Come the morning of the 20th, the party begins along the road west of Kefe, circling the bay in a couple of hours until ~ with a little directions ~ reaching the cart tracks on the left side of the road that will take them up into the South Karamio Hills. It is a fine, cool day for hiking, with a light rain that lasts until you enter the forest and begin to a gentle climb. It quits soon after.
The hills, you will find, have a sharp drop of fifty or sixty feet on the south side, with a long gentle slope on the north, what is called a "cuesta." Marciana leads the camel(s) behind the party, remarking on the ease of the route, as a cart rack ~ grassy, with ruts ~ leads the way.
She has explained that she has heard the rumors, but doubts if there are any real "cities" to be found. There are many caves in the Yaila Mountains, the term for all the mountains of south Crimea, but only those in the highest ranges are unexplored. These hills where you're travelling now have been tramped over for centuries, so you are unlikely to find anything.
You look about at the thick forest, full of thickets, and find it difficult to believe that there can't be places that might not have remained hidden, even after all this time. The land looks overgrown, with high grass growing into dry thorn bushes, from which emerge tall mastic trees, fat oaks, tangled ash trees and 125 foot pine trees.
Marciana tells that she hasn't spent much time in the bush here, much more on the plains in the last two years that she has been in Crimea; she's been on this road only once before. The thing to worry is the large Crimean lizards; they're fifteen feet long and are known to emerge from the bushes to attack travellers. She is not too worried, however, as this road gets a lot of travellers ~ and that is true, the ruts show a lot of use.
In fact, along about noon, as you've climbed to a point where you can see the Black Sea in the distance, you begin to meet carts loaded with wood rolling down out of the forest, one about ever ten minutes or so. This holds you up quite a bit, as Marciana has to move the camel(s) off the road, keeping them calm and then moving forward again. As such, moving against this stream, it takes about two hours before you reach a tiny settlement called Aknar, where the road ends.
Aknar is little more than a carter's post, with stables for donkeys and mules, granaries for feed grain, huge dumps of logs being brought out of the forest and at least a dozen saw pits ~ that you can see ~ that are right now in steady use. About fifty men can be seen working hard to shave and straighten the logs, some to cut them into beams or lumber, others loading the logs onto carts and some wrestling with the animals to get them into position to be loaded. When a cart is loaded, it begins to descend down the road on its way to Kefe.