Stepantsminda, one of the main tourist resorts in developing Georgia, attracts more and more visitors every year. And these are not only the ones who wish to reach the summit of Mount Kazbegi (5054 m. above sea level), the country’s symbol. In the vicinity of Stepantsminda, a townlet located in the very center of the Greater Caucasus, we can marvel at breathtaking sceneries of the Truso valley, the Juta valley, the Darial Gorge, the Meteo basecamp and the Gereti glacier. It is possible to see these places during a one day’s treks, which we described HERE. For those looking for greater adventures in Caucasian mountains, we have prepared a description of routes for two or three days’ trek in our area. It is a perfect offer for people who want to be close to the nature and wilderness, unspoiled by human activity; for people, who want to find peace and tranquility in the mountains, and who like discovering the undiscovered.
TREKKING TO THE KELITSADI LAKE
The Kelitsadi Lake is one of the most magnificent places in our region. Its fascinating and mystic aura, a result of being located close to the separatist territory of South Ossetia and of the volcanic landscape of the Keli Highland, allows us experience the atmosphere of wilderness and harmony with nature during the trek to this amazing place. You can reach the lake by following the three days’ trail from a town called Zemo Mleta. At the beginning, it runs along the alpine stream and offers us a view on a ski resort and the Georgia-Russia Friendship Monument. Gradually mild and wooded hills transform into almost a moonscape, a true mosaic of different colours, with Sherkhota (3695 m) towering over everything. The Kelitsadi Lake lies just at the foot of this volcanic cone. The surrounding summits, framing azure sheets of water, create inimitable scenery. The Kelitsadi’s majesty can be clearly seen from the Esikomi pass (3440 m), from where you can also see Kazbeki. This is the climax of the trek. After the Esikomi pass, the trail leads to the deserted village Ketrisi in the Truso valley, from where you can come back to Kazbegi by car. There is also a two days’ trek to the Kelitsadi Lake. Then, on the first day we go from Ketrisi village in the Truso Valley to the Kelitsadi Lake through the Esikomi pass, and the next day (after an overnight stay by the lake) we go back the same way to the Truso Valley. The trek, in its two days’ as well as in three days’ version, is long, but the amazing views of Caucasian valleys, natural mineral waters and picturesque hills are sure worth the trouble.
TREKKING FROM JUTA TO THE ABUDELAURI LAKES AND ROSHKA
Trek from Juta to Roshka via the Chaukhi pass (3431 m) is a perfect choice for everybody who wants to embark on a real adventure in the Caucasian mountains. The trek’s value lies not only in the breathtaking views it offers, but also in its cultural aspect. The Chaukhi pass is the border between two Georgian regions: Khevi and Khevsureti. The trail, leading from the highest located village in our region, i.e. Juta (2150 m), goes alongside the charming Chaukhistali river valley to the Chaukhi Massif, or the so-called “Caucasian Dolomites”. Soon the Chaukhi Massif turns into a steep descend to the wonderful Abudelauri Lakes, around 2800 m. The sheets of water of Abudelauri change their colours from white through green to blue. According to legends, they are home of local gods. It is a perfect place for an overnight stay in a tent. On the second day of the trek, we go to Roshka village, situated at an altitude of 2000 m. From there, you can go back to Tbilisi by car. For those willing to continue the journey through the wildest of Georgian regions, it is possible to continue the trek from Roshka up to the Khevsureti’s capitol, Shatili village, or even to Omalo in Tusheti. You can also take the same trail back to Juta.
TREKKING IN KHDE GORGE
Khde Gorge is one of the most picturesque as well as mysterious places in our region. It is also an undiscovered place, because trekking through the gorge, due to its proximity to the Russian border, requires you to have permission from border control. It is also untouched by mass tourism, because three days’ trek through Khde gorge is not possible unless you have mountaineering skills, specialized equipment and are physically fit. Due to these reasons only a couple of groups per year decide to take this route. Its difficulty lies in trekking through a route with a difference of altitude amounting to 3210 m, passing through Kibishi pass (3504 m), and traversing a glacier. All these factors, compounded by lack of contact with civilization (no signal throughout the route), constitute a great challenge. Blood, toil, tears and sweat: it is all compensated by pristine landscapes, like the wild Khdistskli River crossing the valley, waterfalls almost vertically falling into its current, massifs of the Kuro and Shino peaks, and the Rustavi glacier. The culmination point of the trek is reaching Juta and the Chaukhi Massif, or the so-called “Caucasian Dolomites”, from where you may go back to Kazbegi. The route from Khde Gorge to Juta takes two or three days, depending on group’s fitness and pace, as well as weather conditions on the glacier.
We recommend the above-mentioned routes, as in Georgia there are less and less places so wild and unspoiled by human activity. If you want to take one the treks, but feel, that you are not ready for trekking in an unmarked area, we will gladly organize you a trip with one of our guides. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us with here: firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook page: Mountain Freaks – Mountain Travel & Adventure Agency.