The summer of 2015 was not easy. I didn’t have much money to go on a new international trip, and I had to write many articles about traveling in Asia. It takes a lot of time. I’m new to this and that’s why writing articles can take so long. Nevertheless, I can no longer stay in Kirov for a long time, so I decided to go to the south of our country to the sea. Somewhere there, in the summer camp Artek, my friend Alexei worked. There is almost no preparation, collect equipment from the last trip, buy some food at the start and set an alarm
By tradition, I leave the house early in the morning. Buses are just starting to go, and on one of the city routes I go to the edge of the city. This is where the Journey begins.
Hitchhiking has so much merged into my life that it was as if there weren’t those few months of sitting at home. It was as if I was continuing my previous journey.
Early in the morning there are not as many cars from the city as we would like or as they drive around during the day, but still this is the best time to start. 1000 km to Moscow – it usually takes all day. To Moscow, just because it’s so familiar. I don’t think it’s faster and certainly not shorter. The flow of cars is greater, the higher the chance that they will be delivered faster. So I thought when I first got acquainted with the hitchhiker, but in fact it is not. In the central part of Russia there is a lot of traffic on highways, but it is more difficult to stop a car than on secondary roads. I think next time I’ll take a different route!
On the outskirts of the city, the guys threw me in a car. Then I tried to stop the trucks, which is becoming more and more difficult. But I succeeded, and the truck went straight to Moscow! And that’s not all, on the way we stopped to make an impromptu breakfast right on the road. Then we stopped only at roadside cafes.
They arrived at Moscow by late night, as it usually happens. Trucks can enter the city only at night, and in the evening there are huge traffic jams around the capital.
I didn’t need to go to the city itself, so I hitchhiked along the bypass to the M4 Don highway and decided to spend the night. It was necessary to get at least a little sleep before continuing the journey, so as not to nod off along the way during the day. And there is nothing easier than finding a place not far from the road, putting up a tent and falling asleep for 3-4 hours. You don’t need more, on the way you sleep less and you almost don’t feel like eating. The main thing is to move forward!
At 6 in the morning I woke up, made a small breakfast from the supplies in my backpack, folded my tent and went out onto the Don track. Now only a straight path to the very south!
I was no longer lucky with trucks, so I slowly moved with passing cars. I don’t remember, 4-5 cars were replaced before the Krasnodar Territory. And each driver clings with something of his own. Some talk about themselves, their stories, others like to listen to stories about travel more and almost everyone likes to scold our state, and there is a reason. And in between, landscapes flicker outside the window and you are getting closer and closer to the goal.
In the Krasnodar Territory, I found myself again at night and only after spending the night continued on my way to the Crimea. The third day turned out to be rainy, with a rare release of the sun. Here I wanted to drive even more than to stop cars along the road in the rain.
So the seaport appeared. But once I spent 4 days in it, waiting for the storm to end and it would be possible to get to the mainland by ferry. Memories just rolled like that, but this time everything went without any hesitation.
Second time in Crimea! As the saying goes – not a year has passed! Last time I was here with the company of Kirov friends of hikers, and here my journey across Asia began. And now the way was to the Artek camp, to the old friend Lyokha.
I must note that hitchhiking in Crimea is not even bad. People are not afraid and do not hesitate to take fellow travelers. Yes, and there is always an interesting topic to talk to, so the travel time passes imperceptibly, and you move very quickly.
I got to the camp in the evening, where my friend met me. But I had to enter the territory through the fence, because there was no pass for me. Spontaneous travel price. However, even without him it is only more interesting. Secret paths, almost in complete darkness on the territory of the center, but far from children’s camps and walking paths, I threw a tent. Here I could hardly be found by the guards of the center, and I would not have bothered anyone.
That evening, leaving our things in the tent, we went to the camp, where I got acquainted with the leader staff. Traditionally, the cast consisted almost entirely of girls. We had something to talk about.
In the afternoon, we went on a tour of the center, and, of course, dropped by the beach. Ever since the last time, I wanted to swim to small islands, far from the runner and I had to realize it! The islands are called Adalary and are located 250m from the coast. Before the swim, we climbed the rocks and dived into the water. Only then did we go to the islands.
On the way I felt bad, but I still swam to the islands. I think I got most of the discomfort because of the action of the camera on my head and not the most successful breakfast. All the hardships paid off with beautiful views and a small goal fulfilled.
We did not stay in Artek. Lyokha resigned because of the atmosphere in the center – after many years the center was almost destroyed, both financially and the entire cultural base, which the center will have to develop again for many years to come. Our new base is a small apartment in the center of Yalta.
Yalta itself is a glorious town, cozy, sunny and hospitable. There is a beach, a promenade, narrow streets and a real summer atmosphere. If you haven’t been here yet, I recommend it.
Climbing to the top of Ai-Petri
It’s not all to sit in the city! Adventurers can’t be kept in the brick jungle! First of all, we decided to go to the Ai-Petri. The route starts on the outskirts of the city. You can get to the place by city bus, if I’m not mistaken, then route 31.
The route is a 4-6 km trail with good climb. I was not in the first, but Lyokha needed time to switch to such loads. However, I also ran out of steam at times, and Lyokha, when he got used to it, sometimes overtook me. On the way, there were almost no tourists, and those few who came across walked towards. Still, it is easier to go down the trail, but you can also go up by cable car or by taxi from the city to the foot of Ai-Petri.
Walking along the trail, it is difficult to miss observation points where you can take memorable photos or just enjoy the view of the sea and the town that is located here on its shore – sunny Yalta.
Climbing the trail, you can go to the top of Ai-Petri, or walk around its surroundings. The entrance to the top is paid, like many sights in Crimea, but you can wander around anyway. For lovers of delicious food, there are several very pleasant cafes open to tired travelers.
We decided to hitchhike back. They stopped the car, by the way, the first one, and we were offered to accompany us to another attraction – the Vorontsov Palace.
The palace is located in the city of Alupka, which begins on the border with Yalta. Not only a lover of interesting architecture can look there, because a beautiful park is spread around the palace where you can walk with the whole family. But we had enough for an hour, we ran too many mountain paths.
Romantic evening Yalta
In the evening, after a good rest and a delicious dinner, it’s time for adventure again! Time to walk around the evening Yalta. Southern towns in the summer have their own incredible aura of lightness, relaxation and pleasure, and it is completely different day and night. One and the same city does not at all look like itself at other times of the day. It is imperative to enjoy both the daytime and the nighttime city so that the impression of it is fuller.
And, of course, one of the most beautiful places is the embankment. At night, couples walk here and visiting artists perform. On the one hand, the endless Black Sea, on the other – the southern town sparkling with multi-colored lights, which will be remembered more than once on winter evenings. I advise everyone to swim in the night water, but it can be a little more dangerous and colder than during the day, but the sensations are completely different.
Daytime sunny Yalta
During the day, Yalta, and like all southern towns, has a calming slowness. Here no one fusses, no one runs anywhere, and you yourself easily fall into this rhythm.
There is not much free space on the beaches of Yalta when the tourist season begins. However, there is always a place! The atmosphere on the beach is also very touristy, not in the best sense of the word. Running screaming, roaring children, their plump pale parents devouring food. After wild beaches, it’s hard to rest in such a place. But you can swim not far from home.
In the afternoon we sat down on the embankment. Guitar songs are cool. This is not news to anyone here, but there are always enough fans to sing along. The same tourists pass by, ready to be photographed with any background they meet, girls in luxurious dresses selling drinks and sweets, as in the distant Middle Ages, and such a gentle southern sea rustles with its waves nearby.
Chatyr – Dag
A new adventure for us was the trek to the Chatyr – Dag and Demerdzhi peaks. I was on them once, and it’s time to open them for Alexey’s friend!
The recipe for the hike is simple: take small backpacks, stuff them with some food and warm clothes (after all, the weather in the mountains is unpredictable), take an intercity trolleybus to Semfiropol and get off at the bus stop where there is a monument to the trolleybus, and then along the path and according to the situation! On one side of the road, a path begins to the top of Chatyr-Dag, on the other to Demerdzhi. We started from the “tent mountain” Chatyr-Dag.
The trail itself does not cause any difficulties. A small climb, mosquitoes in the forest and intermittent rains will hardly be able to stop purposeful travelers. The main thing is to get out early so that you can climb to the top and have time to get back. Well, or take a tent with you and stretch the pleasure for several days.
The first stage of the journey is a forest filled with freshness and moisture, and of course, mosquitoes. Here you can put on some clothes and these difficulties will be passed! There are many meadows where you can get up with a tent, there is even one with a stream, where you don’t need to go anywhere to get water, but they say there is a very nice lake nearby.
Then the trail starts to climb, and you need to gain height. Here the territory of the forest zone ends and the path begins along a green hill strewn with flowers and mushrooms.
Closer to the top of the hill, beautiful views of Alushta and the Black Sea are already opening up. We were lucky with the weather – we didn’t get caught in the rain and didn’t walk under the scorching sun. And at the summit, even a powerful atmospheric fog waited.
There are interesting places of “power” on the way and buildings, which are already several centuries old. They dilute the natural beauty of Crimea.
The top of Chatyr-Dag resembles a tent from afar, therefore from the local name it is translated as “mountain-tent”. Here we were caught by fog, although it was rather a low-floating rain cloud hiding the summit.
After sitting and taking pictures at the top, we began to descend back to the road. We were urged on by the approaching drizzle.
However, the cloud passed by and did not wet us much. We spent the night on the other side of the road, having overcome a couple of kilometers towards the peak of Demerdzhi.
The road to Demerdzhi also begins through the forest. The main difference is that there is no climb, only small ascents and descents. Even after leaving the forest zone, you need to walk several kilometers along the hills to the foot of the mountain.
On the Path we came across several cherry and cherry trees. So I had to make a forced stop and stuff my stomach with berries. Overeat and even took a little with themselves in an empty plastic bottle.
The ascent to the top begins from the Valley of Ghosts, where they can again try to collect money from you for visiting this attraction. An easy way to pay, another is to hop around or bypass the main entrance a little.
The valley itself is worth walking along it. It is especially good in fog, when stones stick out directly from the clouds. On a sunny day, I absolutely do not live up to its name, but there are good views here in any weather.
After a small halt and an impromptu lunch of canned food, stocks of tea and a handful of nishtyak, we continued our ascent, simultaneously climbing the encountered rocks.
Not long before we climbed to the top, from the side of Chatyr-Dag a huge black rain cloud crept towards us. This encouraged us to move faster. We even ran upstairs in 15 minutes and almost immediately began to descend back.
But already 5 minutes after the start of the descent we were covered with a powerful downpour. It was necessary to make a decision whether to descend into the downpour or wait it out at the top. It turned out to be more correct to descend, since the rain did not stop until the evening.
They descended directly along the streams running from the top, and the mountainside itself resembled a huge waterfall. A beautiful sight, but then stones fell down the slope. The ground beneath them was soaked by heavy rainfall and nothing else kept them up. It was getting dangerous. Now you can not only get slipped, twist your leg or something else, but also get a stone flying from the mountain.
At the exit from the valley of ghosts, the money collectors had already left, for good health. So are the few tourists who came here by car. We had to walk to the track, and the rain only intensified.
The joy of the achieved road was not long, because the road turned into a river. It was simply washed out and it was impossible to walk on it – the current is strong, more reminiscent of a mudflow with mud and floating tree branches.
If it were not for the locals, who became our salvation, we would have wandered in the rain for several more hours, looking for a way to get out into civilization. We, completely drenched and tired, were put in a car and brought up to the city of Alushta, from where we returned to the base in Yalta by trolleybus.
Hitchhiker’s guide to Krasnodar region
We needed very little time to take a break from the past adventure and get ready for a new one. Sitting in the city is a very boring business. By the way, it was surprising that we did not get sick after that downpour and several hours in the rain, but our damp phones never worked as expected again, at first they did not show any signs of life at all.
We decided to leave the Crimea and go to the Krasnodar Territory, where our good friends were waiting for us at the Orlyonok All-Union Exhibition Center.
Traditionally, we hitchhiked. Stacking together is harder and longer, especially when everyone else has a backpack to boot. Difficult does not mean impossible! Quite an ordinary hitchhiking, only the driver of the ride got lost a little and drove the extra, probably 100-150 km. Instead of going along the coast, we went through Krasnodar. So we were in the camp only towards the evening.
Summit Turkey. Krasnodar region
The very next morning we left the camp with backpacks to celebrate my birthday on the top of Mount Turkey.
In a backpack there are tons of nishtyaks prepared for the holiday at the top. No equipment. And outside the sunniest summer, as a gift for a holiday!
The summit of Indyuk is located several tens of kilometers from Tuapse. Favorite destination for hiking in the VDC Orlyonok. Whole detachments go there to get acquainted with the nature of the Krasnodar Territory, its beauty and try their hand. And we were in company with the guys from the Berendeev Grad camps, which are located on the territory of the Orlyonok center.
Climbing the rocks, and even on such a day, is a gorgeous option for celebrating a birthday. Such moments are remembered for a long time, and are not at all like a celebration within 4 walls. The only thing is that far from family and friends and gifts at the top, you are also unlikely to receive!
On the way back, we got lost a little, having spent an extra couple of hours in the woods wandering along neglected roads. We got out to the road on the other side and somehow caught a ride to the camp, where it was planned to continue the holiday with a larger circle of friends.
We spent another week on the Black Sea coast and in Orlyonok. Relaxing, swimming in the sea, chatting with new friends. Camp life is beautiful and does not get boring for a long time, because there is not so much monotony in it.
We also hitchhiked back to Kirov. I will say again that together it is more difficult and longer, but more fun!