Never Underestimate Nature, Never Overestimate Yourself. A Strenuous Hike to Koruldi Lake, Mestia

The guesthouse the Israeli guy and I stayed at in Mestia was at the shoulder of the mountain where the hiking trail began.  

There were actually two hiking routes he wanted to do and he asked me to choose one. I chose the one that led to Koruldi Lake. It was an 8-hour hike (return trip). I thought it would be pretty easy…

Never underestimate the nature.

Never overestimate yourself.

The weather forecast said it’d start to rain at 1pm so I suggested we left early but he said ‘let’s stick to the original plan – 8 am’. OK, I was fine with it and I prayed it’d not rain.

It was a sunny morning.

The sky was blue and there were only a few clouds.

It was such a lovely day!

This was the view from the guesthouse. Speechless. I wish I could see this view every day.

However, as we began hiking, I realised it wasn’t as easy as I thought.  First of all, the route was actually quite confusing. We met a few hikers on the way.  All of them asked us the same question, ‘is this the right way?’ or ‘which way is the way to the lake?’ I was glad I was with the Israeli guy who used to be a soldier and knew what he was doing and where he was going. Otherwise, I’d probably be lost in the mountain which could be quite dangerous. 

Secondly, the gradient was around 45 degrees, continuously. It was definitely a very strenuous hike for me. But I was glad that the Israeli guy felt the same too.  It wasn’t just me.  😛 

So, you can imagine, we hiked up the 45-degree slopes for 4 hours and then down the same slopes for another 4 hours. Oh my legs and my knees!

To make it worse, when it was close to mid-day, the sun was shining directly on me. There was no cover along the way. It was so hot.  (If you have read my other blogs, you’ll know, I can’t bear the heat. 0 – 10 degrees Celsius is nice for me. Cambodia was extremely hot for me. At one stage, I thought I was dying. I felt sorry for the Israeli guy. He had to stop to wait for me a few times.

The Israeli guy waited for me at the top of one of the peaks. Look at the grass! It felt like spring. So beautiful.

Even though it was such a strenuous hike, it was worth it. Look at the photos!

Birds were circling above the peak of the snowy mountain.
What a breath-taking view!

Just as we were hiking up, the Israeli guy turned around to check if I was ok and then he said, ‘your lips are very dry. You may need some water.’ He then picked up some snow from the snowy ground and offered it to me, ‘here, eat some. It’s clean.’  At first, I refused because I was sceptical about it.  But my lips and my mouth were so dry that I needed more moisture so I put some on my lips and I put some in my mouth too.  Guess what happened to me when we hiked down? 😛 My tummy complained.  It was doing everything it could to get rid of the ‘poison’ inside my body. I think this is subtle enough and I don’t think I need to give too much details here. 😀

We reached the lake.

But where is the lake?

The lake was nowhere to be found. It was still covered by the snow and ice.
Spectacular! I looked at it in awe.

We took a few photos, chatted with some hikers who arrived there after us and headed down.

Yesterday, we bought some bread, cheese and canned food.  As we went down, we found a little tower.  We climbed up the broken ladder and had our late lunch at the tower.

I sat down.

Once I did that, I didn’t want to stand up nor did I want to move at all.

My legs were numb.

Koruldi Lake was behind us now and Mestia was ahead of us.

In fact, it wasn’t just because of my tired legs but also because of the breath-taking view. It was the best spot to have a rest and eat. He did make a good choice.  It started to drizzle but it was ok. We just sat down and chatted a bit and rested until our legs felt better.

Knock, Knock. Who’s there?  I couldn’t imagine living in this house. It looked nice but it was literally in the middle of nowhere.

We still needed to continue to hike down…

Why am I doing this to myself? I ask this rhetorical question every time I have a strenuous hike. I remember I asked this question when I was in El Chaiten in Argentina (I will write about it later). The answer is very obvious. I love mountains. Not because it’s there. 😉 I really admire and respect those who climb Mount Everest. They have to fight with the unpredictable weather and deal with high altitude while stretching themselves physically. I love mountains, but for some of them, I will just look at them from afar in awe. Some people say, ‘yes, I conquer the highest mountain in the world.’  But in fact, who conquers what?  Or what conquers who?  I think I will just take a spaceship and look at our Earth from space instead of climbing up Mount Everest. I wonder which one is harder, being an astronaut or climbing up the highest mountain in the world?  Both require a lot of training and I am too old for any of these.  Hm… I think I will just stay at home and occasionally challenge myself. 😉 Or maybe once space travelling becomes more common, I can go to the space without receiving much prior training.  Hm.. after a second thought, receiving some basic training beforehand will be better for me, for safety sake. When I come back from the space, I will most probably be like those astronauts telling everyone that I fall deeper in love with Earth than ever. I have always liked the space, the stars, the Milky Way… I saw it when I was in Mongolia. It made me contemplate how small we human beings were. (I will write about Mongolia later).

When we were heading to the town centre of Mestia, I felt so tired that I couldn’t walk straight.  Just as I needed some help, a car appeared.  The town was right in front of me (I thought) so I hesitated. But it stopped and the driver offered us a lift.

I was so happy that I could sit down! 

As the driver continued to drive, I then realised the town centre was actually very far away from where we were. I was so glad that he gave us a ride. He was my angel!!  

The Israeli guy needed to go back to finish his thesis so I had dinner by myself. Just as I was having my dinner, it started pouring. I had been praying for a rainless day during the hike and my prayer was answered.  It was cloudy when we reached the lake but it didn’t rain.  It drizzled a bit when we came down but it didn’t bother any of us. I looked at the rain with a smile and enjoyed my dinner.

But I couldn’t smile afterwards because the rain never stopped. It went on raining and raining and I had to hike up the mountain in the dark to return to my guesthouse. Yes, another hike again after the 8-hour one. The path up to the guesthouse was very muddy and there were some cow poos. I went past a building that looked like a church but I didn’t really have the mood to explore that.

I was drenched.

My legs were numb as I sat at the dining table in my room after the hike. I couldn’t walk anymore.

I remember when I did the hike last year in Iceland (I will write about it later), I had a plan to train myself. But somehow, I didn’t.  It’s too late to regret now. ☹ On a positive note, I could feel that the muscles of my legs were getting stronger today. Just today. 😛

Recently, when I went hiking in another country, I could see snow along the trail when I didn’t expect that, from South America, Kazakhstan, to Iceland (I will write about all these later) and now Georgia. Shouldn’t it be summer in June?

14 June 2017

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