“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.” – Herodotus
Sadly, this is the last post involving Ali and Brett. After our long day of exploring and hiking, we warmed up while enjoying a nice meal at the restaurant. The temperature had dropped quite a bit, but we decided to press on with our plans to hike to see the Chimaera.
Powered by the chocolate snacks we picked up in town, we headed out for what was billed as a 2 kilometer walk. An important thing to know when traveling in Turkey is the real lack of signage even for significant landmarks.
We walked and walked, and then walked some more. It was a beautiful, clear night and we enjoyed an amazing view of the stars. We continued to walk and passed through a residential area. Eventually we reached an area that looked like there was no point going further. We had been walking for at least 45 minutes and decided that we may have gone the wrong way.
Literally, we were about thirty seconds from turning around when Brett saw a small sign ahead that we could not yet make out. We agreed to go on to that sign and see what it said. Sure enough it was a sign for the Chimaera. With a new determination, we walked the extra kilometer or so more to the entrance.
The man in charge came out of his warm building to take our 5 lira (about $3) and then we began the kilometer plus climb to our goal. We used the small light that Ali & Brett had and the flashlight app on my iphone to light the trail.
Soon enough we were at the Chimaera. What exactly are the Chimaera? They are about a dozen flames issuing from a mass of rock with no apparent fuel to sustain them. The flames burn a sort of methane gas that has been venting from the earth on this rocky slope for thousands of years.
We ran into a couple of students from Austria who had made an even further trek that included crossing the icy creek at night. The five us sat around the flames for a long time talking about things. There is something very special about seeing something that only occurs on a few places on the planet, and the fact that we were the only ones on the mountain made it even more incredible. I went up to get some photos of the flames and the view of the valley below.
After an hour or so, we all headed back down and made the long trek back to our hotel. It was an amazing experience that almost didn’t happen. If we hadn’t gone on that extra little bit, then we would have missed out on the whole thing.