Voices from the Field (2019-06-19)

A New Path to the Site

Hakan Orel

At the beginning of the 2019 season and with several friends from nearby Hacıveliler and Büyükbelen, I committed to clearing and marking the trekking route between the research center and excavation area at Kaymakçı. Rather than chopping extensively, we shared a common perspective and respect for the forest, working together like gardeners rather than foresters.

Team members clearing the way.

We spent the day together sawing and trimming different kinds of Meşe (pırnal meşesi = holly oak), Ahlat (wild pear), and Payam (Almond), removing dead and entangled branches. This will increase their health and growth in the near future. We also removed unnecessary branches blocking the trekker’s path as well as loose stones and the many thorny plants that we all know and love.

We might have disturbed some pathways/refuges of wild animals, but it was necessary to draw boundaries that separate our paths, minimizing the chances of encounters.

Those who now walk the path will see cairns (stone stacks) along the way that mark the route. If you see one that has been toppled, please repair it, or—if you like—make a new one marking the location between two others: put at least 3 stones on top of each other and be sure that the new cairn is seen from both ways, hiking up and down.

A stone cairn to mark the path.

There are also a few spots for shade if you would like to rest a little: one around the halfway point, and one just below where the path meets the ridge that connects the excavation area to the research center.

A shady spot if you need a break!

If you are hiking in the early evening, mind your step for snakes: they come out of their homes during the cooler hours to take in the weather. To minimize the chances of encounters and to avoid surprising animals, distance yourself from shady under-tree spots along the path, where they live.

While cleaning the path, I had an informative day, learning different tree and animal species local to the region. It’s always good to share and gather new experiences and knowledge!

Enjoy the views and cherish the cardio workout along the newly cleared path!

Team members heading to site for trench tours!

Look forward to more posts from Gygaia Projects over the course of the year!