What a day.
I woke up and, still half asleep, saw some ants crawl on the tent. “Ha!”, I thought to myself, “Me in here, you out there!”
Hm, some ants? Quite alot of them actually. I looked closer and saw that some of them were outside indeed. And some of them were inside! Hm, there is a tiny hole where the three zippers of the tent’s entrance meet. Yes, that’s were they had been coming in and still were coming in.
I must have pitched the tent on a nest or on an ant road. To make a long story short, the entire tent and all of my equipment was full of them, inside and outside. Luckily, they weren’t aggressive at all.
It was quite a pain and took a while to clean all my stuff.
I continued along the river. It became narrower and faster-flowing but was easier to cross when necessary. Eventually I hit another dead end. A gorge, again, but this time there was no tree and no stone that I could use to climb across. There were still my smugglers’ footprints nearby, however I couldn’t figure out how they’d passed this obstacle.
Also, time was working against me. I’d told my host Sura and his friend Dato that I’d be gone for two days, but unfortunately I hadn’t told them what to do if I didn’t return in time or how long to wait before sending for help (dunno if they’d done that at all…).
So I decided to end the expedition here and to return to Akhalsopeli.
Of course, on the way back I was much faster and could phone Dato in the early afternoon to pick me up outside the village.
It was an unsuccessful visit to 42°N, 46°E, but it was a successful adventure nonetheless. I’m full of scratches and bruises, and I’m feeling very happy.
Sura and Dato seemed glad to see me and we had another supra with tasty mtvari (Georgian shashlik) as soon as I was cleaned up. I was tipsy at half past 4pm.
What else happened? More drinking. Dato introduced me to a group of Ossetians, showed me around a friend’s fish farm, and another friend’s winery, where I got three bottles of wine for free. Whereever we went there was alcohol. I tried and refused as much as I could. Got a hair and beard-do for free.
Later I had a chat with Sura’s wife (still don’t know her name) and kids (and later Sura, too) and was invited back to their place to celebrate New Year’s. Also, I should let them know should I want to attempt a visit to 42°N, 46°E again and they’ll try and hook me up with a local hunter who knows the mountains.
What an awesome day.