22nd August 2017
After drinking some homemade thyme tea we set off on another excursion on horseback towards a glacier lake 2300m above sea level in the next valley offering panoramic views of Tusheti. We ride through Alpine meadows and pass Georgian Caucasian sheepdogs-Nagazis protecting their flock. The Tushetian Nagazi is an intuitive and dominant dog, devoted to its master and aloof with strangers. The Georgian mountain dog bonds with the herd and will protect them with its life.
We continue our climb through a winding pine forest towards Lake Oreti. It is a difficult climb up towards the ridge and it rises rapidly in a traversing fashion, all 400m of it. After a short rest at the top to catch our breath and our horses we finally reach the lake. Owing to the lack of rain in recent weeks the lake is lower than usual. Despite this it provides a welcome relief for the high temperatures and a few of us change into our togs and jump in. The water is cool but refreshing. Our picnic lunch awaits us as we dry off in the sun-tomato, cucumber, egg, bread, khachapuri (cheese bread), cheese and a biscuit.
Another stunning days ride was up and over Angels pass and down the other side of an old shepherd trail-Dadikurta. The winding path that we ascent is magnificent. Birds of prey hover below us as we have climbed so high on this aptly named path. Like everything in Tusheti there are winding ascents and winding descents. We dismount and lead our horses the long way down on foot through some magnificent scenery that is at times hard to take in as you are so busy looking at where your placing your feet. We meet some hikers on the path and a shepherd bringing up grain for his sheep astride two packhorses.
Throughout our time here it becomes abundantly clear how important the horse is in this region. They are strong and trustworthy and a reliable companion for the semi-nomadic people of Tusheti. Tusheti is a paradise for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, equestrians, and artists. The mountains solitariness and the Tushetians hospitality and culinary skills made this an unforgettable trip and I hope I get to return one day.