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A remote stretch of Ukrainian coastline.

A remote stretch of Ukrainian coastline.

The Beach

The pebbly beach continued down the coast for a quarter-mile, leading to trails up to one of the cliffs covered in an assortment of vegetation. Joe and I followed one for a good mile and made our temporary home snuggled in the trees thirty meters from sea. I headed off to locate drinking water from a natural spring while Joe set up camp.

Considering how remote Golden Beach is, we were surprised to find out that a pair of beefed-up Russians spend a couple of hours each day locating people camping on the bluffs and charge them for such pleasures. The first night the jocular pair never found us. However, the second night, they came crashing through the trees down to our campsite, demanding 20 hryvians ($2.50) a head.

Nevertheless, we had no problem paying, being that nowhere we had ever been legally offered such consistent warm weather, views and solitude.

With a shimmery moonlit sea in the background, our campfire dwindled, and my dreams floated off to the sounds of waves churning against rocks on the shore. In the morning we scaled technically steep, rocky mountains to obtain a spaceman's panorama of the outlying terrain. Perched on the summit, all seemed infinitely possible.

We were far from home, but our explorations would leave memories to be shared for a lifetime.

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