Adrenalin Hiking Club

An Excursion to Dashbashi Canyon

route to Dashbashi

We assemble at 8am by Marjanshvili Metro, a group of 29 of us with Hiking Club Adrenalin, too big for one minibus, so we will ride out in an additional vehicle, a seven seater Honda Stream. On the map Dashbashi Canyon doesn’t look too far but the roads are twisty and uneven.

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Banners unfurled

It will be a long day. First stop along the route is Manglisi Sioni, an important Georgian architectural monument and one of the oldest Christian centres in Georgia. The first church was built in the 4th Century, today’s cathedral dates back to the seventh century, renovated in 1002.

Arriving around 11am, there was a church service being celebrated but in Georgian churches it is not unusual for people to amble in and out of the church during a service.

Next stop on the journey was Lake Tsalka.

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Lake Tsalka

Near Tsalka lake we visited “Fathers Region a Monastery of Three Priests” with its trout and holy water.

A second lake, Paravani Lake is located 2,073 m (6,801 ft) above sea level and has a surface area of 37.5 km2.

Near to the lake was the Convent of St Nino in Phoka village with a small shop selling artisanal cheese, jam and liquor.

Finally at 6pm we reached our main destination, Dashbashi Canyon. A canyon carved in the volcanic rock by the river Ktsia.

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Dashbashi Canyon

We descended to the river where we gaped at the waterfall and had some fun splashing about in the river.

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waterfall

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No Georgian excursion is complete without a supra (Georgian feast). Having climbed out of the canyon, we gathered around a fire, where Georgian Mtsvadi (Sashlik) was grilled and consumed.

We got home at 1.45 am!

A trip to Racha: Day 1

Tbilisi is stiflingly hot in July, it seemed like a good time to head to the cooler mountainous regions of Georgia. This trip was taken over two days with “აბოდიალებულები” (which roughly translates as “the wanderers”) in a Mercedes Sprinter driven by Nika. We met at Marjanshvili for an early 7.10pm start (true to form this was later than the scheduled 6.30pm).

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Welcome to Racha!

Racha is a highland area in Western Georgia. Our first stop was by the scenic Shaori Reservoir. It would be even more scenic if previous visitors hadn’t left their litter.

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Ana and Khato by the Shaori Reservoir.

After a short pause by the water, it was back in the minibus to visit Nikortsminda Cathedral, originally built in the reign of Bagrat III in the 11th Century,  the inner walls are painted with frescoes dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

 

 


Continuing the religious theme we went on to visit the ruins of the monastery complex at  Chelishi, which involved a short walk along a very muddy path.


After the monastery we ventured to the source of the Sharaula River. This path involved negotiating some piping; Khato had no problems with this, I managed okay (although I was fearful my legs might start shaking, like on my third failed driving test)  but some of our party needed a helping hand.

The source of the river proved a photo opportunity for some of the group to pose with the “Adrenalin Hiking Club” banner. You can check out their Facebook page here : Adrenalin Hiking Club Facebook Page

After the source of the Sharaula, it was time to find an ice cave, which was cool in both sense of the word.

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Ice Cave

We finished the day with a dip in the reservoir for the brave.

Khato takes a dip in the reservoir

Khato in the Shaori Reservoir (photo by Ana Xurcidze)

Then made our way to a guest house in Ambrolauri for the obligatory Georgian supra (feast).

 

I left the supra at 11pm, but many of the Georgians more conditioned to such feasting, continued toasting each other, eating and drinking until 3am.

Continued: A trip to Racha: Day 2