150.00 ₾ per person
Everything started with one,very easy idea: I just wanted to rest in the mountains for a while. That’s how I “find myself” in Shovi. The first cue was the temperature, when I suddenly find out, that it was much hotter there, than I expected to be. So, I understood, that I could easily wander around the forest. To tell the truth, the reason I was here was exactly this- I just wanted to avoid that crazy, senseless roar of Tbilisi, to run away from that exhausted town, and rest in peace, listening to the calm rustling of the leaves.
I trial of my strength the next morning. I walked through the boarding house and started walking upwards the path through the park. I was told, that I just had to find a very little bridge, and as soon as I would crossed it, the forest would start. And so it was. But it was not enough for me, as I wanted to walk up and up, to the peak of the mountain, and overlook the beautiful village with my own eyes. As soon as I reached, what I’ve been looking for (the bridge), I started walking on the slope with a great endeavour. After a quarter of an hour, this excitement turned into panting, as I could hardly breath. I realised, I had to take a break for a while. So, I stopped and started to chat with my friends on Messenger. They were out of their minds, when I sent the pictures of an environment around me. So, I was just sitting on my backpack, taking pictures, thinking, how many things I could do there, my potential in the forest hiking was limitless. I was breathing “greedy” the fresh air, the oxygen, which I have been longing for so long. After a big, fallen tree, the slope turned off to the left, and became harder, even though I was already “equipped” with a long stick, which I selected from a huge spruce trees’ fallen branches. I captured the views all around and go on walking through the narrow path, which was created by the temporary stream. Most of all, I was excited by those bright-green, little sprouts of the spruce, which were standing hopefully, under the perennial spruce trees, hidden away everyone, and everything. They were just waiting to grow up, and like the old generation, look over the world.
Walking there was really very pleasant from me, as it became easier, because the ground was very malleable, and I felt, like I was a child, on my bed, trying to balance and stay stable on the crooked surface of the bed. The sunlight has just happened to appear at the end of the boundless slope, that I heard some muttering. At first, I thought, it wasn’t real, but the sound was obstinately making echo all over the forest. Soon, I even heard the breaking of the branches. That was it. I realised, how unenviable the situation was, I was all by myself, in the forest, the visitor from Tbilisi, completely inexperienced in walking in the woods, skinny, but anyway, a delicious gust of the territory. So, I just run down, without looking back, also, I was trying to walk in the same way, as I hardly knew the area. That’s how finished my first trip into the wild.
I spent the following day in “researching” the local area, and kind of, wasting my time. In a nutshell, I was busy! The guys told me, that there was a Buba Glacier near, where they had spent the day before. I understood, that it would be nice, even I come across it on the map, but I didn’t want to get there so easily, I needed something more smoothed. Fortunately, the mobile connection was great, so I collected some information about the territory, and soon, my attention was attracted by the Udziro Lake (in Georgian it means rootless, bottomless Lake). As I read many comments, remarks, almost 6-7 hours journey to get there, and variety of the routes, I realised, that it was what I’ve been looking for so long. I was machinated, as those experienced guides find it to be very hard, but interesting. I was totally in love with the idea of visiting that place, so I confide it to other guests.
Everyone smiled, when they heard what I wanted, but as soon as I said, that I was going to discover that place on my own, they, all frightened and bewildered, tried to change my mind. The boys advised to get there with them, as they were going to convince it later, in several days. Others told me to hire a guide, otherwise, I would be lost, in a very dangerous place. Also, I was warned about wild animals, which my hart me. To sum up, everyone was against me. But, I knew, that it was an obsession, and as I decided it once, I would make it come true. Nothing would stop me- nor the distance and those stunned faces, neither- grumbling bear. Oh, and in addition, it was forecasted, that the weather would get worse soon.
While having supper, they still asked, if I really was going to find that place. When they’ve got my answer, the administrator of the hotel talked to me and explained the way as systematically, as it was possible: - ”First, you will walk through the wood, then- the ravine, after finishing it, you must turn off to the right, next- upwards and here you are! You will do this, I’m sure, there’s nothing to worry abou” t- he told me. So, I just opened the Google Map, where, among the satellite pictures of the monotonous mountains, there was a very little name written- Udziro Lake, as if it was an unexpectedly poured stain on the tablecloth. Briefly to say, I outlined the route, write down the mobile numbers, in occasion some unexpected, extraordinary thing would happen to me, and went back to my number, with good wishes from everyone. I immediately wrote down my purpose, and asked, if anyone would like to join me. Unfortunately, as it was the middle of the week, no one was able to come. I wasn’t feeling loathing to write the post on my wall too, to make sure, that what I have collected about the place, was right. The one of the answers was really helpful, as he answered all of my questions exhaustively. I immediately started absorbing that information. I downloaded the application of the non-internet maps, and tried to enter the suggested route here. I “suffered” a lot, but I did it. During this time, next to me, people were feasting with delicious pig, and great wine. Thanks to God, I didn’t join them, because, if I were on hangover, I wouldn’t be able to straighten up the application. I wouldn’t be able to stand everything, which happened to me the following day. I speak to my friend, he encouraged me and told me, it depends on your mood, I’m sure you will make it out. I called my relatives and warned them, that I would not connect them till noon, and not to be afraid or something. They started gasping for a while, but then, as they knew my character, just wished me luck. Everything was Ok.
Later in the morning, I woke up earlier, than I had to. I started preparations for the trip. They were helping me, making victuals for me and I was just waiting. I snacked a little, take one bottle of mineral water, say goodbye to everyone, calm them down, as I was going there with navigation system, and started my adventure with gib backpack. Before I reached the forest, one of the locals came across me, and wish me luck.
As soon as I “entered the doorstep” of the wood, I randomly sampled a stick, which seemed as if it was felt here on purpose. I checked the coordinates and started the adventure. Just in 10 minutes my mother called me (like, she has seen me walking there), asked: why are you breathing like that? What’s wrong with you? Are you out of your mind? Don’t you remember, your arm is aching? Here you used to take medicines and now, what are you doing?... and so on… I tried to calm her down and went on. The first marker was in front of me, so, what they have said about marked places, turned out to be truth.
And soon, further, than my first voyage (two days before) I found myself gasping for breath, thirty and all alone, far from the mad world. I come across another marker on the tree,then I rest for a while, many, many uphills, another marker, and I looked at both, Google Map and Application Map at the same time.
Unfortunately, there was No Service, on mobile connection anymore… and all I cared for was to capture every beautiful view around me, the forest and everything, but it was impossible to fit this beauty in one shot, so I just took several fragments.
I even take the picture of the marker, in the “uniform” of the warrior (the sword is my stick), just to tell my grandchildren in the future. The uphill is almost boundless, I wasn’t checking the time anymore, and here comes the first shock! I looked on the side by chance, and my jaw fell down, my phone- upwards, in the air. From the shrouded forest, where I was, it was possible to glimpse an eye on that majestic, snow-covered glacier, its front slope is covered with light green field, and then, surrounded by dark spruce forest.Water, map, go on…. At last, I reached the mushroom, which I’ve been longing for, to tell the truth, since I came here, the whole village is searching for it. It is an old one, but anyway, beautiful, untouched. People never notice it, as those, who come here, don’t have time for mushrooms, the cars neither fumes the area, maybe even a bear liked it and left it like that. I’m sure, bear really liked it.
The air is so fresh, that I’m not breathing, I’m like -eating it. The green woodland, blue, blue sky, the heat, I can bear it so far. I don’t even think of taking off my coat. There is only one thing in my mind: yesterday, I was slightly late for my suffer, and it was 7:45, when I had one, it was enough dark outside. So, it means, that if I started my journey at 10 o’clock, in seven hours, it will be already 5 o’clock, as they warned me, there is about three or four hour walk, to get back, so, there’s no way, I’ll be back till 8 o’clock. Waw, I’m totally fucked up. All I have is just one borrowed knife, lighter, and deodorant, I don’t think it will help with staying alive among those bears and jackals, which vagrancy around, like dogs in big cities.
The forest has changed a lot. Time after time it is really noticeable, how the spruce trees have become rare, and changed by short, leafy trees, also, it is more stuffy air. Or maybe, that was just my imagination, as I was tired, and thirsty, and the temperature is going higher and higher. The road itself is fine, straight, and I’m thankful for it. I’m kind of happy too, as I managed to walk the forest in half an hour, (they told me that the forest would take about 2 hours, or more). Hurrah!
I’m taking pictures of further mountains, still the slopes covered with the trees, limitless green is all around.
This is the color, I admire, idol... Which one do you prefer? Darker, less dark, less light, light, bright, to sum up, there is the whole palette of colours. I’m taking pictures and go on walking on the thwarted grass.
11:23 AM, Battery- 51%, Water- Quarter.
I was almost sinking in the tiredness, when the downhill started. It started, but I can explain, what it was like. Boundless gorge with subalpine zone short plants, the crystal clear sky, at the end of the gorge, river- my saviour river, and arrogant rocks all around the gorge.
I wish I had not looked back. Behind me stood firmly, proudly the vast and limitless view of Kavkasioni. I grabbed my mobile to take another panorama, of course, it’s impossible to capture such beauty with a camera. 180 degrees isn’t enough to express this nature.
I can’t stand any more, I want to roar, but I remember, that in this way, my four-footed “friends” may attract attention on me, so I trying to keep calm. I can feel, how my heart is beating, my eyes are squinting, I’m swallowing the air greedily. There are just two things, that disturbs me: the heat and thirst. Thirst-more, as the river is still too far from me, (and also, much farther, then I think at this time). So I went on, “crawling”on the way, which seemed to me as it was straight, but for another foreshortening, was downhill.
It plays on my nerves, that I’m not getting any closer to the river, and it’s already two hours, since I’ve been walking.
5 minutes later I dropped my last sip of water in my dried throat. Now, I’m standing in the middle of the river, and breath the cold air. The sound of the river, the growl of it is drowning out every sound nearby. Even my thoughts. It took me long to walk through the high, very high grass to get there. Also, I was using my stick to make sound, in case of something was there, would get off my way. The only thing I was late was huge bug and spider, I almost put my feet on them. The tails were the one thing, I could notice in others. They may have scolded me a lot. Anyway, I tried my best to get there without causing any noise. It would be better, if I hadn’t grabbed my hand to the hen-bane, but that’s ok. I will stab my hand in my left hand, and cool down the other one in the river.
The river water turned out to be very cold and tasty, I don’t know, if it’s really like that, or it seems to be, as I’ very exhausted. I look at this limitless uphill, take, I don’t even know, which one photo, look around those huge boulders, which I have bravely walked, the fields, fill up my little bottle with fresh water, and go on walking.
I thought about hunger for a while, but I’m not that hungry. Maybe this is because of nature, the camera is so feeble to compare with that view, that I take a memorable video, but it’s not better, so, I just try to remember it in my mind strongly. This beauty is unbearable.
I’m going across the river, uphill, i’m trying my best not to go far from the river, but without success. The labels make me walk away from the river. The road is getting harder and harder.
Several minutes ago, my left hand’s fingers were stung by nettles, I washed it too with the spring water. I checked the application, and it is obvious, that my downloaded route is not correct. But both of them are going on the same way, so I’m calm… only thing is my charger, which, as a result of taking photos and videos, and also, with the application,I’ve downloaded, went flat unbelievably fast. It’s very hot, I can hardly walk with long sleeved T-shirt, but I don’t even want to take it off, as it protects me from that wild flora. But, at last, as it was almost unbearable to walk with T-shirt, I took it off. Suddenly, my feet fall through a little spring, so I had to stop for a while. So, here I am, sitting on the grass, (the grass is over my head, as it’s really very high) I’m trying not to slither and not fall into the deep rocky ravine, and still I’m happy, as I hear the sound of the nature. I don’t want anything to fall down on my face, of bite me, I just want to dry my wet feet in the grass, under the sun and continue my journey.
1:13 AM, Battery- 29%, Water-dirty.
I lost my way...almost…. But who should show me the right way? Who can I ask? The only one, who I can ask something is myself, and it shouldn’t be believed, all the time, as I am kind of schizophrenic symbiosis. That’s why I stopped searching for those labels and I’m going On My Way! Yes, it’s me! This is the story, how I almost lost….
Ok, now I’m still walking across the labels, and it takes me far, far from the river, on a very hard, impervious field, full with human-height grasses, as I remembered, I had already been there, that’s where the last label took me before. Later people told me, that there are several ways, which take you to the same place. I’m in a very bad mood, the water, which I take in the river, is so dirty, that I can’t drink, at the same time, I’m stuck in a silly uphill, and there no point of seeing any path nearby. I understood, that as there is nothing ahead, supposedly, there should be some way across the boggy spring, maybe after this the way becomes straight again. But the scale of the road and the complexity of the hill is really frightening me, so I don’t know what to do. At last, I decide to back down, and go downhill. Two labels are behind me… which I have already met before… So, I’m walking the same way again and again. And then, when I thought, that there was no way out of it, and the only hope was my almost battery- low mobile, that’s when, I suddenly, out of nothing, saw another label, “new one”. As it seemed, there was another way too, I wanted to make a connect with religious, but then I changed my mind, realised, that too many successful or failed discussion would struck in my head, and I was already tired here, 2400 meters from the sea level… soon, that label confused me too, so I grabbed my navigation system.
Thanks God, I didn’t drink that water. After a long, tiring wandering around pathless grasses and boulders in the river, I reached the right way (according to the navigation system). At the same time, I was trying to choose the route, as well as walk on the uphill. In front of me there was wonderful, picturesque volcanic mountains, limitless view, and behind me there was captivating downhill, with white hatted, grey ridges, subalpine slopes…. Soon, I stopped looking in the navigator, as my mobile was already on the economic -regime. I was afraid of turning off. I calculated approximately how much should I still walk and started to climb over the boulders in the river.My feet fall through the stones, two times, as a result of the river, which has worked hard to drain the ground under the stones. The stone could bear its’ own weight, but not-mine. I should also mention, that the river water was so crystal clear, that I not only filled my bottle, but also, wanted to jump and swim… maybe I would dare this, but the water level was too low. While I was trying to jump from one boulder to another, my stick suddenly broke down. So I was looking like a pilgrim, more than a warrior. But who cared stick, when I almost broke my leg? I realised, that only someone, crazy like me, would find me there, after several days, as there was no mobile service, even there was no one to call for help, even as we take into account the roar of the river. The sun was also unbearable, it was really scorching heat, and my head was aching, so I put over my head the handkerchief and poured the whole bottle over it. At least, the river was under my feet. So, I was able to fill my bottle at any time.
I’m sitting and eating, I’m so hungry… no wonder, unstoppable, exhausting walking on the slopes, I had “oxygen carboy” on my nose, and the damp climate of the river, just imagine such conditions, is it possible not to be hungry?
I saved one cucumber and a boiled egg for the way back to the village. I ate some cheese. The cucumber, tomato, two eggs and a piece of Lobiani helped me to forget every problem for a while, except- one. I’m sitting alone, in a pathless, inarticulate, low field, among the plants, where no sunlight appears, I have my rain gear coat on my head, which is like a tree shadow for me. As soon as I overcame that hard, rocky slopes, go far, far away from the river, the road became straight.
That was the last field, where ground was visible, and everywhere, it had holes, so, that means, that something lives there, and what am I doing? Just sitting calm and eating? Even if it doesn’t want to come out, it will be seduced to come and see, who is breaking their silence and peace. But I’m still sitting, and looking the road, where should be the lake!..
I’m done. I collected the trash and went on to the lake.
I have to rest for a while, as it’s impossible to walk anymore, I don’t understand, how can I stand this. I don’t have enough strength in my legs, and I’m trying to walk across the boulders, it is easier, as I can use my hands too. The uphill is getting harder. There is another spring, which is the source of another ten, wriggling springs, and I follow them, up and up.
The views have changed incredibly, if there was dominating plants and green colour, now, yellow and grey boulders are all around. And bellow is really wonderland. The fields colour change from green to beige, and above them is standing snow-covered centennial glaciers. Am now looking at the view. It’s really wonderful, I wish, my mobile battery hasn’t lowed. Anyway, I’m going to take a picture of it. I can’t capture anything like that.
I had to leave that spring too, as it turns into another way. I have to walk through the Catitsvera mountain pass, as I know, that there is the lake on the other way.
It’s over, I don’t have any energy. I crawled on everything- in the fields, rivers, boulders, rocks, still fields, and now I’m standing in the middle of the rocks. Oh, did I say, that I’m standing? Because, I’m not, I’m almost lying, as it’s a really very stretching downhill. I’m going across the river, uphill, I’m trying my best not to go far from the river, but without success. The labels make me walk away from the river. The road is getting harder and harder. Several minutes ago, my left hand’s fingers were stung by nettles, I washed it too with the spring water. I checked the application, and it is obvious, that my downloaded route is not correct. But both of them are going on the same way, so I’m calm… only thing is my charger, which, as a result of taking photos and videos, and also, with the application, I’ve downloaded, went flat unbelievably fast.
When I looked at the picture, I found out, that the ravine looks like a little downhill, but it’s not, believe me! I’m laughing, I there is no reason, why should I laugh. I hang my backpack again, miserably, and I’m moving on. The upper field is beautiful, but not as good, as it seemed from the down. At the head of the spring the Catitsvera seemed like it was wonderful, rocky end of the green uphill, and now, when I’m here, it is just rocky uphill. The sun is setting….!
At last, I did it. I couldn’t imagine I could do it so fast, as I have spent the last 150 meters in the fear of falling down, losing my way, and even afraid of the eagle! And my mobile battery was so low, that I didn’t even look at the navigation system. There was a “crossroads” in front of me, and I had to choose on my own way, which was better. There were birds all around me, and I was praying, not to be an eagle, among them. In some situations, even a little nudging of a wing would be enough for me to fly into the souls’ world. Also, I had another problem: this was the first time, when I lost the sun! The only bright point in my journey! The last 100 meters I’ve been crawling down in the shadows and cold, cold ground, but I didn’t think about putting on my T-shirt, as it was impossible to remove neither my backpack, nor my girdle.
When I reached at the peak, I realised, that the sculptures I’ve seen from behind, has been just grouped flat rocks, with some writings on them. I did the same and scratched out my name. I didn’t put “my stone” on the others, just find an empty place, and left it here. (I didn’t want anyone to destroy my ”pride”, or hide with their stones.)
And, here is the lake. I’m standing there, in front of the masterpiece of nature and art, I’m looking at this tiny bit of legendary lake, which is no bigger, than a pool. The lake’s depth is still unknown to everyone.
I’m proud of myself, I can’t explain, how proud I am. But also, exhausted. I remember the wisdom from the day before, that to reach that lake, it would take me no less, than an hour, as a result of bad relief, and collapsed boulders. I’m laughing, how it is possible to take me so long to get there? It’s so close. And the views make me crazy… no, I’m speechless. No matter, where do you look, there are mountains everywhere- boulders, snow, white, black, blue, green, beige, grey, yellow… and those limitless slopes, far, far away… and under them, there is the lake. And you are standing here, and don’t know what else to do. The sun is still shining for me, my bones are melting down, and I’m singing quietly, we will be here together, me and the sun. it won’t hide from me anymore… while it reaches another slope, I’ll be on my way back to home .
After 10 minutes of jumping over the boulders, slipping on the downhill and stunned by the astonishing views, I’m standing near the spring, at the end of the snowy massif, where, in front of my eyes, the springs is being born. I don’t even have any emotions left to express how I feel. I like it a lot, so, I’m taking a picture of it. Maybe, this was the last time I see that, as I don’t have the energy even to remember anything.
Everything is black and white here, and I calms me down, like the nature helped me to feel it. I can’t see the lake anymore, but I don’t care, as I know, it’s somewhere near.
After 10 minutes, I still saw the lake, I thought, I have lost my way, when suddenly I saw a couple near the lake, bustling lovely.
After 7 very long hours, I wasn’t alone anymore! I had someone, to say something, and I was still breathing calmly… I hugged both of them, too happy to say something, they were astonished, when I told them, that I was all by myself. Especially when they heard, that I have come here today, and was going to go back. As it turned out, the night fell to them, when they were at that place, where my hair almost got grey. They were going to stay there, until morning. I was even able to charge my battery with their sun- battery. When they told me, that there was another person with them, and talking on the phone, I was very glad, as I was looking forward to that comely person.
I called my relatives, the manager, tell them, that I as alive. At this moment, there was such a wonderful view in front of me, that my mobile charged itself, to take a photo.
I rested for a while and filled my bottle with an ice-cold and crystal clear water. I was preparing to go back. I hardly climbed over the Glola mountain pass, realising, that I was out of energy. While climbing, I expected in every minute to fall down as a result of my feet, or hand, but I was still calm, as I wasn’t alone, and they would help me.
At last I climbed over the mountain pass. There was quite a different view of the nature from here (as I came here with one way, and was going back to another), as they suggested me. I’m looking at the Caucasus Mountains and I’m feeling hungry.
I gave my rural dinner on the downhill. Cucumber, bread, and delicious water. I didn’t touch the cheese. Packed my food and go on walking down. There is a very big testament for me- I had to walk 3 and the half hour way in 2 hours. It’s really very hard to climb down.
I can’t stand such beauty any longer, the sun is setting, the shadows of the boulders from the left and right, crystal clear sky, Caucasus Mountains, behind me, in the darkness, dazzling white snowy slopes, I’m taking the last pictures of my unforgettable journey, and then, go on walking to the further, snowy glaciers.
Among those titan mountains, I thought for a while about the history of Georgia, as those mountains saved our traditions, those were the knights, who rescued people from vanishing from the political maps, those were the mountains, which were the first heralds of informing people about enemies. They’ve saved our past. They’ve created that beauty, the reason I was risking my one and only life.
6:30, Battery-4%, Water- 1/3
I’m still competing with the sun, I’m trying really hard to run away from the shadows, and running at breakneck speed in a very small field, one, then the other, then grass, short grass, high grass, turning, still turning, slipping on the road, turning my shins. And I’m still in the mode of the galloping horse, trying not to stop at all. I’m not afraid of being noisy, the only thing I care about is not to stay here before sundown. I looked at my phone for the last time, and turned it off. I’m not afraid of the lizards either, as there is no way I’m staying here. Anyway, I’ll be frozen at 3000 meters, as well as at 2500. I’m already cold, and wearing my coat. First, my left foot turned over, then the right one. But they both bear it, I’m fine after several steps, my knees are aching, it’s not easy to run down the hill unstoppable, and even try, not to fall from the path. On the way I came across the tourists, wandering around, with Georgian guide, and I told them, that was the gorge, the only one hill and there was the lake. On the way, I was laughing to myself, this is the favourite phrase in Georgian guides.
At last, I came down from the alpine zone, I think, form the sub alpine too. I met a spring down there. Maybe it came down from the same way, I did, but it doesn’t have to hurry up, and I do. That’s why, I can’t look at this sweet nature, i’m just filling up my water and drink it with drops, as I don’t want dewatering to happen to me. I sat down on the stone, and trying to calm down, as my heart is beating intensely. The muscles on my legs are in a bad condition too, but I remember, that during the times I was working out, stopping for a while tired me more, than practise itself. So, I leaned on my stick and go on walking in the forest. The sun has almost set downed. And I’m running on purpose.
I don’t know how much I run, or made noise, sometimes I was grabbing the grass and trees, branches, everything, my mobile died out, when, delighted with entering the forest, the labels, decide to take a photo. I understood, that there was no way to lighten my road anymore, I neither had any lighter in my bag, maybe it has fallen from my bag somewhere, in the beginning of the journey. I’t resting my burning legs on the roots of the trees, because, if I sad downs, I won’t be able to stand up. Oh, what’s that noise? Is this a puppy whimpering? It makes me smile for a while, but soon, I realise, that in such a thick forest, there is no way of a puppy to be there. So, I immediately take my mobile out of the backpack, the sun has already downed now, the moon shines for me.
I did it. Just in two hours, I did it! The last half hour I spent walking in a pitch dark forest, first I heard the sound of the river, then, cars, and at last, I saw the roof of the house. I was almost strolling down, calmly. To tell the truth, I wanted to walk fast, but there was no way of walking any faster, as I was too tired. The brain wanted to do it faster, but my body won’t obey. Suddenly I heard something, plopping, first, I thought it was a pig, but as it made a really scary sound, I eliminated that idea. I went on and come across the bog, and after 5 kilometer walk, saw the fence of the village. It was half past eight, when I reached Shovi.. I was walking proudly in the moonlight...