid through the puddle with such a drive that the water and the mud splashed all around and over my car, too. In this manner I successfully traversed one or two more puddles on the way and finally arrived at a closest approach of only 1.1 km to the point. Here I left the car at an altitude of 1420 m (I had driven 240 km since I left my hotel in Side) and started walking and climbing up the hill ahead of me. The going was not very easy, as the hill was steep and densely covered by bushes and small trees (pines, oaks, thuja), the ground was covered by yellow crocuses, sometimes I had to walk around deep-cut gullies and it took a while until I reached the crest of this hill at 1591 m altitude, but at this point the Confluence was only a remaining 250 m ahead and a little down on the other side. Eventually, I located the Confluence inside a low but wide thuja bush, so that I could not do the last step to stand on it but could only stretch out my hand with the GPS receiver.
The GPS receiver indicated an EPE of 4 m and an altitude of 1585 m. It was now 12:40 p.m. and I took the usual photos and again shot a whole series to complete a 360° panorama. To the North the hill that I had climbed obstructed any further sight, but to the Southeast the impressive 2339 m high snow-covered Aladağ ("Speckled mountain") could be seen, while to the South and West a free view far out in the land was possible. While taking the pictures I was astonished to discover a mysterious lonely house at an estimated distance of 400 m SSE of the Confluence. Although I could not clearly distinguish it, there must be a road or a path to this house, and I assume that this might offer an easier approach to the Confluence coming from the South instead from Derbent in the North. I would like to advise future visitors of this confluence point to try an approach from the South via a location indicated as Süleyman Yaylası on road signs only a short distance after the last turnoff in direction Derbent.
I descended the hill towards my car, from this side there was a nice view on a small part of Derbent. I drove off at 1:40 p.m., again I had to traverse the mud puddles, then I left Derbent and drove back on the main road in direction of Konya. A little later a short rain shower rushed down and washed away some of the mud that had splattered all over the car. My next aim for today was the confluence 38N 33E, 45 km east of Konya.