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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lagodekhi National Park:Cure for Common Depression

One month ago, I was in a very dark place. Apathy came over and I don’t really remember any of the holidays. Yes, we decorated the tree and we had a Sherlock party and I saw friends that have gone missing abroad, but I was still too busy lamenting about my stupid life.
Mid-January, hubby finally got a little break from work and we left Tbilisi. Those are magical words. Tbilisi needs to be left time after time. I need to get Tbilisi out of my lungs.
Hubby refused to reveal where he took me.  We drove towards Kakheti and I was going through different places in my mind: Kvareli,Lopota,Telavi, Gremi…which one? We ended up in Lagodkehi National Park. Well, at a hotel that was just by the entrance of the Lagodekhi National Park.
What can I tell you? Air does not get cleaner than this. We got settled in a cute little guest house “Caucasus” just by the entrance to the national park. It cost 50 Lari per night and 15 Lari per meal, if we wanted one. There was a lot of food even by Georgian standards and the hostess made us laugh, she was warm and inviting. She lit the fireplace for us and we spent happy times sitting by the fire and reading. It was such an unrealistic, corny romantic comedy setup, but it worked miracles on my psyche.
That night we drove around, looking at the Caucasian mountains, planning the next day, taking a quick stroll in the park before the sun went down. We made a pact not to open FB (we left laptops home for that purpose) and returned to our room. I embarked upon Doris Lessing’s Shikasta, while hubby tried to read Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay, only to fall asleep for indefinite time.
Next morning we rushed into the national park, eager to hike to Lagodekhi waterfall. Park infrastructure was surprisingly nice and different trails were marked with different colors. We followed our black-and-yellow trail, all on our own, feeling sense of accomplishment; here we are, hiking alone into the wild. After 2-3 hours we saw the waterfall, but since the hill leading to it was all covered in ice (what sane person hikes in Lagodkehi in January?), we just looked at it from the distance, waved hands and hurried back before the sunset. That evening was just like one before – lots of food, fireplace, books, me sneaking hubby’s Iphone while he was showering…
Day 3 of our stay we visited the stables and encouraged by yesterday’s successful hike, decided to rent horses on our own, despite no riding experience. After receiving a horse-management instruction from a ranger, we boldly went into the forest. I am not a good enough writer to convey all the peace and quiet and little rays of sunshine sipping through the branches and horses warm and just walking, walking…so cool, you just sit there and take in the scenery, while little hoofs make click clack sounds. In the middle of the trip, hubby’s horse decided that she was done for the day and lowered herself on the ground. One moment my hubby was on my height level, the next moment- he was one level beneath me, legs spread on the ground, looking helpless. “You broke it!” – I yelled. We talked sweetly to the horsey and gave her grass. She finally decided to comply and let my hubby back on her back.  We were so scared. The ranger appeared soon after the incident and said that those horses were used to walking all day and they never stopped like that. I guess they sensed how weak we were. Hubby’s drama queen horse attempted another fainting act later, only to get her ass kicked by the ranger. She kept on going after that. We reached an old fortress, looked over the valley and the river that separated Georgia from Azerbaijan, smelled fallen leaves and headed back to our citadel of food and warmth.
Needless to say, our behinds and legs hurt for many days after that. But I was cured of all that self-pitying nonsense and came back to my poor, abused blog.

I’d definitely visit that place in the summer. Bringing along tents and friends.
P.S. the pic: the hike to Lagodkehi waterfall

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