Crossing from Svaneti to Racha (Skedi –> Sadmeli)

When we started the road we knew almost nothing. We did not have a GPS, or normal maps. We used only our vision as an instrument for paving the way. We only knew one thing that we would cross to Racha. We were prepared appropriately and we did have more than enough food.

This is probably when you have an objective and you are striving towards it. You do not give significance to “what you do not have”. You see what you have and you use it right.

Newly acquainted “friends” have taken us from Ushguli down to village Skedi. We had to fill our bread supplies from the locals in Skedi. I remember how a women of my mother’s age gave us two huge loafs of bread. She didn’t even take money. She said: “You are travelling to the mountains my children, for what and why I do not know, but I wish you to find your way…” Encouraged with the prayers of a kind woman we started to walk up the first road from Skedi. I remember it was terribly hot and I was very fatigued. (Before coming here to the mountains we had experienced a heroic week)

Despite the tiredness we killed the way up quickly. We walked approximately 10 km forest road and reached the shepherds.  The main thing was that we have already covered the height and we had no time to be in a hurry. Thinking about this gave me such pleasure that I started wondering: What are these feelings, how do you call them? Emotional filtering? Some kind of meditation? I do not know. But this is what I love the most during walking. This is sifting yourself and your emotions.
Soon we approached a shepherd’s hut.

There were Svans. During this kind of meetings I do comprehend what hospitality means. They did not just invited us in, they took us is in. They told us it was getting dark and it would get cold very fast.

We dined together and exchanged the stories/news of the world. We talked about valley and the talked about the mountains. Difficulty is difficulty everywhere. “We have come to the mountains like stone people for the wellbeing of our children.” The host was concerned and I understood him. It is a one thing when you have a choice to live like this, away from everything and it is another thing to think that that you do not have a choice…
We spent a night next at their huts. They gave us a wooden hut next theirs.  “We will see you in the morning and show you the road,” – they told us. People do not break their promises in the mountains. We had breakfast together and we went on our way.  After walking several kilometres we came across another wooden hut. There was a sour water next it. The minerals revived us and we did not even feel any fatigue.

We said goodbye to our hosts here and continued our way. We had to climb up 200 metre mountain chain. We were almost at the bottom of Chutkhari and over the mountain range there war Racha awaiting for us.

The sun, high grass up to the waist, huge backpack that makes shoulders hurt and the cricked way of a mountain gorge.  After walking up 8 kilometres we decided to rest at the bank of a river.

There were so many blueberries on our path that I was afraid not get poisoned form overeating, or is it is common to a body, not feel disgust after getting so much of this wonderful fruit. But I was unable to resist. We set for hours and hunted blueberries like bears. We shovelled palms of blueberries down our mouths. We did not even have to move in the grass and look for it. It was everywhere. We filled our bodies with blueberries. We swam in an ice-cold   mountain river, had lunch and started to climb up again.

Almost no one takes these tracks unless you meet a man who moved to the mountains. But this is a one in a million thing.

There was 200 metre stiff way up waiting for us. It would take us up to the mountain range. It did not take us an hour that we were at the top of the range. We relaxed by our mind and our soul by watching to one side at the wonderful views of Racha and then we looked to another side and saw the majestic summit of Tetnuldi.

I was watching and memorizing that once I returned back to the city I would remember how energizing this kind of view is. It is powerful, proud and independent. It reminds you all the best things… it will skin you before you go there and then it puts an armour on you before you leave.

We put down our begs and started jumping like savages, running around, laughing and screaming like we were alone in world and we were awakening and entertaining the sleeping nature…
It was time to climb back down. We had to walk down to the right from the bottom of Chutkhari. But there are to valleys here… and we have the choice. Both of them lead to someplace, but we had no idea about one of them.

Our maps are not good, but it’s alright: “Let’s choose the one that is there”. We are feeling well, we have what we need and have all the time. Let it be an opportunity to find something new. We walked down the mountain gorge.

At first we had to jump around the rocks 5 times our size at the bottom of Chutkhari. Without backpacks it would be very entertaining but with 10 kg bags our knees start to complain about jumping. So with jumping and complaining we walked down through the settlement of rocks and wander to the Simba Panorama. There is a huge rock at the bottom of Chutkhari. It might be a bit larger than a two-storey building. We put down are bags and started to enjoy the scenery. We watched the birds, Chutkhari or sometimes we looked at the green or simply at the sky…

I believe that rivers are the prime riches of Racha. Almost in every hundred metres we came accross the pools that man can’t just simply walk by.  And we did stop. We did swim and did get dry and then we carried on walking our road.  It happened about 10 times like this.

I found 2 lemons at one of these kind of pools. I got an idea immediately: I squeezed lemon in a cup, added some sugar and filled it with ice-cold water of a spring and voila we got a really lemon lemonade… cool and sour for the heat of summer.

As we walked down finally we looked at Chutkhala, and it looked marvellous from a far in unity.

And then was a dinner. Filling our stock and a road to Lechkhumi. We have a heaven and not a country.

If you do not believe, go and see yourself.