Ken vs. Wild Dog

August 23, 2015 | by Ken

Conversations about our travels often involve someone saying to us, “Wow, I can’t believe you [rode a bungie swing / slept in a wat / hiked the Everest trail / whatever]. I’d be too scared to do that.” We reply with a good-natured laugh and an assurance that our activities are pretty routine and safe.

But occasionally, something like this happens.

After a delightful morning in a hot-air balloon, we had the whole day (minus a nap) ahead of us. We asked the owner of our cave hotel about the best way to experience the rugged landscape of Cappadocia, and she recommended hiking the Pigeon Valley. The trail, she reported, is easy to get to, well-marked, and just takes a couple hours to traverse.

We set out from the hotel and found the trailhead, which was indeed well-marked, with rock-solid signs. As we left civilization behind, fairy chimneys rose up around us, leaving us in awe of their centuries-old silhouettes.

The trail itself ran along the lowest point in the valley, and just enough water had collected to make it muddy. Then muddier. And muddier yet, to the point that we started walking alongside the trail. Or, when we encountered a tunnel, over the trail.

Somehow, gradually, the trail seemed to fade. Is it this matted patch of grass, or this one? No more 400-pound trail markers either.

That’s when this happened.

Eventually, our heart rates returned to normal, and we continued our hike, a little less concerned with admiring the scenery, a little more concerned with staying on the damn trail. As the midday sun beat down, the sweat and dust and fatigue took hold. It was quite a relief to spot Uchisar, mirage-like, in the distance. They have (semi) cold soda there. And shade.

And this cool castle-type structure. Great view from the top.

No more hiking for us. We found a travel office in the “downtown” area and booked a taxi back to the hotel. In the coming days, Karen kept an eye on that red dot on my derriere, applying neosporin from time to time and watching it fade.

Pigeon Valley is quite beautiful. Just stay on the trail, will ya?

But wait, there’s more! The epilogue to my tale of canine confrontation.