In the Spring of 2012, Pedro and I took a smaller road trip around the Black Sea and Kaçkar Mountain regions with the ultimate goal of seeing the Caucasian Black Grouse in the alpine meadows of a dot on the map called Sivrikaya. Sivrikaya was not an easy find— no one seemed to know where it was. When we finally found the forgotten town, it was being swallowed by a fierce fog at sundown, and with nowhere to stay, we had to turn back. No grouse, no meeting the mythical Mustafa, who could take us to see the birds.
This time around, we knew exactly how to get there, and though it was a completely different season, the fog situation remained the same.
We did however, meet the very friendly and gracious Mustafa, who invited us into an old wooden tea house that clung to the edge of a very steep hill. Through the haze of smoke from the wood burning stove, I spied the craggy faces of several older gentlemen leaning heavily on their hands, waiting for the azan. Mustafa explained that this was a very difficult season to see the grouse— especially with the fog, and so we shook his rough hand and promised to return in May.
One of these days, we'll get that grouse!