Drenched in the Black Sea’s luxuriant green,
Çaglayan Valley boasts three plateaux, Mese,
Çatak and Çamlik...
Lush, spanking fresh green dominated the mountains.
We were bumping along a narrow mountain road in
the back of a truck that drowned the whole valley
in its roar. At the end of the two-hour journey
starting from Findikli, a coastal township of Rize
province, a few scattered houses came into view
in the forest. The engine quieted down. ‘This
is it,’ said Yilmaz Öksüz. ‘You’ll
have to climb the rest of the way on your own. This
is our plateau, Açhozli.’ The rushing
Çaglayan River was audible from the depths
of the valley. I struck out on a muddy stone path
and started to climb. The mist falling from the
sky, the droplets of spray from the river, and the
dark valley bristling with giant trees reminded
me of the haunted road in fairy tales that leads
to the mysterious realm. The path got terrifyingly
steeper as I climbed, and I grabbed on to the moss-covered
box trees so as not to tumble headlong over the
precipices. Next to a high waterfall I took a rest,
mesmerized by its foaming cascade.