Termessos Ruins, Turkey

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Termessos was our first encounter with the ancient world of Turkey. Originally built by the Pisidians sometime before 500 BCE, the city is situated on a mountain pass more than 1000 meters above the coastal plain. Our guide told us they were raiders who periodically preyed upon the people below. In 333 BCE Alexander the Great surrounded Termessos but could not conquer it. After that the site was Hellenized and later improved upon by the Romans.

We had to hike up several hundred feet to reach the site. The Inner Wall that stopped Alexander is mostly intact, as is the spectacular Greek-Style Theater at the top. This is also where we first saw the Wood Fairy (or Thread-Winged Lacewing), a beautiful insect that flitted around several of the ruins we visited.

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This Gallery includes panoramas, HDRs and a site map (in Turkish).

Hammock Camping Improvements

I continue to improve my hammock camping experience. Last time out I was greeted by this little fellow in front of my campsite. (You can tell it’s a young gator by the yellow stripes.) Messing with the flashlight and phone camera did not seem to bother him. He stayed in the general area for a few minutes, let me take a few pictures and then slowly crawled away. (Click for larger image.)

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I did not spend much money ($118) on my starter hammock, but I’ve come to appreciate that it is a complete system for three season camping. I did not have to spend more money on separate components (i.e., net, fly, skins). Here is what it looks like when hung between two trees with the skins pulled to the center…

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This is the head-end. Note the extra green loop [mod #1]. I added this to let the fly relax and fall to the side when not needed. It turns out that having the fly connected normally is the best way to get the correct tension (after which I slacken it). Note also that the foot is slightly higher. This was counter-intuitive for me since I like my legs lower than my head. Basically this prevents you from sliding and getting all bunched up. It just works!

Next I turned to the bug netting. With no instructions and very little info online I had to improvise. The included cords had little slide-locks to help get the right tension. The problem was that once you got into the tent, the tension changed. So I replaced these with thin bungee cords [mod #2]…

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I also moved one of loops for the spreader bow (not shown). I suspect they had a quality control problem with the stitching. Here is a closeup of the head end…

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[Lt to Rt: fly, bungee, green loop (behind) and main hammock]

Next I fixed an obvious flaw—not being able to reach the foot-end zipper pull. I simply replaced the short inside tab with an 18 inch cord [mod #3]…

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Finally I turned to the free corners of the diamond-shaped fly. It suffered the same problem as the bug net, no good way to keep the proper tension once inside the hammock. Here’s where a bit of serendipity came in. I had purchased a set of tarp tie-downs as a source for the bungee material. They came with orange knobs on them for fast tying. This turned out to be a perfect fit for the fly [mod #4]…

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The ends can be staked down as is, or extended with the slide-lock cords and tied off to a tree or other object. This provides a nice taut fly that can recover from gusty winds. As an added benefit, when I need to fold the fly back the bungees can be hooked together on one side with minimal flapping. <smile> They also help keep the fly furled when not in use. I’m still working on the best way to do this…

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Here is the whole rig in action (click for large panorama)…

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Note that the foot is higher and the fly is furled but not relaxed. I’m still getting insect bites because parts of my body rub up against the fly as I toss and turn, and wherever bare skin lays against the hammock itself (the little devils bite right through the ripstop!). My biggest problem is getting the sleeping bag arranged under me. This is non-trivial when there is no solid surface to push off!

Finally a note about the overall design, on a clear night this hammock only needs two points of suspension. Using the fly brings that to four. One of the things I love about this type of tent is how simple it is to deploy and pack up!

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Two or Four Point Suspension

Here are a few examples from Amazon.com. The number of suspension points goes from six to eight and beyond. And that’s before you add the fly!

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Imagine putting these up in a rain storm with bugs biting!

Santa Fe River Afternoon

I was itching to go kayaking somewhere new, so I headed over to the Santa Fe River. There was a little park and boat launch near the highway 47 bridge. While getting ready to go I spotted what looked like green leaves stuck on the sides of two trees. They turned out to be Luna Moths, which I think were newly emerged. Beautiful! [Gallery]

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I proceeded to peddle upstream against the current, which was pretty brisk at times. The shoreline got progressively more rocky with exposed limestone until I reached an actual rapids. It was all I could do to move against it. Once I passed it I stopped for a rest and then started my lazy float back downstream.

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I stopped frequently to take pictures and explore a bit. The south side is conservation land and the north side is undeveloped. There were LOTS of cypress knees!

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There is no one big obvious spring as far as I could tell, but several under and around the river. The possible exception was a small stream that formed a long skinny island not far from the bridge. The water there was much clearer (and warmer). I could not paddle beyond fallen trees on both ends so I walked a trail along side for a hundred yards or so. It was a beautiful place!

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In addition to the yellow asters shown above there were Spider Lilies starting to bloom and lots of Rain Lilies on the forest floor. This last was new to me. I’m used to seeing them along the roadside after it rains.

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Here’s part of the low-res map I used (upstream is down). The distance from the put-in to the “kink” near the bottom is about two miles. That’s where the rapids are (I think).

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