20-Aug-2009 – Continued from 44N 42E.
This was the first visit to 44N 41E. We started in the morning at the bus terminal at Cherkessk city where we also met our taxi driver who had dumped us the day before. We missed the scheduled minibus from Cherkessk to Zelenchukskaya. So we had to wait for the next country bus which is much slower than a marshrutka [shuttle bus, rus]. Our taxi driver offered us several times driving us for a very good price. We denied and waited patiently. We arrived at Zelenchukskaya some time in the afternoon, and again missed a marshrutka, this time the one towards Kurdzhinovo and Psemen which were the settlements closest to the CP.
The next bus was scheduled hours later, so we took a taxi. We took the road P-256 which brought us closer to the mountainous region and the CP. We stopped the taxi in 3.7 km distance, and after leaving the taxi it started raining immediately. We put on our rain gear and walked along dirt tracks leading us deeper in the woodlands. After some kilometres we left the path and ventured into the woods. We clambered and slipped down the mountainside. In the valley we crossed a small creek and on the other side we had to go uphill, comparatively slow because we were hiking with our backpacks. We passed beautiful woodlands with old beeches and lots of different ferns. We also found Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which is native to the Caucasus region and may reach 2 metres tall and more. In Central Europe Giant Hogweed is a very popular honey plant. As beautiful and interesting the plant is, it is also quite a bit dangerous because it's photo-toxic. If you touch it, it causes some kind of skin inflammation when the skin afterwards is exposed to the sunlight.
The GPS didn't work as it should because of the dense vegetation. The satellite picture showed that the CP was located at a forest glade. After digging around we found the right glade which was covered with waist high shrubs and vegetation. We took the photos swiftly because at the moment we stopped walking around, we were surrounded from mosquitoes, flies, and other kind of tedious insects. Our way back was also quite troublesome: we were forced to take quite a detour and the backpacks dragged us down. On top of that it started raining. But Philipp's excellent sense of orientation led us back to the same dirt track we started. We arrived at the road early in the evening, changed into clean clothes and started walking towards Kurdzhinovo. Two guys picked us up and gave us a lift to Kurdzhinovo. From there we hitchhiked to Psebay where we got a delicious dinner at an Uzbek restaurant and placed to sleep at some kind of sanatorium.
Continued at 41N 42E.