Chanchakhistskali Valley – Ardoti

The night was chilly due to my worn-out sleeping bag.

We continued our hike along the Chanchakhistskali river to the north, on narrow foot paths. The slopes around us were covered with grass, no trees anywhere yet.
The weather changed frequently from sunshine to drizzle or light rain, and back to sunshine.

We reached Khakhabo, an old village built on a steep hillside. Almost all of the houses are abandoned and in ruins. Just one seemed inhabited. A man was working on a field nearby. He took a break and we had a short bumpy chat due to the lack of a common language. However, he told us that there were two people living here, and that there was another inhabited place a few kilometers down the river where two more people lived.
There we met Michail, whos Russian was more fluent than mine. Interestingly, he said that there was only one person (himself) living at the place. Apparently he didn’t count his wife. He also mentioned that he had just returned from the south, and that he had seen us from the marshrutka a few days ago when we were walking on the road.

These places are truely remote. There is no way to get there by car, walking is the only viable transport. The guy in Khakhabo had a horse, but given the paths we walked on I doubt that you can actually ride there. People do subsistence farming and probably have a few cows grazing somewhere. They do have however, and that was a tad surprising, small solar panels mounted near their houses.

Eventually we arrived in Ardoti. Khakhabo was stunning, but Ardoti topped that by quite a bit. It is built completely on top of a narrow ridge. Again, it is mostly abandoned and in ruins. We pitched tents just below, near the river, and then walked up to have a look.
Two houses were in very good state and at least one is inhabited by a family with 3 children. Communication was somewhat impossible but we manged to get a loaf of bread and some sulguni (cheese).

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