Hike to Gergeti Monastery

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September 8th 2016
Published: October 1st 2017
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A glorious day!

We ate a good brekkies, knowing that we had a long hike today. Then we drove up to the town of Kazbegi. Along the way, we paused to drink from a mineral spring, which trickled down a rock face encrusted in yellow and red. Other springs in the area had the classic iron color; this was more yellow.

Our driver had a friend that has a four-wheel drive, which he uses to take tourists up to the church (Gergeti Holy Trinity church), so we arranged for Pas to get a ride while the rest of us walked.

It was a beautiful hike. We started up the village road, then walked through the village, then across a pasture, then on the main road – which is dirt and rutted and narrow and winding and requires four-wheel drive. We took a couple of short short-cuts but mostly stuck to the road. The weather was perfect for hiking. Sue did remarkably well, considering that she is still recovering from a broken foot.

The hike took us a little under two hours. It was a little disappointing that cars could also make the trip to the monastery, but I'm glad Pas was able to come up as well. We visited the church and walked around the wall, admiring the view. The monastery is mostly about the hike and the views, although it is popular with families during the two main holidays of the year.

We picnicked (snacks, really), then decided to hike down the direct route, which is all trail. The trail mostly was not too steep, although it was a bit covered in gravel at times. Still, it was another great hike. The four of us also climbed the ruins of an old watch tower.

We then drove to the Russian border. The drive took us along a gorgeous gorge – high, jagged peaks on each side, rushing river in the bottom. Near the border, the road was destroyed by a major flood. Our guide says avalanches happen each spring, causing mayhem along the border. A bit further from the border (actually, on the other side of Kazbegi), we counted 75 trucks waiting to be called across. Our driver said they sometimes have to wait two weeks to get across (because Russian officials are so corrupt).

We had lunch in Kazbegi – a very good chicken dish with garlic and mayonnaise (it's better than it sounds). Then back to the hotel. We watched MST3k in the evening.

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