If you missed parts 1 and 2 you can read them by clicking HERE
I’m writing this post while I’m waiting for my flights to Kenya via Heathrow so it may be a short post, (apologies in advance)
The day after the peak we had decided to rest however our lay in was disturbed early by workmen who had decided to pick today to reroof the bunkhouse. Banging and hammering and a helicopter delivery of materials later there was no point in staying in bed, so we busied ourselves with a day of washing clothes and attending to the little things that you always miss when on expedition. One spot of good news is that the helicopter had also delivered supplies for the shop so I was now able to have some beer with the afternoon meal. For the life of looking back I can’t remember how the rest of the day went, maybe it was too much sun, anyway as evening came we started to pack most of our gear for our departure for Fisht and the next part of the journey.
The next day was bright and sunny and with most of our gear already packed we were ready to go earlier than expected. Our destination over the next 2 days was to take us back up onto the plateau and onto Lago-Naki, but this time taking the route around the East side of the mountain Ousten. AS we weren’t due back in Sochi till the 29th and it was only the 26th, my plan was to take it slowly crossing the first 2 passes and then camping just after half way wherever we could find a suitable spot. Not long after setting off I had to stop in the woods to lose some weight so Mike went on ahead and I was to catch him up. The days rest however must have brought new life into his legs as I didn’t catch him until we were at the pass “Armanskoe” this was far quicker than I intended, at this rate we would be in Lago-Naki by tea time today, so we sat down, admired the views behind us and took some photo’s.
As we carried on along the trail and up to the next pass we met a Russian school group from Siberia, several of the children took the opportunity to practice their English with me putting my Russian to shame. We said our goodbyes and carried on along the well worn path and with an eagle flying overhead we reached the pass “Guziple”. Here we stopped for a spot of lunch under the shade of some very old pine trees.
We now had a decision to Make, Either drop down into the valley below and look for a campsite, which would take us a little of our intended route. Or as it was only lunchtime, carry on up across the plateau and onto Lago-Naki and finish the trek a day early. The vote was unanimous, we would carry onto lago-Naki even if it meant another late finish. Once you are up onto the Plateau apart from the mountains behind the only remarkable features are the many varied flowers which seem to grow twice the size of anywhere else. By the time we were half way across we had bumped into quite a few people. One group stood out almost immediately with their English accents, turns out the were a group of botanists on what could only be described as a flower spotting holiday. It was late evening before we reached lago-naki and were grateful to get a lift someway down the road in the botanists bus. About 1 1/2 km further down the road we stopped at a cafe and asked about accommodation, thankfully the had a very nice bunkhouse just across the road and we had our first hot shower in over a week.
I’m going to have to cut the story short here as my taxi is due, basically we spent the next day doing the tourist tour to the cave complex they have nearby and having a wander around the souvenir stalls. Vitalys father kindly picked us up after lunch and we all traveled to the next large town where we said goodbye to Vitaly and his father and Mike and I caught the overnight train back to Sochi to arrive at 03:00 in the morning.
I must now than the many people who helped us along the way and made the trip possible. My special thanks go out to my friends Inna for her advice and many phone calls, Oleg and Tatiana her parents for once again letting me stay at their flat and doing my registration and Maria for putting up with me in her flat in Sochi.
It had been an active 2 weeks and a bit of a headache in the beginning, but as usual it was all worthwhile in the end. If you fancy giving me a headache next year then get in touch sooner rather than later.