19-May-2007 -- This visit turned out to be more strenuous than expected, from all studies a road should bring me from Ajarkut on the North-South highway in to a point where I would have to trek only about 1,5 km. As it turned out the road was not passable with Nivas, nor villies, the Russian military jeep. I finally managed to mobilize the director of the local school who had access to a small military truck. For the trip of 14 km he charged Dram 10.000 which is about USD 30. - It was worth it. Walking the distance along a timber truck track would have meant I would have to stay somewhere near the point for the night. Nobody lived there. Apart from wild animals and some some ticks which are known to cause trouble.
The trip to the starting point took one hour. There is an interesting semi-ruin of a monastery, Kirants Monastery, from the 13th century. Unusual, as it is built in red burnt bricks and the church tower is decorated with glazed tiles. Most monasteries in the country are built from stone. Inside there are centuries old frescoes which unfortunately have been damaged by graffiti.
From there it was 1.5 km to the confluence point. On the map 1,5 km is not much. It should be easy. Not so. First obstacle was a small river. Off with shoes and pants! Then it turned out that the confluence point was behind a beech covered hill. That involved climbing about 500 meters up while you only moved 800 - 900 m forward towards the cp. You have to move up, then down again a few hundred meters before you climb up another hundred meters.
The forest was beautiful with fresh green leaves, twittering birds and lots of tracks of animals. I identified deer, boars and a bear which had mishandled an old tree looking for ants, or other bugs. To get to the cp took 1.5 hour with many stops, heavy breathing and a big bottle of water.
The navigation turned out to be slightly errant as the leaves of the tall beech trees influenced the reception of signals for the GPS. Then, when I was honing in on the exact point, I heard the boars, just about 60 - 80 meters further up the hill. They were happily chatting and grunting. I found it wise to settle for a distance of 25 meters from the cp, took the required photos which was difficult due to reflection in the window of the GPS and hurried down the hill, shoes and pants off again and was back at the truck after 2.5 hours.
There I met a very worried director of the local school who was convinced something had happened to me. He had been running up and down along the river shouting and looking for me. The local community certainly got something to talk about: a crazy foreigner in his late sixties climbing through the hill to a point of no interest.
Ps. The time on the GPS is CET, i.e. three hours after Armenian time.