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I am not usually afraid of heights, but as I watched my group disappear one by one over the side of a forty-metre waterfall, my heart started to beat harder and faster.
A Lycian Activity Holiday
We were standing in a deep canyon that formed part of the River Esen, high in the mountains but still close to Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. The area is famed amongst trekking enthusiasts for the iconic ‘Lycian Way’, but I had signed up for an adrenaline junkie overload: one week packed with canyoning, scuba diving, sea kayaking, paragliding and tubing.
Our base was Kas, an old fishing port turned adventure capital of the Mediterranean. Despite its visitors and bustling atmosphere, Kas still seems laid back, retaining the friendly atmosphere that sees the locals hang out until the small hours in the town’s central square.
Strolling around the old town I was tempted by shops filled with silver jewellery and hand-painted pottery and lured into open-air bars where groups of friends lounged on brightly coloured cushions smoking hookah pipes. It was on one of these warm June evenings that I found out exactly what a real Turkish kebab should taste like; believe me, they do not bear any resemblance to their British counterparts.
The leisurely evenings were, however, the last thing on my mind, as I was summoned towards the edge of the falls by our leader, Maho, (affectionately dubbed the Turkish Rambo). I stepped knee-deep into the rushing water next to the ledge, my safety harness was checked for the final time and I was ready; practically, if not mentally, at least.
Despite every bone in my body screaming at me to do the opposite, I bravely tested the strength of the rope, took a deep breath and leant back over the sheer drop. The icy spray to my face caught me by surprise, but somehow I managed to keep my balance and steadied my feet on the rock hidden under the cascade.
Over the noise of the rushing water I heard Maho’s shout to begin, so I tentatively released the guide rope and begun to slide down slowly. Then the adrenaline started pumping and I got into my stride; within seconds was bounding, almost gracefully, down the through the water at what felt like an awesome speed.
After a few minutes of what can only be described as sheer exhilaration, I splash landed into the bottom pool with a huge grin on my face and (if I’m being really honest) a bit of relief in my heart.
The other canyoning guide who had been watching my descent headed over to detach me from the guide rope. Without batting an eyelid, he murmured “Wait until you see the height of the next waterfall!” – By Exodus’ Ruth Howarth, Customer Services Executive
If you’d like to try your hand at canyoning in Turkey and other destinations, take a look at our activity holidays below.