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Mucking North Toward the Russian Federation

So close, and yet (thank God) so far away.

piggies
To quote a Canadian hiker we met: "Pigs are a magical animal: they turn vegetables into bacon."

With a three-day hike ahead of us back to Mestia tomorrow, Robin and I took a leisurely meander toward Shkara, the highest peak in Georgia at 5,057 meters. Lately it’s rained significantly and been quite hot, so the glaciers are peeing down the mountain like it’s an Irish wake and sogging up the entire meadow with runoff. It’s beautiful, but spongy and, well, moist.

We decided to stop about a half hour before the glacier and kick back on a rock while pondering questions deeper than you would understand. At our closest, the Russian Federation’s Kabardino-Balkaria republic was only something like 75 furlongs away. At least according to the horses in the photo above.

shkara and ushguli
The last outpost of Upper Svaneti in Ushguli, Shkara in the background

Returning into town we grabbed a couple beers at the Kafe Koshki (they don’t actually serve cat, in case you were concerned, or hopeful). Returning to our guesthouse, we met 10 kind enough, older Israeli men playing poker. They casually warned us that they’re pretty loud but are usually in bed by about midnight.

So it was that I didn’t feel too bad when, while they were at dinner, I snuck two glasses of their Jameson’s for Robin and me. Should you read this, Israeli men, thanks!

See complete Svaneti photos on my flickr page.

man and boy on horse in svaneti
The boy's coming with me.
horse on a hill
It's the circle of life. And it moves us all.

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