Linda: mudsliding to Sahlvari

Woke up at 5:00 with no rangers in sight- they had just disappeared, boys were getting up and leaving. At 6:00 woke Marta and we were ready to walk at 7:00 being anxious that our path goes right next to djigit-Georgij’s hut- we had no chance to pass it without being noticed. Shortly before his hut some of the boys were waiting on the trail- seemed that the rangers had instructed them to make sure we pass here safely- we were very lucky to have them there and greatly relieved to finally leave the territory of this macho rule.

I climbed one of Lomis Mta peaks with Marta waiting for me below to catch mobile network and thank all the people involved in helping us the previous night and to Jaba confirming that we will meet him at Qvazvinebi hut in two days. Could see Greater Caucasus range from there- Mt. Elbrus and Mt. Kazbek. 

After the peak the walk was down, down, down, on the way met Georgian campers, who warned us about the trail being very muddy and muddy it was indeed- sticky, slippery ankle-high mud all over, turning our boots into big and heavy mud piles. Could not decide- is it mud-walking or more of a mud-sliding. Trail was well marked here except for where we crossed a river and the only obvious pass ended in the river itself. Was not sure if we are really supposed to walk on the riverbed so went up and down it several times in search of trail marks- had to be careful not to loose it this time, because our good map had fallen out of Marta’s backpack during one of her mudsliding rides. Down the river seemed to be the right direction and soon Marta walked through the water paying no attention of her boots getting completely soaked- enjoying the wet-boot fun, while I was skeptical- she will have to walk in wet boots for several days to come and that is a true suffering.

Even more fun than walking through a river was trying to push our way through a tropical jungle like overgrowth of large-leafed plants rising dense above our heads with always-present mud under our feet.

On the way, when lifting my backpack, heard a sound of torn cloth- my heavy-used trekking pants had given in and now I had stylish sexy torns on my butt. Somehow, this new style did not feel suitable for walking around this djigit land, so tried to make a temporary repair with tape.

Reached our aim- the Sahlvari hut to find out that this night we will be sharing it with 10 lads on holidays from Tbilisi. Having learned a lesson from the previous night- stayed together and away from them, as politely as possible. Overall they seemed nice and even helpful. 

Was delighted to wash myself and my clothing in a river- after two days of heavy sweating and mud-bathing. Took water from the river, but reading the information on Marta’s water purification tablets realized that they are useless for us, because are meant to keep fresh water that is already clean- Marta just never read the information. Remembered from my previous climbs in Caucasus the bad image of Caucasian rivers causing diarrhea to thirsty mountaineers drinking from them.

Made dinner of rice and fish, refused invitations to join cha-cha drinking and sat down to repair my pants. I should have known better by now, that cha-cha can turn even the nicest persons into yelling, rude bastards. Try sleeping with a bunch of drunk men shouting at the top of their voices, trying to perform top of the pops of Georgian music, starting fights, smoking inside the non-smoking hut, trying to guess, what kind of bright ideas will come to their minds next. 

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