Joy of photography at highest point of the Aladağlar

We all came together -- 50 strangers -- to take photographs of the Aladağlar, a mountain »»
We all came together -- 50 strangers -- to take photographs of the Aladağlar, a mountain range in southern and eastern Turkey, curving northeast from the Taurus Mountains. We were all excited by the opportunity to discover and photograph the natural beauty of the area, but we weren't aware of the difficulty of the journey ahead of us.

Feeling fortunate to be part of the third competition organized by Kayseri Provincial Environment and Forestry General Directorate, we climbed 3,600 meters during our photography safari and covered a total area of 75 kilometers. We needed off-road vehicles in order to reach the Aladağlar.

Aladağlar National Park, regarded as an important place for mountain climbing in Turkey, hosts thousands of mountain climbers every year. Some of them are experienced climbers, while others come to simply enjoy climbing in the Aladağlar.

We arrived at the Delikkaya site, which was the first leg of our photography safari and we made our preparations for our climb up the Aladağlar. We were given information about the area by experts. Our heavy equipment was loaded onto to mules owned by the locals living in the area.

Our photography safari started at an elevation of 2,500 meters but became increasingly difficult. Many people, including myself, had some trouble breathing due to the high altitude. We tried to maintain our morale by reminding ourselves that “all things will pass.” At this altitude we noticed there was almost no plant cover, so it was hard to imagine what the sheep in the area could eat.

We gladly set up camp when we reached Teke Kalesi. Tents were erected for our first night in the Aladağlar, and we all went to bed early, fatigued from our wearying journey.

In the morning, we were woken by the whistle of our group leader. Undoubtedly, many who have completed their military service would be familiar with this whistle. Our second day's journey on our photography safari was difficult and high. We wanted to get to the highest point of the Aladağlar that we could access without the use of mountain climbing equipment. So long as we reached the higher points of the Aladağlar, we could take a further break. Our progress was slow because of the high altitude, but we eventually reached the peaks of the Aladağlar.

The Yedigöller (Seven Lakes) Plateau in the Aladağlar is a popular tourist area. Direktaş Hill, at a height of 3,500 meters, is complimented by a glacial lake, which makes for amazing landscape photographs. So everyone in our group was competing with each other in order to capture the most beautiful images.

The scorching temperatures in the Aladağlar were replaced with cold as the sky became increasingly darker. Among our group of photographers, the icy weather made us all concerned about keeping warm. We drank hot tea to help us with the cold. Everybody decided to head to their tents and get to bed as we would need to wake up early in the morning. The next morning our group leader woke us up with that whistle again. After breakfast, we had to prepare for our return home, concluding our two-day-long journey.

During the trek, we come to a hill where, at a height of 1,200 meters the site named Kapuzbaşı Waterfalls welcomes us. There are seven waterfalls surrounding the hill here, and I believe there is no other landscape more beautiful than this. In fact these waterfalls are impressive to visitors and locals alike. During our photography safari some participants may have asked themselves “Why I am here in the midst of these huge mountains?” However, it is a fact that these mountains will always inviteus ...

2010-08-15

National