Our big goal was Didi Abuli, 3,301 m high, an extinct volcano in the Lesser Caucasus. The tour was described as very long and strenuous, so we started very early. We had to drive the first part by car. There were more people up and active in front of us – it was Sunday pig market that we drove through.
Then you come to the village of Abuli from where you usually start. But we were very happy that our taxi with 4×4 drove higher and higher up the track and could thus shorten the distance and altitude metres. On the way we saw herds of animals in the lush grass – totally beautiful.
Then we said goodbye to our driver.
First we simply went uphill over flowering meadows and grass. The view grew wider with every step uphill, the sun laughed from the sky, it was perfect! I kept holding the camera in front of my eyes, happy to see Patrick, the little colourful dot in the landscape.
And then we were at the foot of the steeper part with big stones and boulders that were rather loose. We thought about which route we should take to avoid the snow and decided on “cross-country”. On the photo it looks super easy and flat – but that was a mighty fallacy.
I had to struggle mightily. First of all, I’d never walked anything like this before, and I struggled with the fact that I so rarely had a solid surface and the stones were always moving here and there. I had the feeling that I was constantly putting my feet in the wrong place – but probably there was no “right” and the wiggling is just part of it. But the higher view offered more and more great scenery including lakes.
With breaks, it went higher and higher. I wanted to stop at a cross that wasn’t on the summit, but then my ambition awoke and I made it to the top. And didn’t regret it at all. The wind got stronger and stronger (it was also mentioned in the description) and the temperature got lower and lower, but I had enough warm clothes with me.
We were at the summit at the perfect time for a midday rest – only the wind was so strong and cold that it was no real pleasure to linger. Unfortunately, the actually magnificent 360 degree view was also somewhat clouded. On better days, you should even be able to see Ararat.
For the descent, I took a different route, namely a small, barely recognisable path. That was a bit easier, but further down it was gone again. It would have been difficult to find the starting point. Then it was over beautiful meadows to the village. The flock of sheep was far enough away, but had barking dogs and the horses were grazing around without dogs.
I’ve forgotten from what altitude we started, but it was maybe about 800 metres up and then 1,300 metres all the way down again. And I was pretty tired, the stones took a lot out of me physically and mentally. Nevertheless, it was a great day in an impressive landscape, which also looks different from what I had seen before.
The day was not yet over and neither was the walking. When the car picked us up, the first raindrops came down. After the shower, we thought we could have a nice meal in the hotel’s own restaurant. But that didn’t work out. It was a kind of closed society of teachers with blaring loud music, sitting in front of fruit and cake. We were invited to join them, but we wanted something warm and hearty. The only problem was that we had to walk into town again, i.e. at least 2 km. The first recommended restaurant was open, but refused to give us anything to eat. The next one had something, but it was a strange place with very high ceilings and stuffed wild boar and leopard and such animals. The place itself was desolate. Hardly anyone to be seen, hardly any light behind the rotten windows, dusty streets with huge puddles (luckily the rain had decreased). We had the feeling of having landed in the last corner of Russia. And were happy that our home was somewhere else.
But in the end, the belly was full, Patrick’s pedometer showed over 27,000 and the cleaned limp body sank onto the soft mattress and slumbered away quickly.