Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Georgia - Part 6: Juta to Omalo

Georgia 24. - 30.08.2022

The last 7 days hiking from Juta to Omalo, were a real highlight - walking on many ridges, with beautiful views, early camps and in incredible nice weather.

So my warning, if you decide to continue looking at my pictures: there are A LOT of pictures!!! Sorry for that, but it was already hard to select "only" those many - seems like I took faar tooooo many :)

From Kazbegi, we "hitched" to Juta, which turned out to be super fast and easy, since we paid a little money again. Then we hiked over the Chaukhi Pass, which we learned, is a very popular hike - but for a good reason!

The first glimps onto the so called "Chaukhi Dolomites"

Do you see the small spots? 
That are people ascending the little steep bit. Nearly up, but not on Chaukhi pass! We discovered that the trail ascended before the pass up onto the ridge and then followed the ridgeline to the actual pass.

Looking back down into the valley, that we had walked up

Following the ridgeline!

Looking down close from the pass onto the white lake (on the right), the blue and green lake are hidden in the rocky part before the green hill

Just with a person, the impressive greatness of the landscape becomes visible

Funny situation how we ended up with this picture: a French-Australian couple passed us, while we had a short break and asked us, if they should take a picture of us, since they thought it's a nice picture. An interesting couple that also planned to camp down somewhere at the lakes and we ended up talking for a while, before continuing down.

We went down in many switchbacks 

The blue lake

While the days are warm and sunny, it is freezing nearly every night!!!

The green lake - not very green in the morning light, but I loved my shade and the reflexions 

Gerald is taking pictures of some butterflies...

Can't get enough of those mountains!

River crossing- standing on a bridge :)

We slowly ascended...

... and then we were on the ridge! We stayed up on around 3.000 m elevation for 2 days :)

Here (nearly on the ridge again) I was totally done...
The story behind: we left the ridge to walk around a huge sheep flock. So we ended up on a path, where suddenly 2 dogs barked at us. We saw a few sheep far up the hill and after some yelling and whisteling, we saw something in the grass behind the dogs move. A person! We yelled over the still barking dogs and finally the shepherd managed to rise, but directly fell into the grass again. Totally drunk!!! But he made the dogs stop barking at us and we passed unharmed. But that meant, that we had to walk back up to the ridge, which had ascended a lot! Steeply up the hill with 8 days of food, quite some water and through high grass. I was so done....

And now lots of pictures to enjoy being up on the ridge :)

This nice looking lake wasn't even on our maps!

Sadly there was still a road visible, but even with this road it was incredible spectacular!

The first campspot on the ridge near Mt. Borocha. And we even found some water in a stream down to the left!

This day, the path often avoided the ups and downs on the ridge, but therefore there were some small paths and gullies to cross, which were fine, but for somebody like me, who is afraid of heights (actually getting worse, the older I get), it was rather a little challenging

The next pictures are just something to enjoy

Borbalo Lake - not very beautiful but there is a nice spring!

Up onto the next ridge from Borbalo Pass

Looking back to Borbalo pass

A little photo- series: 
Nr 1 - the valley

Nr. 2 - the valley and a little of the ridge

Nr. 3 - the full view of being on the ridge
Instead of dropping directly down into the river valley to the left, we continued a few more kilometers on the ridgeline - so beautiful!

But at some point we left the ridge...

... down into that wide valley

We camped a little above the river valley, since down there were cows and shepherd huts

Cooking noodles on our Hobo 
(a stove that uses only small sticks)

Down in the river valley, we crossed this river barefoot - no problem, since it's late summer and not fed by a glacier

The river changes from wide...

... to smaller

Cows are everywhere ;)

Sometimes the path is small!

The bridge collapsed, but gladly it is still usable

And then the path goes up and follows the river, always above. And we got to see trees again!

A shepherds hut - obviously still in use

An early camp above the river - a little too windy for some hours in the afternoon and at night, but beautiful

And then we dropped down...

... and forded the river near the village Verkhovani, which you can see up on the hill on the left

We came to the ruins of Dadikurta, where we had a rather unpleasant situation: 
We had seen a person with a horse at one house. When we came closer, 3 dogs barked at us, two being very aggressive towards us. Just after a while, when we weren't sure how the situation might end for us, the guy called back his dogs and let us pass. But I have to mention, that apart from this situation, dogs haven't been very aggressive and usually were afraid, when we picked up stones. But this situation brought me back to Romania and the sad day in 2021, when 10 dogs actually attacked me...

We walked up towards another ridge with beautiful views back - the little valley up on the other side is where we came from!

Another incredible beautiful camping spot - life is good!!!!

There were lots of those - our new room mates ;)

I think you can't see it, but pretty much in the middle on the flat hill is a tiny white spot - our tent!

A little evening walk to the pass

The next morning: Still in long pants and with a pullover, but soon the sun is warming us

Birds in the morning sky!

Walking around Mt. Sakkhevi

Looking towards the steep and rocky border-ridgeline to the north

Descending towards Omalo, where we checked into a guest house...

... and ate incredible amounts of Georgian food! btw, the 10 huge Kinkhalis and the bottle of home-made VERY strong Chacha (local grape liquor) aren't even on the table yet ;)

CONGRATULATIONS, you made it through over 100 photos :)

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