The only luggage I had on my cart was one small portmanteau half-filled with travel notes on Georgia. ... The sun was already beginning to hide behind the snowy mountain tops when I entered the valley of Koyshaur. Roaring songs at the top of his voice, the Ossete driver relentlessly urged on his horses so as to reach the top of Koyshaur by nightfall. Wht a glorious place that valley is! Inaccessible mountains on all sides, red-hued cliffs hung with green ivy and crowned with clumps of plane-treesm yellow precipices streaked with rivulets; high up above lies the golden fringe of the snow, while below the silver thread of the Aragva--linked with some nameless torrent that roars out of a black mist-filled gorge--stretches glistening like a scaly snake.
We reached the foot of Koyshaur and halted by the inn. A score of Georgians and hillmen swarmed noisily around the place--a camel caravan had halted ner by for the night. I had to hire some bullocks to pull my cart up this confounded mountsin, since it was already autumn and there was ice on the roads, and the climb some two miles long.
There was nothing else for it, so I hired six bullocks and a few Ossetes.
--Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero for Our Time 21
(Paul Foot trans., Penguin 1966)
Comment: I can't seem to pin down "Koyshaur," but we have to be pretty close to ground zero. We know that Lermontov was exiled--twice--to the Caucasus, dying in a duel at Piatigorsk, just north of the Georgian border, in 1841.