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  1. #1

    Default Just back from our hike on the TCT (Trans Causcasian Trail) in Armenia

    Always in search of new long distance trails, I found the TCT about 3 years ago (right before the covid crap) and had planned and postponed our hike a few times. But we finally got to go. My friend Gary and I flew into Tbilisi Georgia, got a ride down to Armenia and did 2 sections of this awesome trail.
    After the 1st 4 days, hiking in Dilijan NP to get acclimated (I live at sea level and the 2nd part of our journey was going to be up as high as 11,800') We got to meet Tom, the originator and endless worker and planner of the TCT. We talked to him for hours, mostly about the problems of access and route planning, the difficulty of getting maps to not only plan but go out and hike.
    Anyway, it is a great trail, mostly in a country with great, friendly people, lots of sad history, churches (first country EVER to make Christianity their national religion!!) but, no trees! (not many anyway)
    Another reason I chose this trail is that I've been fascinated with the ancient "Silk Road" and found out in the Gegham Mountain section of the TCT, we would find nomads who still wander these mountains, in search of grass for their livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, and horses), and live in yurts while doing so.
    Well, we did find them, and they were GREAT! Always offering us water, and sometimes food and coffee/tea, etc.
    They were so friendly.
    I put together a 15 minute video of our trip and invite you all to see for yourself what this country's hiking is like.
    Here is the youtube video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVx28pejKYg
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  2. #2

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    Fiddlehead, thanks for sharing your journey with us. It's been a while since I've traveled, and it reminded me how much more there is to hiking than just walking -- the people you meet, the culture, the random experiences you remember your whole life.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for posting! Looks like a fantastic adventure.

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    Loved the video, your trip looks incredible. Thanks for sharing!

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    Great video. I appreciate your putting it here!

    I admire your willingness to interact with culturally different non-English speaking people along your journey. I've done some backpacking and independent trekking in Mexico, Costa Rica, and and Guatemala with my best memories being of encounters with local people whom I met along the way. Having some fluency in Spanish made that possible. I've not yet summoned the courage to travel off the beaten path in a place where I was completely unable to converse in the local language.

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    Yes sir thank you so much for sharing! And glad to hear from you on the other side of the covid crap , what a long strange trip its been indeed. Awesome video enjoyed the insight and your song you added in.

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    Thanks for sharing, Glen. Much aprecciated!

    BTW, we had online contact before your Via Dinarica hike.
    Just recently it happened that I did a piece of the Via Dinarica in Slovenia, and it was lovely.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siestita View Post
    Great video. I appreciate your putting it here!

    I admire your willingness to interact with culturally different non-English speaking people along your journey. I've done some backpacking and independent trekking in Mexico, Costa Rica, and and Guatemala with my best memories being of encounters with local people whom I met along the way. Having some fluency in Spanish made that possible. I've not yet summoned the courage to travel off the beaten path in a place where I was completely unable to converse in the local language.
    Thanks for the comment and opinion. I don't believe we ever "completely unable to converse in the local language" Hello, is pretty much universal. A smile is also. The first words I always try to learn (in order) are: Water, Thank You, and count to five. In Armenia, their word (or words) for Thank You were about 4 words long. So, we mostly said "spicybo" or Russia's Thank You. Anyway, trying to communicate is part of the adventure. But Google Translate or Google Lens (translate section) makes it so easy. Unfortunately, you need internet for these to work and we didn't always have it.. So we try. And laugh a lot. It makes it fun. Keep trying. People can be very friendly when they find out where you're from and you learn so much by traveling. And mountain people are always the BEST!
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    Thanks for sharing, Glen. Much aprecciated!

    BTW, we had online contact before your Via Dinarica hike.
    Just recently it happened that I did a piece of the Via Dinarica in Slovenia, and it was lovely.
    Yes, Leo, I was thinking of you and hoping you were still on here. I don't get on whiteblaze too often anymore. You need a VPN to access it.
    For some reason they don't allow Thailand location to access. But I know you hike a lot in the kind of terrain we were in this trip to Armenia (no trees, lots of sun) And you gave me great advice on the kind of food we would most likely find in restaurants that seem to hold true the further east I go. Lots of horsemeat, lamb, and skimpy on the veggies (this trip was heavy on tomatoes and cucumbers though). Glad to hear you got to hike a bit on the Via Dinarica Trail.. The Slovenia part of that trail was not my favorite though. Except for the locals. THEY were so friendly. But half the country seemed like a roadwalk. I much preferred Montenegro and Albania although they were tough. And the people in Bosnia were super friendly also. (actually every where on that trail had friendly people) I'm really hooked on eastern Europe and now into western Asia now. My next summer hike will probably be in Azerbaijan and maybe a winter hike in Turkey (Lyceum Way) Do you know anything about those? Oh, and a 2024 hike is being planned for the Dolomites (had to cancel the last 2 years on that one)
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Love your attitude!

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    (Sorry for two posts that could have been one)

    Glen,
    I've been to Turkey once and really loved it.
    But this had been decades ago (in the 80ties) and travelling by car.
    Things changed very much down there. Mr. Erdogan tried very hard to make Turkey a modern country, in which he succeeded in the big cities, but failed to provide all the smaller towns and rural people a reasonable good life.
    The political situation is tough, its pretty close to dictatorship.
    And the whole country changed from saecularism (state and religion being separate), tending to be Christian, into a Muslim (officially 99%) state+religion mix.
    Not that Muslim is any bad by itself, but it just changes so much in everyday life. Not so much being male, but much worse for females.
    Then, Turkey dug out some long forgotten laws and invented a few new ones to oppress people, especially minorities (Kurds) and opposition members.
    This goes as far as, the English name "Turkey" being banned because some offending jokes making it a moniker about the US Thanksgiving habit.
    So be careful to always use the native name Türkiye, not the English Turkey.

    On the positive side, economics rely heavily on tourism, and this sector is suffering a lot recently, as even Russians, the most constant customers, are staying home now, so you as a tourist will be very welcomed.
    There are endless historic sites to be visited, many of them world-famous, and while hiking you might find loads of nameless, never researched sites of all periods of history.
    Hiking in Turkey is no habit of the locals, and not common among tourists.
    Public transport is great, there are busses and minibus-taxis everywhere.
    To find water is very easy in Muslim countries, as mosques are everywhere and there is water at every mosque.
    Food again is on the meat side, but going more veggie recently due to enormous inflation and meat being too expensive. Not to forget the famous pastries.
    I remember having had great soups, and brillant salads (tomatos+parsley).

    I've never even thought about Azerbaijan, but know something about the Dolomites. If time's ready for you, would be great to give me a note.
    At the moment I'm packed and ready to go to Crete, flight is tomorrow.
    See you!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    (Sorry for two posts that could have been one)

    Glen,
    I've been to Turkey once and really loved it.
    But this had been decades ago (in the 80ties) and travelling by car.
    Things changed very much down there. Mr. Erdogan tried very hard to make Turkey a modern country, in which he succeeded in the big cities, but failed to provide all the smaller towns and rural people a reasonable good life.
    The political situation is tough, its pretty close to dictatorship.
    And the whole country changed from saecularism (state and religion being separate), tending to be Christian, into a Muslim (officially 99%) state+religion mix.
    Not that Muslim is any bad by itself, but it just changes so much in everyday life. Not so much being male, but much worse for females.
    Then, Turkey dug out some long forgotten laws and invented a few new ones to oppress people, especially minorities (Kurds) and opposition members.
    This goes as far as, the English name "Turkey" being banned because some offending jokes making it a moniker about the US Thanksgiving habit.
    So be careful to always use the native name Türkiye, not the English Turkey.

    On the positive side, economics rely heavily on tourism, and this sector is suffering a lot recently, as even Russians, the most constant customers, are staying home now, so you as a tourist will be very welcomed.
    There are endless historic sites to be visited, many of them world-famous, and while hiking you might find loads of nameless, never researched sites of all periods of history.
    Hiking in Turkey is no habit of the locals, and not common among tourists.
    Public transport is great, there are busses and minibus-taxis everywhere.
    To find water is very easy in Muslim countries, as mosques are everywhere and there is water at every mosque.
    Food again is on the meat side, but going more veggie recently due to enormous inflation and meat being too expensive. Not to forget the famous pastries.
    I remember having had great soups, and brillant salads (tomatos+parsley).

    I've never even thought about Azerbaijan, but know something about the Dolomites. If time's ready for you, would be great to give me a note.
    At the moment I'm packed and ready to go to Crete, flight is tomorrow.
    See you!
    Wow! Once again you are a wealth of information for me and my upcoming travels. And you were so right on with your advice on the Via Dinarica hike 5 years ago. i didn't know they were that strong of a Muslim country, but I have found that when I do travel in Muslim countries, I'm always a little apprehensive and it usually turns out that the people are much more friendly than I had expected (Bosnia being one of the friendliest, and Kosovo also)
    I met people from Azerbaijan and we talked a lot about the political situation with Turkey and Armenia and Russia, all supporting different aspects. (the poor Armenian are in the middle). We actually did drive through a small area that was Azerbaijan although no immigration crossing so, no big deal.
    And the mountains in Azerbaijan look great and hey: THEY HAVE TREES! Trees provide shade LOL. Something that Armenia is lacking. (but of course, no trees make for a very scenic hike, look at the PCT vs the AT on that score)
    Enjoy Crete, I heard it's great also. I really want to work my way east (although the Dolomites seem like a MUST, so I've got to go back and do some hiking there) Thanks for all the info my friend.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  13. #13

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    Great hike and great people!

    I had to get a screen shot of this one... right out of Nat Geo

    Armenia_01.jpg
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

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