A Day On A Bear Mountain

170px-Modest_Musorgskiy,_1870. . with sincere apologies to Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky!

(and to you dear readers – Windows has screwed up the photos again – I’m working on it – done, I think!)

Another day – another Second Breakfast! Another day – another helping of Yenice National Park and the joys and privileges of being ‘honoured guests’. Our dear friends and their two kids (family really and the main reason for our visit) had organised a family picnic at an Orman (Forestry Ministry) lodge in the forest. Think of it as like one of those dachas much loved by Soviet era politicos.

On hand to pander to our ‘needs’ were a guardian cum cook, a 4×4 and driver, and a young forestry under-manager on his first posting out of university who just happened to come from one of Okçular’s next-door villages! After second breakfast (those Hobbit genes again) five of us set off up the mountain – the kids preferred to spend their day in the mountains sprawled in front of the huge, wide screen TV in the dacha – mum played the role of the KGB and stayed to keep an eye on them!

Once again the 4×4 hauled us up what would have been some tough trekking before dropping us off at the upper limit of the tree line. Our goal of the summit of Keltepe at 2000 metres or 6561.68 ft to be very precise, looked a long way away!

Yenice Forest signpost

the track to Keltepe

Even at this modest altitude older lungs begin to burn for lack of oxygen. Very soon my pace was reduced to a plod and I was greatly relieved to be surrounded by carpets of flowers – the perfect excuse to tell the others to carry on whilst I spent time lying down – to better steady the camera of course!

Here are a few flowers and views – memories of a memorable visit to one of the gems of Turkey – Yenice Forest National Park – starting at the top.

Yenice Forest trip

looking back from Keltepe, Yenice National Park

Yenice Forest trip

Green-winged Orchid – Orchis morio ssp morio (same species shown in previous post)

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Aubretia in every nook and cranny

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wild apple blossom

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Fritillaria pinardii

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Primrose – Primula vulgaris

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striking colours but unknown – any ideas?

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Stock – Mathiola ****

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Goat’s-Beard/Salsify – Trogopogon *** white species

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Phlomis herbi-venti – relative of Jerusalem Sage

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Anemone blanda

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Alpine Squill – Scilla bifolia

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Fritillaria forbesii a plant of SW Anatolia – what’s it doing 2000 mts up a mountain in the North?

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not in any of my references

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Golden Drops – Onosma erecta

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acres of Muscari bourgaei

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the ‘secret’ dacha

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J and our neighbour atop of Keltepe, Yenice National Park – who would have thought it?

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps . . as for the ‘Bear Mountain’ bit – you’ll have to take my word for it! bear crap.jpg

17 thoughts on “A Day On A Bear Mountain

  1. Alan, my heavens! What a climb – gorgeous but it must have been a bear! Our hats are off to you. Some of the photos have not yet appeared – the green-winged orchid, golden drops and muscari bourgaei.

    1. . . they all appear to be up now and viewable. You may need to load and refresh as your machine may be using a cached file. These places can feel like the top of the world so the 4×4 helped quite a bit.

    1. . . head for Karabük/Safranbolu north of Ankara and take it from there – Yenice kaymakam’s office will get you all the info/help you need. It is a pretty splendid area.

  2. I have been trying to buy ‘The Most Beautiful Wild Flowers in Turkey’ by Erdogan Tekin without success. Is this a book you would recommend and do you know where I might find a copy?

    1. Hi Sally! I use http://abebooks.co.uk for nearly all my book purchases – they list all independent sellers and clearly show price. Searching is clear and easy. Tekin’s book is not one I know, I’ve looked and they list 4 sellers in Istanbul but the books are hugely expensive from 26-64 pounds sterling! I have accumulated a lot of reference stuff over the years – starting modestly. ‘Wild Flowers of the Med’ by Blamey & Grey-Wilson is cheap, useful and not heavy to carry but only covers up to 1000mts around the Med/Aegean coast. Turkey is so rich in flowers that you need references on specific groups – the alternatives are coffee table jobs with beautiful photos. If you want further info contact me surmanfenn at gmail dot com.

  3. What a beautiful hike and beautiful photographs. Alan, you really are an expert photographer of flowers. And since your brought up the bear, I will share my story with you. One year we were with 2 other families in the Canadian Rockies doing some hiking. We set out on a trail one morning only to meet a couple heading rapidly out of the woods, “there’s a fresh bear poop in the middle of the path, looks like a great big blueberry pie straight out of the oven” they announced as they headed out of the woods. Our group– with lots of reckless young boys and fathers eager to show their toughness– charged on, eager to meet a bear. My five-year-old daughter couldn’t keep up the pace and held tightly to my hand as we walked. Slowly, we dropped back behind the group chatting and having a nice, quiet walk. I assured her, if there were a bear it would be scared away by all the noise our group was making. Finally we emerged from the woods into a spectacular valley with a lake in the middle. The others had disappeared so Chiara and I continued along the path a few hundred yards up the hill from the lake. The grass was high and Chiara could not see very much. But I kept turning towards the lake to enjoy the view across the valley and the mountain beyond and suddenly I saw a giant grizzly bear running along the edge of the lake staring up at me. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “A BEAR, A BEAR, A BEAR!!!!” my shout echoing around the valley. Members of our group came flying back to join us, followed shortly by a park ranger. My husband and a few others caught a glimpse of the big bear I had seen just before it disappeared into the woods, the others missed it. When the Ranger arrived he looked up the hillside and pointed out two “adolescent” grizzlies up there that none of us had even noticed. We headed on our way, all excited and jittery, quite happy to have seen grizzly bears and still be alive and well to tell about it.

    1. . . our son and his wife live in upstate New York and have bears around the house as a matter of course. Here in Turkey the European Brown Bear is a somewhat smaller creature – I take nothing away from them by that comment. I would have loved to see the bear but it is enough to know that they are there and protected. This is one area where Turkey has grown up! The park is a fantastic place, we will be going back in the autumn to enjoy the seasonal changes and the peace and quiet.
      Are you following the turmoil in Turkey just now?

  4. Very nice shots especially those different varieties of flowers that are all so pretty. But why aren’t no bears when it is supposed to be called bear mountain?

    1. . . we caught a fleeting glimpse of a male but they are too sensible to want to hang around people – I’m afraid that the bear spraint (crap) will have to suffice!

    1. Hi Charriet and welcome to Archers! They are some of the most beautiful mountains for walking in Turkey. Some day I hope to walk some of your forests in Oz and go see the amazing Wollomi Pines.

  5. Just beautiful – would make a fantastic picnic spot – Oh and of course there are orchids – I think they stalk you 😉

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