Linda: bear tracks, Spanish revolution in jungle and mountain spirits

At 6:00 the demons had left the bodies of Tbilisi weekenders and they quietly got up, got ready and left. We were relieved to be on our own and had peaceful breakfast and I decided to boil the drinking water, Marta opted for putting up with diarrhea. 

The trail no. 2 was much more poorly marked- very soon we had doubts, which way to go. The one we chose, displayed an array of perfect bear tracks. Momentary analysis led us to conclude that they are at least 1,5 days old and we don’t have to drop to the ground and pretend dead.

Continued to follow the trail, but soon found no marking anymore. Off-trail and on our own responsibility once again. Decided to follow an old path that seemed frequented by people some time ago but abandoned recently- it went up all the time through a shady forest and this was our right direction- North-West and up to the peak of Qvazvinebi. 

When it got really hard for her to climb, Marta found solace in loudly singing Spanish revolutionary songs- a performance that reached its peak when we came to clearing in the forest just to find out that the path is completely overgrown by lush, gigantic dense nettle and other stinging and scratching and catching plant species rising high above our heads. I went first- it required a lot of imagination to figure out where the path might be somewhere in the mud below this ample biomass and anyway I was soon trapped hopelessly by the plants wrapped all around my limbs and belly, unable to move one step further. Marta raised her revolutionary volume to unpreceeded heights and me inspired by her fighting spirit, I let a battle cry out myself and started literally chopping my way through with my trekking stick. We joined our voices into powerful Queen songs sending chopped plant parts flying in the sky until with “we are the champions- we will be fighting till the end” on my lips I was out of the jungle next to a half rotten wooden hut, which had been marked on our made in USSR map produced in mid 70s.

Reaching the pass below Mt. Qvazvinebi I knew I want to go up to its peak as well as I knew that Marta would not, but as always she was ready to stay and wait for me. I ran up to the top, which was very close and easy, was met by cows up there and located our path to continue on- traversing around the mountain. We followed the trail, but it just kept going round the hill, with no sign of wanting to go down- where our hut was, so at one point we just went down in seemingly right direction.. and “the day was saved again… by… Powerpuff girls!”- we came to a marked trail soon leading us to Qvazvinebi hut. We felt like we had passed the exam of pathfinding after all these cases of getting off-trail, but always finding our way to our target.

It was great to settle in an empty hut without anyone in sight, although we were expecting Jaba and co to arrive any moment. Could not find any water in the vicinity of the hut- the riverbed beside it was dry, no matter how far I went down it, while Marta was having a nap (when her nose touched her knees while sitting on a porch, I had advised her to find a horizontal place to sleep on). Gathered firewood instead wondering- why would we need it if there is no water for cooking. Was sitting on the porch in front of the house being wrapped completely by white milky clouds reducing the range of visibility to few meters, listening if boys are not coming and sewing my pants and longed to stay in this place of tranquility for a week at least. Talked to mountain spirits asking for water and soon it started to rain and using all available means of collecting rainwater- including plastic bags we managed to gather all the water we needed for drinking, cooking and I even braved to have a rain shower- screaming cold but very refreshing. My negotiations with spirits regarding stopping the rain and letting us make fire were less successful, so our firewood arranged by Marta with mathematical precision was left unused.

Guys had not arrived when we went to sleep and Marta put benches behind every door fearing that otherwise she would not hear and wake up if somebody entered the hut. Lying on the bed afterwards she heard someone coming all the time. But those were only spirits.

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